Lifestyle This is the exact age when you're most likely to experience a quarter-life crisis — and how to deal with it if you do

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Millennials aspire to a less conventional standard of life and are unwilling to settle for less.

Millennials aspire to a less conventional standard of life and are willing to settle for less. play

Millennials aspire to a less conventional standard of life and are willing to settle for less.

(REUTERS/Dylan Martinez)
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  • LinkedIn research conducted with 2,000 25 to 33-year-olds found that 72% had experienced a so-called "quarter-life crisis."
  • Most people in the UK hit this crisis at the age of 26 years and 9 months old — and it usually lasts around 11 months.
  • Gender and location also appeared to affect the likeliness of suffering a quarter-life crisis.
  • This is partly because millennials aspire to a less conventional standard of life than older generations, and aren't willing to settle for less.


Millennials have had it rough in so many ways, from a post-recession job market to sky high rents and a seemingly impenetrable property market — and new research suggests that almost three quarters of twenty and thirty-something Brits are in a state of crisis.

LinkedIn research conducted with 2,000 25 to 33-year-olds found that 72% of young professionals surveyed felt that they had experienced a so-called "quarter-life crisis," causing them to question their career path and life choices.

It found that most people in the UK hit this crisis at the age of 26 years and nine months old — and it usually lasts around 11 months.

The main factors contributing to the crisis were pressures to get on the property ladder (57%) and finding a career you’re passionate about (57%). These were significantly higher than the quest to find love (46%).

Clinical psychologist Dr Alex Fowke describes the quarter life crisis as "a period of insecurity, doubt and disappointment surrounding your career, relationships and financial situation."

"This can stem from a period of life following the major changes of adolescence, when a person starts to doubt their own lives and begins to face the extent of the stresses associated with becoming an adult," he said.

And these so-called crises have become far more prominent in recent years, according to Fowke, due to the new pressures younger generations face, particularly when compared to previous generations.

"Nowadays, twenty-somethings are under intense pressure to get themselves onto the housing market, navigate the increasingly complex professional landscape, struggle to maintain relationships and are commonly subjected to a distorted notion of life through social media.

He added: "Literature suggests that key challenges faced by people aged from between 18 and 35 can include identity confusion, internal conflict (failing to reach the expectations set for themselves) and uncertainty."

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(Shutterstock/Heather Goodman)

Of the 2,000 respondents surveyed, 31% felt they had wasted years in the wrong job, 34% had relocated to another part of the country or abroad, 35% had changed their career entirely, and 22% had handed in their notice without a new job to go to.

The poll suggested that women are more likely to be unsure of what to do next in their careers (61%) compared to men (56%).

Where millenials live also appeared to be a factor. The study found young professionals living in London were among the most likely to experience a crisis (75%), as well as Norwich (77%), Cardiff (78%), and Liverpool (82%). Meanwhile Bristol is the city where young professionals felt these pressures least (66%).

The so-called quarter-life crisis, though, could also be attributed to the fact that millennials aspire to a less conventional standard of life that includes a work/life balance, flexible working conditions, rapid promotion, and making a difference in the world, as well as the more traditional values of older generations, salary, marriage and home buying.

It appears that these days, young professionals aren't willing to settle for less.

How to deal with a quarter-life crisis

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(Shutterstock/fizkes)

If you feel like you're suffering your own mid-twenties-to-thirties crisis, here are some tips on dealing with it from Darain Faraz, an expert from LinkedIn's Career Advice:

1. Stop comparing yourself to others.

"A sure-fire way to bolster the feelings of disappointment and underachievement is to compare your own career trajectory to your peers," Faraz said.

"Remember that everyone is at a different stage of their journey, so don’t compare yourself to others — whatever your definition of success is and whatever makes you happy is enough."

2. Take a step back.

"It’s easy to be weighed down with all of the pressures of work and family expectations, often making you too close to the situation.

"Take a step back and write down what is making you most nervous, be it saving, not being happy in your current industry or even your personal relationships. This will allow you to address the problem and stand you in good stead to talk to others."

3. Be kind to yourself.

"Going through the quarter-life crisis can be a difficult process and exacerbated by becoming your own worst critic," Faraz said.

"Remind yourself it’s a positive experience that will hopefully enable you to make a change and progress, both with your career and with your life, eventually making you happier in the long-run. As you can see from the research, the crisis doesn’t last forever."

4. Talk to others.

"It’s important to discuss feelings of discontent. Talking to others about certain issues not only helps you rationalise the problem but helps with the solution. Though it’s great that your friends and family are there to support you, it’s also good to get an unbiased point of view, especially from someone who has the experience in your industry.

He suggests checking out LinkedIn's Career Advice feature, which allows you to connect easily with a range of mentors that will be able to offer "a fresh perspective and sound advice — it’s likely they’ve been in the same situation as you before," Faraz said.

5. Do your research.

"Once you have discussed your situation with the relevant people, it’s important to go away and research your options and most importantly your passions. Whether it’s starting a new career altogether, going travelling or progressing with your current role — it’s necessary to be aware of your possibilities. "