Quarter-Life Crisis Stat Sheet

Us generous folks at Quarter Life Clueless have distilled some of the biggest concerns of quarter life crisis sufferers into this handy stat sheet to give you some perspective on, and hopefully some reassurance about, your clueless situation.

 

Quarter Life Crisis Stat Sheet

 

Has this been helpful? Let us know in the comments or tweet us @QLClueless and visit our tumblr.

In for the long run: how a longer life caused your quarter-life crisis

Call us pedantic, but here at Clueless we’re a bunch of perfectionists. We like our beers cold and our Ginsters hot, our water parks big and our crazy-golf scores small. We also like to know why things are going wrong, and how we can stop them – which is why we got in touch with The Office for National Statistics (ONS) and quarter-life crisis expert Dr Oliver Robinson to see how modern day adulthood affects the QLC.

It turns out it all starts with life expectancy. Yep, living longer is actually a massive downer. The ONS gave us these stats:

lcteol71_tcm77-256147

For full statistics, click here

 

As you can see, life has gotten a lot longer over the past 100 years. But how is that related to the QLC? Well, it all starts with the age adulthood begins. According to Dr Robinson, for most of the 20th century 21 was deemed the age adulthood started (so three extra years of sponging off your parents – nice). When combined with the average life expectancy of the period in question, it meant you started working and living independently later, and, as you were expected to die a lot earlier, you were working for a much shorter period of time (yay!).

Instead now we start adulthood at 18 (and some of us start our careers as early as 16, for example in apprenticeships) and work until around the age of 70 – that’s a lot more early mornings, traffic jams, and mind-numbing toil. Now consider the fact that most 18 year-olds don’t actually consider themselves adult until six or seven years later and you see the problem; being thrust into an uncomfortable position of independence at 18, a position which you don’t feel you’re ready for, and you’re likely to get stressed out – but looking ahead and seeing decades and decades of the same is just plain depressing.

And unfortunately, it isn’t going to get any better. With life expectancy in the UK rocketing, the forecast for future generations looks even bleaker – better keep a spare room in your future house, because there’s a fair chance that the kids will be moving back in…

lcteolbirth74_tcm77-256349If you fancy hearing more academic insights into your QLC then check out Dr Robinson’s Clueless guest post!

VIDEO: What’s the best thing about being in your twenties?

With the arduous job-hunting, high rents and scary choices, we sometimes forget that being 20-something is seriously exciting.

For a nice reminder, we asked four fellow millenials to do a selfie clip each telling us what they like most about their age. Here’s what they said.

 

Courtesy of justine-reyes, Creative Commons

Courtesy of justine-reyes, Creative Commons

 

 

 

The Quarter-life crisis in words

QLC word cloud

“I don’t want just words. If that’s all you have for me, you’d better go

What does this guy know anyway? Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons  https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/legalcode

What does this guy know anyway? Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons
https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/legalcode

Well hold on there F. Scott Fitzgerald (#namedrop), you haven’t even seen what we’re going to do with them yet! Jeez, this guy.

In a previous post, we looked at how the quarter-life crisis was represented in news media, and now we’ve gone back to the features, news stories and guides to the quarter-life crisis to look at the words it’s couched in.

For our purposes, these word clouds pull out the most frequently used terms – the bigger the word, the more times it was used in the original articles. In this first overall word cloud (above), there’s a lot of peripheral information to sift through, particularly irrelevant numbering.

The themes that pop out (aside from obvious terms like ‘crisis’) aren’t that surprising; ‘work’ and ‘jobs’ were used frequently enough to correlate them with QLCs. However, some are more interesting. ‘Parents’ would seem to reflect on both a comparison with previous generations and a need to live at home for financial reasons.

If we break it down further, we can see trends more clearly. For example, if we focus only on the long-form news feature articles and raise the bar for times a word is used, a slightly clearer picture emerges. We combined this guardian article, this telegraph article and this msn article to create this:

QLC feature word cloud

Again, we see ‘parents’, ‘jobs’ and ‘career’  are frequently used, but so are more personal terms: ‘trapped’, ‘depressed’, ‘feeling(s)’ , fear, ‘age’, ’25’ (a key age as opposed to the spectrum of numbers in the first word cloud), ‘want’, ‘phase’ and many others that display the universal feelings of distress that people can feel in these situations (incidentally Damian Barr, previously interviewed on this blog, also pops up a few times).

Blimey, this is getting a bit depressing; are all QLC articles this gloomy? Well, no; as any of our regular readers can attest, the rib-tickling levels of fun and hilarity that can be squeezed from the QLC knows no bounds; but what do these funnier articles on the topic from Metro, Buzzfeed and our very own Alex Horne (in this post) tell us?

QLC funny

Well, possibly slightly less. Although things are a bit less doom and gloom in these articles (as you might imagine), they also tend to gloss over key parts of the QLC experience (except the one from us, of course. We’re amazing). There are still trends that emerge, however; education, careers and emotional themes keep rising to the fore.

But perhaps you want something a little more helpful, and so for this last word cloud we’ve drawn together some articles which offer practical advice:

QLC helpful articles

It’s essentially what you’d expect. Keep your ‘faith’; one ‘stage’ at a time. ‘QLCs’ can make your ‘twenties’ intolerable, but ‘even’ during them, you must know they’re ‘just’ a ‘stage’.

That might seem pat and cheap, but it’s true. The language of the QLC is as universal as the experience – but also as the simple techniques to get past it are. So that’s what the investigations, the lists and the advice tell you.

As the last word cloud says: Your Move.

(Well, technically it says ‘youre’ and ‘MOVE’ separately, but it’s close enough. Ssh. And Robinson.)

With thanks to www.jasondavies.com for the word cloud programme.

Full list of articles:

The quarterlife crisis: young, insecure and depressed (The Guardian)

Quarter-life crisis: Find me a twentysomething who isn’t having one (The Telegraph)

20-something and stressed? How the quarter-life crisis got worse (MSN News)

Feeling depressed? It may be your quarter-life crisis (New Scientist)

‘Quarter-life’ crisis hits three in four of those aged 26 to 30 (Daily Mail)

10 Signs You’re Having Your Quarter-Life Crisis (Buzzfeed)

6 signs you’re suffering from a quarter-life crisis (Metro)

How to Survive a Quarter-Life Crisis (Self)

7 Cures for Your Quarter-life Crisis (Relevant magazine)

My 20s Weren’t Supposed to Be Like This: Getting Through the Quarter-Life Crisis (The Huffington Post)

Are You Having a Mid-twenties Crisis? (The Huffington Post)

 

Is it just Britain having a Quarter-Life Crisis?

Youth unemployment has been rife in the UK over the last few years, and in Quarter Life Clueless’s opinion is one of the biggest factors as to why quarter-life crisis is such a hot topic at the moment.

However it is fair to say that it’s not just young Brits who are struggling in the job market. Data collated from Eurostat shows that Britain’s youth unemployment rates are in fact no where near as high as those in countries such as France, Spain, Portugal and Italy (no prizes go to those who guessed Greece’s youth were worse off than ours, at least that’s something ‘ey?).

What this all shows is that despite things being pretty grim at the moment in old Blighty, things are a lot worse on the other side of the channel. A discovery that will perhaps be met with cries of Sacre Bleu by our rather less fortunate French counterparts.

 

Screen Shot 2014-05-03 at 16.00.34

 

Stats from Eurostat

 

Country Rate (2013)
Austria 8.90
Belgium 23.10
Canada 13.90
Czech Republic 18.80
Denmark 12.90
Finland 19.40
France 25.60
Germany 7.40
Greece 59.00
Hungary 28.10
Ireland 24.60
Italy 41.60
Japan 7.30
Luxembourg 18.10
Netherlands 11.10
Norway 9.20
Poland 27.40
Portugal 36.30
Spain 54.30
Sweden 22.90
UK 19.90
USA 14.20

Are you really suffering a Quarter-Life Crisis?

In order to understand whether people are really suffering from QLCs we decided to launch our own poll via SurveyMonkey.

The topic of QLC has been popping up all over the place these last few weeks. As mentioned in our earlier post it’s showing up everywhere. From the Guardian to Buzzfeed, everyone is going on about it. But it’s all well and good reading about it, but the big question is – are people really suffering from it? In a quest to find out, we conducted a QLC related poll.

Out of our 43 respondents we discovered some rather interesting things, such as the fact that over 80% of respondents have had financial worries at some point over their life. Whilst financial worries are only a minor component in what can cause someone to have a QLC our statistics show some interesting finds, but rather than going on about it how about we let you look at it yourself?
poll1

As you can see, most of our respondents fall into the age group that encompasses QLC (18-30), with one anomaly. 

poll2

poll3

Most of our respondents have been to University (over 70%).

poll4

Whilst only 46.51% of respondents are in employment, uh oh…

poll5

With two thirds of respondents saying that they have been worried about finding a job after finishing education.

poll6

poll7

Over 80% of respondents feel the struggling UK economy is playing a part in their struggle to find employment.

poll8

poll9

poll10

A surprising number of respondents claim to have suffered from a QLC at some point in their life, with one respondent who chose ‘Other’ stating ‘I am having a crisis, but I don’t want to put a label on it such as Quarter Life Crisis’.

But what does it all mean?

Whilst our survey was taken by a small number of people it does show that QLC is a real thing affecting real people, and that it isn’t just media hysteria or a new term coined by psychiatrists to allow people to feel a bit better about themselves. We’ve also discovered that three main problems arise during young people’s lives – trying to become financially self sufficient, trying to find suitable housing and trying to find a job after finishing education. We can also take away from our survey that regardless of your education level people will suffer from a crisis in one form or another. So the best thing to do is just keep going and hope that things will turn out alright in the end as unfortunately there’s not a great deal else you can do. Especially in a time of austerity and a shrinking job market. So good luck guys, and keep safe.