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wandering_lion's avatar

How did you get through your quarter life crisis and in hindsight what would you do differently?

Asked by wandering_lion (4points) April 27th, 2022

I graduated from university last year and am currently working as an engineer at a large privately owned company. I don’t come from a computer science background nor is coding my hobby, so I’m quite unfit for my role. I can see a significant skill and knowledge gap between me and my teammates.

I entered this career because tech projects exite me and I like to brainstorm, sketch, and (hopefully) build and lead my own ideas. I found myself very unhappy working for non-technical managers, so I decided I would spend my early career getting my hands dirty first before I try to lead projects.

1 year of fulltime and 1 year of internships later and I feel like I don’t belong here because I can’t do my job effectively without lots of handholding. For 3 years, I’ve been putting off studying computer science topics so today I cannot pass a coding interview. I don’t even know the basic concepts of computer/ internet/ networks. I haven’t been motivated enough to learn this even though my daily work depends on it.

I dread going to work because the only way I can get work done is by slowing down my teammates and the projects to get their help. I find my attitude getting worse the longer I am pretending to be fine at work and struggling in reality. Everyone says its okay to ask questions, but it’s really not, when i can’t comprehend every other word.

Lastly, I don’t like this company because it’s too corporate. I want to join a smaller project where I can make a difference doing anything I can to help. But at this point I don’t think I have any skills that would be valuable to solving any problems and I don’t have the right attitude either.

I want to believe this is a fairly normal quarter life crisis that other’s have encountered too.

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11 Answers

RedDeerGuy1's avatar

I moved home till I was 35.

I would have taken a third year in university and gotten my degree. Or taken a year off after my first year of Psychology.

It took till I was 44 to decide on a career path to become a career counselor.

The common thread in careers is Psychology.

Forever_Free's avatar

I kept upping my career growth by making a big change in my throwing myself into a more challenging role. I shifted focus and transferred from an individual contributor technology Engineer to a role that had World Wide impact on technologies. In essence, I got in over my head and learned to swim quickly. If was one of the best shifts in my career.
I still use that principal to this day. I go into a new role or company and kick ass. After 2–3 years of growth, I either am promoted to a new level because it fits more growth while still liking the company culture or I move to another company, get a salary bump, new technology, new culture, embrace and kick ass on a new potential.
I also added personal growth at that age. I became a personal trainer, Fitness Instructor, and engaged in new rewarding social activities and hobbies.
Doing these types of refocus and change continually over my live at various intervals has allowed me to never go through any kind of stagnation, or life crisis but instead have life growth.

Jeruba's avatar

I feel sorry for you. You are in the unenviable position of being the one person that the other team members have to carry. That’s hard on everyone. I knew one woman who devoted much of her workday to cozying up to the people who could most help or hurt her so they would protect her. That must have been exhausting.

How to get through the crisis? Make a change.

I think the most promising solution is to go ahead and change jobs, even if you have to take a pay cut and adjust your lifestyle. I knew one guy who graduated from Harvard Law School, decided that he didn’t want to practice law, and instead took up fine woodworking: “something real.”

Consider a position in some related field that uses the knowledge you have gained. Also think about what other things you know. What is your background? What are your hobbies? Combining them can make you uniquely qualified for a position over someone who has only one. Having any two fields of knowledge or skill puts you way ahead of someone with only one accomplishment.

For instance, suppose you are really interested in art and know a lot about it:

• A medical student who couldn’t cut it might find work as an illustrator for medical textbooks.

• A lawyer who lost his credentials might become a legal assistant for an art museum dealing with bequests and loans of art works.

I was an English major who found herself pushed into computer programming. I wasn’t happy doing that. This was years and many computer generations ago. My computer experience stood by me, though, in a long career as an editor, because I could handle the technical material that came my way, even though my knowledge was way out of date and I preferred the nontechnical books.

And: You are very wise to recognize and acknowledge your position with respect to your work and your colleagues. That couldn’t have come easy. Many people make a mistake in their early job choices or just wind up taking what they can get. Now’s the time to straighten this out and not twenty years from now.

elbanditoroso's avatar

I don’t remember having a quarter-life crisis. At least not will well into my 30s.

KNOWITALL's avatar

The good thing is you are self-aware enough to know you aren’t qualified AND aren’t enjoying it. Try something else while you’re young, explore your options. Most of all, don’t be miserable every day for any job. :)

kritiper's avatar

I accepted the possibility that I might not ever get married. A hard hurdle to get over, but a darn good thing I did. Life became so much easier to handle after that.

gondwanalon's avatar

Your “crisis” doesn’t sound like a crisis to me. You don’t like your job. Look for a better one. No big deal. Busyness is busyness, Brush off your interview suit and get going.
Good luck!

I’m 71 and have never had any kind of a life crises

JLoon's avatar

Who says I got through it?

seawulf575's avatar

I think I was underwater (literally) on my 25th B-day. The most memorable thing that happened to me was when I was getting a haircut. I told the girl I was turning 25 soon so she could feel free to pull any gray hairs she saw. She chuckled and then went to reach for one, stopped and looked at my head, and told me (without any humor) that there were too many.

I’m with @gondwanalon on this one. It doesn’t sound like a life crisis, it sounds like a job you don’t like. It sounds like you got into this job, realized you don’t have the right skill set and have thought you could correct that, but found you couldn’t. Time to look for another job, either within or outside your current company.

One other thought: I recently (the last couple years) got laid off from a job I had been with for 9 years, in a field I was in for 32 years. After about 2 days of feeling sorry for myself I realized that being unemployed and not having a clue where I would get a job or provide for my family I was less stressed than I had been almost every day at my previous job. I decided right there and then I would go an entirely different direction. I was 58 and was starting all over again. I ended up in a job completely nothing like I had previously had and have been perfectly happy since. I have gotten 4 promotions in the last 3 years and am nearing the salary I was making when I was laid off. The point is that sometimes change is not only good, but is necessary.

Kropotkin's avatar

Please, just do something you’re qualified for and have some competency in.

You’re not in a quarter life crisis. You lucked out being paid to do something that you’re not even able to do. Frankly, you should be fired.

You’re a waste of time and space in your workplace and a burden on your colleagues.

I’ve no sympathy here. You graduated in something, so do what you’re able to do, or find another career.

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