The Quarterlife Crisis Series: A Millennial’s Advantage (Ruth Harper)

by Patrick on May 30, 2011

As a 22-year-old recent college graduate, I seem to have plenty to worry about.

I worry I will fail at a finding a job. I worry I will fail at doing my job once I find it. I worry I will fail at maintaining old friendships. I worry I will fail at starting new friendships. I worry my relationship with my boyfriend, which is going on eight years, (gross, I know), will fail. I worry I will fail at preparing for old age. I worry I will fail to keep up with family.

Basically, I worry I will fail at everything. Maybe it’s pessimism or OCD or a simple lack of confidence but either way, it’s not a fun feeling, especially now that college is over for me.

My parents never went to college, but I’m willing to bet they felt something of a Quarter Life Crisis in the mid-to-late 1980s, right before (or even after) I came along. In fact, my mom has told me before how stressful it was to find a job in the early 1980s when, like today, the economy wasn’t great.

In addition to embarking on completely different career paths, my parents and I lack one other commonality: social media. I’m willing to bet if my parents had had Facebook or Twitter or LinkedIn (or, heck, even just Google), when they were my age, they would have whined about the same things. Can’t find a job. Can’t leave home. Can’t find new friends.

The fact is, though, they didn’t have social media, and, somehow, they did it. That gives our generation a lot of hope. Think about it: They did all right with fewer resources than we have available today. Perhaps that brings on more stress than it gets rid of. However, using social networking, we can find solutions to a lot of the frustrations and fears a Quarter Life Crisis brings any generation.

For example, thanks to Facebook, Twitter and other social networking sites, we can not only stay in contact with old friends, but we can also meet and learn from new people with similar interests. Equally important, we can vent with them about our Quarter Life Crises no matter how far away they may be.

Also, social media, especially LinkedIn and Brazen Careerist, can help us QLCers with the job hunt(s). While we shouldn’t rely on the internet alone, it’s certainly something we can use to our advantage by making your network of contacts wider and deeper.

Finally, social media is a great way to find and engage in discussion about great resources. As young professionals, our parents had limited options. If they wanted to talk to someone about a niche area, they’d have to hope they knew someone with the same interests. Today, we can easily jump on Twitter or LinkedIn or Brazen Careerist and instantly share and receive expertise and new information.

While some may fret that our parents had it easier because they never faced a Quarter Life Crisis scenario, I would disagree. We, in fact, have it easier because we face these growing-up issues AND we have the ability to communicate with others who are in the same boat.

We have the ability to learn in an hour what it would take our parents to learn in a whole day or maybe even a whole week. We can keep up on our old roomies’ new life while expanding our knowledge to improve our professional abilities. We can do so much more.

That’s the Millennial Advantage.

It’s challenging, for sure. But no matter what naysayers may spout, we really do have it good.

Ruth Harper is a recent graduate from St. Bonaventure University’s Integrated Marketing Communications master’s degree program. She is a freelance writer and marketer living in Upstate New York, where she’s currently seeking full-time employment in journalism, PR or communications. Follower her on Twitter: @ruthings

If you are interested in contributing to the Quarterlife Crisis series feel free to contact me.

  • http://aritza-goddess.blogspot.com/ Aritza, Goddess of ..

    Great article! I agree, you’re probably right.. we have much wider opportunities than our parents ever did. It’s nice to think about all the possibilities we have ahead, rather than focus on the negative / how hard it is.

    • http://justruthings.com Ruth A. Harper

      Exactly! I try to have a positive outlook whenever possible, even if it’s very challenging. Thanks for reading! :)

  • http://parisianfeline.wordpress.com Tatiana

    I agree – the internet and surge of social networking has made being social and interactive ten times faster, and more efficient. But I think with this speed comes a great deal of laziness and dependence. It’s addicting and very tempting to spend a lot of time using the internet to solve problems, answer questions. I feel it is also difficult to find the desire to leave the internet because everything is quicker. 

    So I think it’s a mixed bag; especially in the case of job hunting. Like how I attended a job fair, and a few places told me to go to the website, giving me a card. Why both setting up a booth if you’re just going to direct people back home? Because the internet is so prevalent, it gives the impression that the most effective way to job hunt is online. Which I don’t think is necessarily accurate. 

    But this post was great. 

    • http://justruthings.com Ruth A. Harper

      Definitely a good point, Tatiana. I totally agree, especially with job hunting. The “easy” thing to do is to rely on emailing and searching online job boards, but that’s not necessarily what’s going to get the job. The more the internet penetrates our society, the more important face-to-face and phone interactions become!

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