A quarter life crisis can strike Grownups at any time. From starting a side hustle to taking a class, Broke Millennial Erin Lowry offers steps to stave off mid-twenties angst.
You’re sitting at your desk when suddenly the walls seem to be closing in on you. A reminder pings in Outlook that you have to attend your fourth inane meeting of the day. Panic rises in your chest and your stomach starts to hurt. You’ve only been out of college a few years and you’re already starting to fantasize about retirement—or at least quitting this job. Actually, maybe you should just quit right now! You could survive traveling around the world bartending or something, right?
Before you let this quarter life crisis get the best of you (and your savings account), take one of these steps.
Pick Up a Second Job
It may sound counterintuitive to pick up more work if your existing job is giving you anxiety. But here’s the reason why: A second source of income makes you feel like “hey, I could quit if I wanted,” without actually doing the deed. Starting a side business that you control or figuring out how to bring in more income can be an empowering experience and a way to put happiness back into earning a paycheck. By developing a side hustle, you could ultimately create the financial flexibility or leverage to leave your current job. Or the extra money could help you achieve financial goals like paying off debt, funding your love of eating out, creating a travel fund, or just having a way to feel some level of autonomy at your painful desk job.
Have a Hobby You Don’t Monetize
Maybe you take amazing pictures, can fix any computer issue you’ve come across, or can crochet adorable stuffed animals. Some well-intentioned friend has probably told you, “Hey, you could totally sell ____ and make some good money.” Whether you’re selling a skill or product, don’t do it!
Or, at least, don’t turn your hobby into a chore. Making extra money is grand, but the secret is that monetizing a skill can take most of the enjoyment out of your favorite activity. For instance, professional potters and landscape painters typically aren’t having a great time (well, maybe that Bob Ross guy used to). But the lady selling homemade Beanie Babies at the local art fair is having a blast! The art fair lady is not making things she thinks are marketable—she’s making whatever she wants, and if it sells, great!
You’ll no longer have a fun, relaxing, stress-reducing activity as soon as it becomes a business.
Take a Class to Develop a New Skill (and Pad Your Resume)
Not interested in picking up a second job and don’t really have any hobbies (other than binge-watching Game of Thrones)? Consider taking a class on a topic you’ve always found challenging or interesting. You never know: Taking a coding class at a local adult education center could be what makes you leave the entertainment industry to become a User Experience (UX) Developer. Indulging in a cooking class could spark your new side business selling customized pastries. Or maybe you just improve your talents in your current field and use it to pad your resume and get a better job.
Take a Deep Breath
Experiencing a quarter life crisis is completely normal. Just don’t make rash decisions, especially if you have student loan bills to pay—or if you’re 26 and already off your parents’ health insurance!
Erin Lowry is the founder of BrokeMillennial.com, where she uses sarcasm and humor to explain basic financial concepts to her fellow Millennials. Erin lives and works in New York City.
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While Society of Grownups hopes the information is useful, it’s only intended to provide general education. It’s not legal, tax, or investment advice, and may not apply or be useful to your specific financial situation. If you need recommendations geared to your personal financial situation, schedule time with a financial planner.