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Chronicles of a Graduate: The Quarter Life Crisis

By Patty Marra, Series Guest Blogger

Today at work I was talking with a colleague about his past educational and work experience when the concept of a “Quarter-Life Crisis” came up, and its growing popularity among new graduates and fresh additions to the workforce.  

Most of us have heard of the idea of a “Mid-Life Crisis.”  Maybe some of you have seen or experienced it. It’s generally characterized by an individual in their forties or fifties attempting to reach back into their younger days and relive them in some way.  Now we have recent grads who, twenty or so years early, hit their own crisis of an arguably similar magnitude.  Just as with a mid-life crisis, it looks different for everyone, but the main ideas surrounding the ones I’ve seen (and experienced) are:

  • Why doesn’t anyone want me to go to work for them?
  • Oh shoot, I have to go to work.  Every day.  For the rest of my life.
  • Everyone around me is getting married.
  • I’m old.

We all cope in different ways, too.  Some people leave undergraduate, only to sprint back toward academia for some sort of graduate degree with a Peter Pan-like glee—“The real world will never catch me!!”  Some of us go out and spend the money we make from “working every day for the rest of our lives” on fun new toys that we couldn’t afford before.  Some people throw themselves into the joys of living the life of an unattached, single person.  And some of us start bringing lunchables to work and eating our favorite childhood snacks….not that I would know anything about that…

Be aware of the Quarter-Life Crisis.  It sneaks up on you without warning, and if you’re not careful, it can result in some poor, uninformed decisions. It’s easy to look at a future of work and run back to grad school, a setting we know, or to hide our own abilities that would allow us to succeed.  We have to fight the Quarter-Life Crisis! 


About the Author

Patty MarraPatty Marra is a freshly graduated alumna of Marquette University, who is working on answering the question, “…what next?”  She is navigating the ever-evolving hiring maze of today’s business environment, and sharing the pieces of knowledge she learns along the way.  She loves social media, but appreciates a good face-to-face conversation.  Long-term, she is looking to establish a career in marketing project management, and help everyone she can along the way.  You can get in touch with her by email, or you can find more of her thoughts via her blogTwitter, and LinkedIn.


Does this sound familiar? Are you in the same situation?  Have you been here before -- what's your advice for Patty? Please comment below. 



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