In his three years of working life, Siddhanth Desai has had four
career switches and almost double the number of job changes. In
hindsight, the 26-year-old wonders if he focussed too much on his
relationships. The pressure of expectations, coupled with his own
disillusionment, is making him raise these existential questions.
Welcome to quarter life crisis.
Siddhanth, who ditched his "mundane" marketing profile to move to
the more creative job of copywriting only to fall for the easy
money lure of call centres and has now decided to join a
production house, is not the only one.
You've bid adieu to the teenage years and it'll be another quarter
of a century before you start experiencing the more talked about
mid-life crisis. You've arrived in life and are raring to go. But
there's constant self-doubt, loneliness, expectation, insecurity,
anxiety about love, life, career and everything that lies in
The questions torment - where you stand in life, have you made the
right career choice, how your life will unfold, will you do the
same work all through life? - rattling your brain, making you toss
and turn in the night.
"Quarter life crisis hits those in their early 20s to late 20s,"
Samir Parekh, chief of mental health department at Max Healthcare,
Parekh describes it as a transition where your "needs and goals
transit into something else".
"In school, your goal is to get high academic success and friends.
Now, it's to establish yourself at work. This would also be a time
when you'd start investing in a permanent relationship. The key
challenge in this transition is establishing yourself for the
"You consolidate your friends, priorities change, there's more
routine in life, you get into a work atmosphere... You might have
done very well for yourself in college, but now you have to start
again," says Parekh.
According to actress Pooja Bedi, who deals with much of this angst
in an agony aunt column, it's the choices one has to make in this
phase that leads to the crisis.
"There are a lot of pressures vis-a-vis career choices, the
earning capacity, the life you live. Your choices depend on how
you've been brought up and what matters to you at that point of
"You want to have the best of all worlds, you want to have a
career, a car, a home, a girlfriend, parties... You're
multi-tasking... Work by day, party by night."
For 24-year-old Ritika Suri of Ahmedabad, the one single thing
missing from her career and love life alike is "stability". She
has changed 15 jobs till date and lost track of the number of
After her tryst with law firms, call centres, education centres,
research institutes and IT industry, she's currently trying her
luck in the hospitality industry.
"When I go for an interview, I don't show half my work experience.
Even then people are left baffled. But what can I do? I haven't
been able to find something that can sustain my interest for the
rest of life."
Things are no different in her love life. "There's constant
pressure to get married. I get so worried sometimes if I'll ever
find a guy worth marrying."
However, 25-year-old Ankit Verma's dilemma lies in understanding
what aspect of life is more important to him.
"I'm never satisfied. If I'm happy in a relationship, I tend to
think I'm neglecting my career. If I focus too much on my
professional life, I tend to feel the quality of life is going
down," Ankit told IANS.
Ankit recently left a high-paying corporate job and a steady love
life in Delhi and moved to Mumbai to realise his dreams of
becoming an actor.
"Sometimes seeing your peers earning well makes you feel insecure.
You tend to think of all the choices you had or still have."
According to Bedi: "The crisis lies in early burnout. Having given
so much attention to career, your personal life gets neglected.
The crisis lies in stress, given today's lifestyle, eating out,
working till late..."
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