(Community Matters) I’m unfamiliar with the concept of the quarter life crisis but have been discussing this with young friends. I didn’t realize this was a phrase already in the vernacular of ego psychologists. Erik Erikson ties it to intimacy vs isolation in adult development.
Some I’ve spoken with tie it to our “rock star economy,” college debt and the Great Recession.
They say we’re living in this social & instant media world where the outliers are featured so ubiquitously we don’t even see them as outliers any longer. Of course there have always been outliers but that in today’s world, especially for people your age, it’s way too easy to compare each other against the outliers.
College debt – I’ve never even thought of this. When Steven and I left college, most people didn’t have substantial amounts of college debt. Heck, my semesters were $400 for tuition and fees and football tickets and parking. Of course there’s a lot more focus and drive re: money when people are coming out with $50k, $75k, even $100k in debt.
And the great recession. 2008 – so many graduated with the floor pulled out from under them. Expectations had been high until Oct. The availability of jobs didn’t recover until 2011, 2012, in some fields never with the salaries imagined when students decided on majors.
Hmmm, lots to consider in the psychological exploration of the quarter life crisis phenomenon.
(hope I return to write about our trip to Panama and the incredible area Casco Antigua where we stayed and played. And, Esperanza Social Venture Club – a group helping turn around the life of gang members. Mind blowing. Exploring more and likely to become an important project we support.)
The 20-something college grads are sort of a lost generation. They’ve been hearing for 20 years the older generation preaching the need for a college degree to compete in the world economy and a ticket to the middle class. Now they get their degrees and are immediately guilt-tripped and told they are on the wrong side of the “skills gap”. (I think much of the skills gap rhetoric comes from incompetent business managers looking for excuses for poor results.) And not just humanities majors. Even STEM majors don’t hit the ground running in their new jobs. Smart and flexible ones can learn from their co-workers and get up to speed in 6 months or so. Big companies and government agencies can afford to finance this unofficial training period, but small companies often can’t.
Employers are increasingly picky, writing extrememly detailed job descriptions, and pften preferring to hire no one if a rock star isn’t available. I honestly think human resources departments often harm their organizations by being so difficult-to-please.