Time for a quarter-life crisis

I’m hoping today’s post will be therapeutic, not so much for your benefit, but for mine (I know, I’m selfish). I was on a walk with Girl Ninja the other day and we grabbed some dinner at Subway. All three of the Subway employees appeared to be in their mid 20’s. I walked out slightly depressed that I didn’t work at Subway.

Yeah I know….I’m freakin’ crazy. I have a pretty awesome job, but sometimes I wish my job was kinda lame. Deep down inside I dream of working at Starbucks, McDonalds, or Costco. Why? Because they can all be part time and have flexible shifts. I went from immature college senior to special agent working for the government in just a couple months.

I thought it was an unwritten law: After college you must bum off mom and dad for a couple years, work a part time job, spend your free time hanging out with friends and backpack Europe (twice). After two years in the workforce, I’m feeling like McDonalds wouldn’t be so bad. Not because I hate my job, but I would love the freedom to have a completely fluid work schedule. 

I know, I shouldn’t be whining like a little school girl right now. There are a ton of college graduates out there that would love to do what I do. Heck, I love doing what I do, but sometimes I’m a little envious of the part-time lifestyle. I was blessed to get the job I did, and know it’s going to pay off huge in the long run, but the kid-ninja inside of me just wants to rap to Ludacris and play some video games, maybe even watch a little Spongebob.

Am I the only one suffering from a minor quarter-life crisis? Anyone else experience a little “Holy crap, I’m kind of an adult” moment? Will my passion to be part-time slowly fade? Or am I doomed to envy those that live on their parents couch forever?

21 thoughts on “Time for a quarter-life crisis”

  1. You know what Ninja, I'm in my late 20's here and I still have those 'holy crap, I am an adult moments'. I don't think they ever stop really.

    You're younger there, you've managed your finanaces well, you've got your whole life ahead of you (as the oldies say), and a good chuck of change in your savings (based on your Net Worth posts).

    Maybe you should consider a big trip as a treat to yourself and Ms Ninja. The next few years are the time to do it, before the baby Ninjas show up and you're making mortgage payments. Or perhaps even to be a little bit different, instead of doing the European tour thing, volunteer for a few weeks in a place that really needs it, and do some more travel from there. Make a difference. You don't want to spend your whole life working just to earn the 6 figure salary and have a phat 401k plan.

    And if you come down Australia way, be sure to drop me a line.

  2. Hmmm…. actually, if what you're having is a quarter life crisis, and you're in your early 20's, you'll live to your early 90's there bro. Actually, cancel the plans for a trip with Ms Ninja, you'd better beef up the 401k

  3. Yes! I'm not crazy! (Or maybe we both are.)

    I'm one of the few among my friends that has a "corporate" job of 7-6pm. I recently found myself feeling totally jealous of my friends that work part-time, or just really flexible schedules….going off to happy hours on random Wednesday nights while I have to be in bed by 10.

    I realize I wouldn't have the savings I do now if I lived like they do, but still, I can't help but feel as though I'm missing out on something. And yet I'm sure my friends on the other side of the spectrum envy me, forgetting that my time isn't as flexible as theirs. There's a trade off for everything, isn't there?

  4. YES! 🙁 I had that moment last month when I had to ask off for an hour to get my car fixed and then proceed to pay $380 on repairs. Boo. I had two weeks between graduation and my big-girl job and I wish that I had dragged that out a little longer.

  5. I know exactly what you're saying! I'm 25, and I started my first job the Monday after I graduated. My brother however went to one year of college and has been working part-time for almost 2 years at a minimum wage job. He lives on his own so he pays rent, but he basically gets to do anything he wants (in part because my mother gives him cash like its free).

    One awesome thing about starting off in a great job early on (like you obviously did) is that after a few years you have the possibility to work part time and still make more than people working full time in a minimum wage job.

  6. I have those moments on a daily basis, but a counterract that with healthy amounts of Wii, Spongebob, friends and sleep. I still make time for fun NO MATTER what I'm going through, and I think Josh is so on point with that…you should treat yourself!

    That said, I wouldn't give up my check and benefits for the world. It's the BENEFITS Ninja! I mean, sure they have a more flexible lifestyle, but if they are working part time, that's no health, no dental, no 401K, no Paid Time Off (oh the glory!). They are living in the NOW, while I'm able to live comfortably NOW and able to plan a comfortable future.

    Yeah, I think I'm good!

  7. Questioning your college degree? Wanting to have a part time no responsibility job? Ninja, is being away from the people you love causing you to loose touch with your reality? =)

  8. Ninja, I absolutely love your blog!

    With that said sometimes I do regret going to work full-time right after school. I have friends that call me a stick in the mud becuase I shut everything down by 10 pm on weeknights.

    I party a couple of times a month, but I feel left out sometimes when my friends are going somewhere and having fun until midnight on a weekday/night.

    I feel somewhat better when I get paid cold, hard cash and they're complaining about this bill or about how much something costs even though they've had an chance to work overtime or pick up more hours.

    Anyways, I just wanted to let you know that I understand your envy of our part-time working friends.

  9. I did that kind of thing last year–two flex schedule part-time jobs + consulting. I don't miss it. My strict 9-5 allows me to be sure when my paycheck is coming in and how much there'll be in it. Plus I can make plans on the weekend, that kind of thing.

    There's still a part that suddenly realized I'm an adult every week or so, at it still feels weird. I sometimes fantasize about being a teen again, with my part-time job and being able to spend most of the money I made from it (or in my case, save it for big things).

  10. I work a full time job that allows me to work a flexible schedule, from home, provided I work at least my 40 hour work week. Not all professional jobs are a 9-5 grind it out every day job.

  11. wait til you're 30 and all your friends have babies and just don't hang out like they used to. THATS no fun, especially when you wanna pretend to be 21 again!!

  12. Ah, Ninja.
    I read your blog all the time, and have really been feeling these last 2 posts. While I dont want to work a part time job for the flexibility, I wish I could get rid of my "sit behind a computer all day" job and go out and do some real work. Lately, i've been seeking to work for the Railroad as a brakeman or something, or work for a construction company driving heavy machinery. It would be so awesome to drive a tractor or a bulldozer all day instead of sitting in this chair.

  13. I'm 44 and just figuring out that I should start acting like an adult because I can't put it off any longer, not gracefully, anyway.

  14. Man! I'm 36 and have that feeling about once a week…This week's occassion was that I have to get a crown put on a tooth. What? Am I an old person now?! Ha ha…

  15. Ditto.

    I worked throughout college full time and since I had such a great resume, I managed to hook myself into an Analyst position at a "great" consulting firm.

    The job was horrible, I hated the responsiblity, and I cried all the time. I rarely slept well and I traveled too much.

    I got laid off and I literally took the first job that was offered to me, which most people say is a bad idea. I turned out to be a GREAT IDEA. I'm a lowly Admin Coordinator. I come in a 9 and leave a 5 and just LOVE it. I never think about work when I"m not here.

    Oddly enough, I got offered my previous salary, so I didn't have to take a pay cut.

  16. I am feeling a boatload of gratitude right now. When I finished High School my folks shipped me off to relatives in Germany for two years… you're right on, it was not only some of the best times of my life, it was a great education too.

    I say pack up and go. 🙂

  17. I have been working full time since I graduated , but have bounced around with a part time job on top of that since I started. BuildABear, bookstores. Recently my fulltime job has switched to rotating hours, some weeks 6-3, 7-4, 8-5, 9-6,10-7 and that has really helped me adjust. I love being able to sleep in some days and get home early some days. If I could earn as much as I do now with 2 part time jobs, I would do it in a heartbeat I think.

    – Courtney

    And Spongebob is on all weekend, that's when I watch it!

  18. just remember, working part time (or 3 part time jobs like I do) does pretty much mean you can take off whenever you want, BUT you are usually too poor to go anywhere anyways…….the grass is always greener on the other side!

  19. This happens to me every Sunday night when I bail out on what my friends are doing to go home and do laundry, prepare food, pack my gymbag and clear my mind for the work ahead. It's not just money that being a grown-up invades…

  20. The grass is certainly greener. I spent 5 years after I graduated job hopping as a server and bartender, etc, traveling and trying to figure out what I want to be when I grow up. It is quite difficult now to explain this in interviews. While I wouldn’t miss the travel for anything, I do wish I had a more streamlined resume. Now at 27 I am starting over where you started at 22. Wiser, yes and with some excellent experiences but with the knowledge that I am not qualified to do much. So Enjoy the fact that if you did not have this steady job you would stress about other stuff: instability, no health insurance, no 401k, no security, etc. The quarter-life crisis is bad either way.

    I enjoy your blog and hope to be joining you in the ranks of the gainfully employed non-profit or government worker soon!

  21. I currently have a 55 mile commute each way to work, so there's a lot of driving time there which lets my mind wander.

    Three days ago I was in the middle lane at a happy speed when this voice in the back of my head (think automated cinema phone service; "press 1 for opening hours; press 2 for ticket prices…") said "I am driving to work!"

    I freaked out so badly I ended up in a different lane and nearly drove into the back of a pickup truck. The inside of my head was saying that this couldn't be because I'm still 16 and haven't got a driving licence, never mind a job.

    My girlfriend thinks I haven't grown up either, though that may have different reasons for it…

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