I just finished reading The Quarter‑Life Breakthrough and it’s safe to say that it’s the best book I’ve read so far this year. The reason why I purchased this book in the first place was that I felt super nostalgic after watching High School Musical: The Musical: The Series. I guess this sounds stupid to most people, but I’m quite melancholic in general and this series did a particularly good job in making me wish I was 16 again and questioning my life decisions & accomplishments these past few years. I was also wondering how far some of these decisions I made were subconsciously influenced by other people’s opinions. Gladly, I’m not a people pleaser and never been one but I guess we all are to some extent affected by society’s expectations on us.
I particularly noticed this during these last few months. People – especially older generations – tell me to do a Master’s degree, so I will land a higher-paid job in the future than I could with just a Bachelor. Even this might be true, I have zero motivation to enroll in a university program again, so why the heck should I do it if it wouldn’t make me happy at the moment? Of course, you never know in advance whether or not something is for you, but I see absolutely no point in starting anything that I already expect to dislike beforehand.
But let’s get back to the book. The stories the author shares are not only inspiring but also relatable. They really get you thinking about your purpose, your values and the impact you want to make in your job. I also liked the counter-intuitive approach of the book, as it doesn’t suggest the typical career ladder concept which often leads to limited opportunities and lack of experimentation. In fact, it recommends millennials to perceive their career sections as a series of interconnecting lily pads on which you jump on and off. I’ve never heard about this lily pad metaphor before, but it’s the perfect representation of how I imagined my career path to be for quite a while now. There’s so much to learn and to discover and I simply don’t want to get stuck in one specific industry and ignore all my other interests including the ones I might not know about yet. Moreover, the author pointed out that it’s completely normal that your aspired purpose and non-negotiables in a job change over time.
And let’s be honest, how could anyone expect you to know what you want to do for the rest of your life at the age of 18 or even 28?
It’s okay to quit your studies if you realize it’s not for you. It’s okay to change career paths if you’re over 30. It’s okay to not have ONE true calling. It’s okay to get a new job every few years because you regularly seek a change of scenery and like to experiment with different opportunities. It’s okay to go (back) to university late in life and it’s okay to leave a well-paid, prestigious job that some people would beg to have. Although it’s obvious, I want to clarify that I don’t think there’s anything wrong about getting a highly regarded degree and climbing up one career latter, but it’s certainly not for everyone.
In either case, make sure to choose your path for YOU – not to impress your friends, satisfy your ego, or to please your parents.