Young Malaysians are facing increasing pressure to succeed personally and professionally before they turn 30. According to a survey by LinkedIn, the world’s largest professional network, 32% of males and 29% of females say they’ve definitely experienced what psychologists would call a ‘quarter-life crisis’ in their twenties or thirties.
‘Quarter-life crisis’ is the feeling of not being satisfied with where a person is in their life, and that time is running out. This can cause anxiety or depression among young people of both genders.
Vera Wong was a successful young Malaysian who had a comfortable job at one of Malaysia’s top property developers, but felt that something was amiss from her career, “I was very fortunate to land a cushy job in my early 20s, but I wanted to do something more. Because of self-doubt, I hesitated. The one thing that eventually inspired me to take that leap of faith was my favourite quote by Zig Ziglar: You don’t have to be great to start, you just have to start to be great. This gave me the confidence to venture into an entirely new field. Today, I find a sense of purpose in helping others discover their own career path. Sometimes, you just have to give it a try, and with a little persistence and believe, you’ll eventually find meaning in what you do.”
The survey of 1,003 employed, young Malaysians found that about three quarters of them felt pressured to succeed in relationships, career or finances, even though the majority of both genders already have full-time jobs. Finding a job or career that they are passionate about was a major trigger of anxiety in both males and females.
“If you’re finding it hard to find the right job or career that you love, or achieving financial security for yourself and your loved ones, you’re not alone. It’s so important to seek advice or find a mentor when you are facing pressure within and outside the workplace. Talking to someone you can trust will help you assess, address and beat that quarter-life crisis,” said Linda Lee, LinkedIn’s Head of Communications for Southeast Asia and North Asia.
Many young Malaysians surveyed want career advice but do not have the right connections; one-third of both genders have changed their career entirely, either starting again in a new sector or role, while half of the respondents feel that they’re not getting enough support in their workplace to help with their career progression.
In an effort to help young Malaysians address job and career challenges, Linkedin has created a Career Advice hub where members can connect with career mentors to seek advice – be it making a career switch, managing their finances, learning opportunities or helping with work-life balance.
Employers too have a big role to play in supporting young employees. With more companies looking to hire young Malaysians, companies will be in a better position to attract and retain talent if they offer career guidance, mentorship, and learning and upskilling opportunities to help every employee succeed in their role. Understanding what Millennials want is crucial as it gives them the opportunity to achieve their potential and grow with the company.
Tips to beat quarter-life crisis:
Stop comparing yourself to others
Malaysians often compare almost every aspect of their lives to that of their peers.
LinkedIn says: Comparing your own career journey to that of your peers will definitely worsen feelings of disappointment and underachievement. Remember that everyone is at a different stage of their career, so don’t compare yourself to others. Whatever your definition of success is and whatever makes you happy is enough.
Malaysian Millennials experiencing quarter-life crisis say they’re most likely to talk to family (59%), friends (59%) and partner (53%) rather than their work colleagues (30%) and boss (11%) about their career.
LinkedIn says: Though Millennials are seeking advice, they often do not know where to go for answers and feel like they aren’t getting enough support at their workplace to help them progress. The Career Advice hub on LinkedIn is a great resource for young Malaysians to get career guidance and advice from mentors outside the workplace. You can also be a mentor and share your experiences and insights with other members.
Upskill and learn
Almost half (48%) of Malaysian Millennials feel stuck in their current role and are looking for a way out.
LinkedIn says: Proactively seek out training opportunities, either from your company or from online platforms such as LinkedIn Learning, to ensure you are constantly upskilling and learning new things. Picking up new skills and brushing up on your knowledge may open up opportunities for you to take on a new or different role in the company, and will help you progress in your career.
Consider all options
Many companies offer employment benefits that not all employees are aware of. In fact, one-third of companies in Malaysia offer flexible working options and paid sabbaticals.
LinkedIn says: Whether it’s starting a new career altogether or progressing with your current role – it’s necessary to be aware of your possibilities. By understanding what your employment benefits are, you’d have more options available to you, and this would certainly help you in making a more informed decision.