How Job Hopping Could Be a Sign of a Quarter-Life Crisis

Infini Kimbrough
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Are you a serial job hopper? Are you also a twenty-something who has no idea what to do with your life? If you answered, Yes” to these two questions then there’s a good chance you could be experiencing a quarter-life crisis.

What is a Quarter-Life Crisis?

The Quarter-Life Crisis is a period of exasperated anxiety rooted in the fear and uncertainty of the direction and quality of one’s life, usually experienced by those in their mid to late twenties and early thirties. Although the quarter-life crisis is different for each person that experiences it, at the core of the phenomenon is a concern for one’s true identity. The quarter-life crisis is existential in nature because it poses two questions: “Who am I?” and “What am I doing with my life?” As a result of experiencing this crisis, many young workers tend to struggle with settling into a job in the beginning stages of their career.

Three signs your job hopping is a result of a quarter-life crisis:

1. You leave jobs within 6 months or less

2. Your last three jobs have been in unrelated fields

3. You’re no longer interested in the career path you chose originally

If you’re currently facing a quarter-life crisis and it’s causing you to job hop at what’s becoming an unsustainable rate, then here’s some tips to help you improve your job search and increase your job satisfaction moving forward.

Give yourself permission to change your mind. One of the major signs that you’re going through a quarter-life crisis is when you start to realize that everything you thought you wanted no longer interests you anymore. The good news is: that’s perfectly okay. You are allowed to change your mind (even if you change your mind over and over again). It’s okay to decide that what was once your dream job may not be for you. It’s okay to change your mind about the industry you want to build a career in. It’s okay to change your area of study and go back to school to pursue a different path. It’s okay to decide that college isn’t for you at all. There is no one size fits all to life.

Start off interning before accepting a permanent job offer. If you find yourself repeatedly job hopping, then it could be a sign that your previous roles didn’t bring you enough job satisfaction. If this is the case for you, then it may be time to change your approach to the job search. A great way to maximize job satisfaction is to seek out internship opportunities before pursuing permanent job offers. This way, you can experience what the role and the work is like before committing. If there isn’t an internship opportunity available, ask if you could shadow for a week or two just to gain an inside look into the day-to-day nature of the role.

Seek autonomy not advice. The pressure to know exactly what you want when everyone else is either directly or indirectly telling you what they want for you, can be overwhelming. The best way to figure out what’s best for you is to stop asking for permission. Sometimes our happiness is waiting for us on the other side of our decision to go against everything we’ve been taught and do what feels right instead. So that may mean taking a pay cut to pursue the job that you’ve always wanted. Or it could mean moving across the country for the opportunity of a lifetime. It could also mean being brave enough to say, “I don’t know what I want right now, but I’m giving myself time to figure it out.” Whatever that looks like for you, just know that the key to discovering your true path requires you to be autonomous and to trust yourself to make your own decisions. 

Use your imagination. Think about the childhood dreams you had when you were a kid. Do you still resonate with some of those aspirations and ambitions? What’s the one thing you’ve always wanted to do but never got around to it? Think of some ways that you can fulfill the dreams of your inner child and then DO IT.

Make space in your life for your passions. Although everyone is not able to do what they love for a living, that doesn’t mean that you can’t find time in your life for what you’re passionate about. Having hobbies is a healthy way to reduce stress. By making time for the things you enjoy you could increase your job satisfaction. The following suggestions are ways to make time for the things you enjoy:

  • Join committees that interest you at work
  • Participate in volunteer work in the community
  • Designate time outside of work for your hobbies and interests
  • Join local clubs and networking organizations that will connect you to people who share your interests
  • Curate your workspace/office space with things that represent your personality 
  • Save your weekends for social events, passion projects, and self care

Job hopping isn’t always a bad thing. When experiencing a quarter-life crisis, a pattern of job hopping could be used as a signal to reevaluate your career choices. Sometimes all you need is a slight pivot to get you moving in the right direction. By taking some time to discover what you truly want out of your career, you can strategically and intentionally pursue what feels right for you. Two things can be true at the same time. Sometimes we have to be realistic in order to be self-sufficient. But that doesn’t mean that we can’t be optimistic too. You can follow your dreams and still be a self-sufficient adult at the same time. It just requires some much-needed self-reflection, strategy and intentionality.


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  • Derek E.
    Derek E.

    OK, that's it, definelty a late bloomer, nearing 60 and I fall into the above category, I always thought I could live to 100, but I never had any super-defined life goals. I am retired military so I do have monthly income, but the check is not too large, so as things wear (house, car, etc.) the savings becomes less. I have recently been applying for stuff I would enver thought of just 5 years ago, it's OK to take "menial" work and have more time for self-interst, hobbies, fitness, etc. I have BS in electronics engineering tech., a very fast paced, ever changing environment to work in for the most part, can make your head spin trying to keep abreast of the latest and greatest in tech!

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