Probation officer turned career coach, Alice Stapleton, has researched her way into being an expert on the QLC (not least because she had one herself). Now she helps people clamber out of the hole of confusion some of generation Y has fallen into. So we went to talk to her, secretly hoping we might get a chance to talk about our very own QLCs while, of course, sourcing material for this blog. You can find part 2 here.
First up, please reassure us that the QLC is actually ‘a thing’. Because a tiny part of our brain is telling us we’re being silly.
It’s funny, I look through Twitter to see what people are saying about QLCs and American bloggers are going, “Ahh I’m having a QLC” but the ones in England, in typical British fashion, say: “Is the QLC an actual thing? Because I definitely think I’m experiencing it…”
QLCs have been on the table for a few years but it’s been met with a lot of, “ugh, its the young people moaning again. What’s their problem? They’ve got it all”.
So what is this phenomenon people call the QLC?
It’s a kind of identity crisis. You’re in your 20s or early 30s, asking the questions, ‘Who am I? What am I doing? Is this it? Is this what my life’s going to be like forever?”
Why are some of us asking such scary questions so young?
The working world is so competitive that generation Y is being educated up to its eyeballs. So you finish education later than previous generations did.
The post- war generation baby boomers had a different job market, a better economy and a less competitive world.
But you’re not doing any of the things your parents were doing by your age, and you’re left thinking, “oh my god. I rent, I live with two strangers, I do a job I hate, and I’m single. What am I doing?”
Being in your 20s used to mean being independent, but that’s hard when you’re financially reliant on your parents, and you have to move back home while you’re struggling to find a job. There’s more choice career-wise, but it’s hard to take advantage of it all.
Is social media messing with our QLC-ridden minds?
You’re bombarded with updates about all of that, and start thinking there must be something wrong with you.
But people don’t often update with bad or average news. It’s the great stuff we get on our feeds, so it’s not even an accurate portrayal of someone’s life.
Is the QLC a female thing?
I coach more women than men, but I don’t think this is because fewer men are struggling, but because women are happier to talk about it. The issues are the same, the male QLC is just under-reported.
Go on then, tell us about your QLC…
Well, lots of people ask me why I’ve gone into this niche. I always knew I wanted to work one-on-one with people. But also, I identified with this area of life coaching after I had my QLC.
I was in a state when I left university. I sat at the computer basically crying for three months thinking “ahhhhhhhhhhhhhh!”
Having experienced that relatively mild QLC and seeing some of my friends have a worse time, I thought, god there are people who this is really serious for.
I love my job and I really think there needs to be more support for people struggling with this period of their lives.Thank you to Alice for chatting to us– great to have an expert debunk some QLC myths. Read part 2 of the interview here.
If you want more QLC wisdom, have a look at Alice’s new project, Mind The Gap . It’s a community (online and real-world) for people in their 20s and early 30s who would like some support in their post-uni/ adult life confusion. The coaches are almost all quarter-lifers themselves, so they’ll get what you’re talking about.