When I was 26, I was stuck in a job that I felt wasn't going anywhere and in a company that didn't really seem to care. My escape hatch was business school, where I could spend two years learning new skills, building my network, and pivoting from my old career in advertising to an entirely new one in management consulting.
Today, the career transition I went through and the angst I encountered along the way now have a name: the "quarter-life crisis." And it's the focus of a new survey conducted by LinkedIn. LinkedIn recently interviewed more than 6,000 25 to 33 year-olds from the US, UK, Australia, and India to find out what exactly is driving the existential despair that many of them feel around their careers and their lives.
So just how prevalent is this millennial malady? In an article on their official blog, Blair Decembrele, a director of editorial marketing and career expert at LinkedIn, reports that 75 percent of 25-33 year olds have experienced a quarter-life crisis, which she describes as a "period of insecurity and doubt that many people in their mid 20s to early 30s go through surrounding their career, relationships, and finances."
The number one cause? Finding a job or career that they're passionate about, say 61 percent of survey respondents. And the second biggest cause? Nearly half of the people in this age range cite the anxiety they feel when they compare themselves to their more successful friends, with women (51 percent) suffering from this more than men (41 percent).
So what are they doing about it? More than one-third (36 percent) of them changed their careers entirely, switching to new industries and different roles. And 23 percent did what I did when I was their age: They went back to school or entered a training program.
A small but nonetheless noticeable share of respondents took an even more radical approach to tackling their quarter-life crisis, with 10-11 percent of them starting a business, quitting to go freelance, or taking a sabbatical before returning to the same company.
Millennials are hungry for career advice, but 56 percent say they don't know where to turn for the advice and support they need at this critical juncture in their careers.
Unsurprisingly, 41 percent say they aren't getting enough support at work, and 43 percent express an interest in a career mentor, but say they lack the right connections to find one.
LinkedIn is jumping in and offering support through a new feature they call LinkedIn Career Advice, which "helps connect members across the LinkedIn network with one another for lightweight mentorship opportunities." Citing the more than 530 million professionals in their global community, LinkedIn is offering to fill an important gap in career advice and mentorship that many young people face today.
Judging by the number of requests I get on LinkedIn for Skype sessions and coffee chats from young professionals seeking my advice, I imagine this feature could become pretty popular.
This article also appeared on LinkedIn.