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I'm having some kind of crisis!

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OK...so I don't know if this is my quarter-life crisis or what, but I am 27 years old and freaking out lately...


I have a Bachelors degree in Psychology with a minor in Criminal Justice, which I am not using and never have (I'd like to). After a few jobs in the business world, I switched gears and am now 1/2 way done with my MBA - which I have NO idea what I am going to do with and don't even know if I want to finish. After my position was cut at the marketing agency I was at last summer, I got a job at a new restaurant nearby and TRIPLED my income. I met wonderful people and everyday is different. I think I am good at it, and I am happy there for now, but I do not want to work as a server for the rest of my life. I have goals and dreams but right now I have NO idea where to start or what to do.


To complicate matters, I am in a relationship. My boyfriend is 25 and VERY settled and mature for his age. He has a degree in Web developing which he uses at his full-time job which he is in line to RETIRE from by 2008. BUT his degree is completely useful because he is using his expertise to build his own websites for the real estate business he is in. He has a timeline, goals, and knows exactly where he wants to be in five years. He has gotten into flipping houses and I thought eventually we could work as a team since I really love designing and building, etc. I figure I could be on the creative side of it all. But...my boyfriend, while he is definitely willing to let me help out, would like to see me more independent and having some goals and dreams of my own. I cannot mooch off his goals, which seems like what I have been doing in the 15 months we have been together. I have adopted his interests and abandoned my own. When he asked me what I wanted to be doing in 5 years, I had no answer and he said he had never met anyone who didnt have goals...


The problem is I have no idea where to begin and what I want to do. My boyfriend is setting himself up to not have to work a regular Monday thru Friday 9-5 job ever again, for his real estate business and investments will put him in such a position. I'd love it if he'd include me in these goals and instead of saying that in 2 years HE wont have to work again, that WE wont have to work again - but is that unfair of me to assume that he will automatically support me? He is the type who wants to be with someone independent and driven...which i know i can be. I want to be successful too, but i have no idea where to start.


I just feel so unsure about my future but i dont want it to be that way. I want to have a family, i want to be a mother. All these things my bf and i have discussed and i know that marriage and a family is at least 5 years down the road. I can handle that, i just dont know what to do in those 5 years for ME, to make myself happy. I had to move back to my parents recently after some really bad roommates, so its like i feel like i have no place right now. Its so hard and i dont know what to do!!


Any advice would be appreciated...thanks in advance!!

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mm... i have no experience, but to me it sounds like you and your boyfriend are in some sort of partnership, instead of a relationship.... its weird that he is thinking of you as some sort of a disappointment that you don't have "goals" and wont be retiring in 3 years....


It sounds like you are slightly freaking out a bit and feel like you are under the gun to produce some results... I suggest taking a deep breath, and thinking about things VERY selfishly..... think about the things that will make YOU happy... and things that YOU want to accomplish...


Don't worry if it will make your boyfriend happy, or proud of you.... he hopefully will be happy with you regardless of what path you decide to go down.... right now it seems like you feel pushed to make a decision on how you are going to spend the rest of your life...


I guess I get a bad feeling when he says he wants you to have goals separate of you... when you guys are supposed to be working towards some kind of end goal together.......

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well, i agree that eventually, like if we get married,there should be some shared goals. I will not argue that. BUT at the same time, i know many many people (including myself) who would not want to get into a relationship and have the other person adopt my goals and beliefs and make them my own. It is attractive when someone has their own dreams and ideas of what they want for themselves. I know my boyfriend wants a future and all that - it's mainly the career stuff that we differ on. Which i think is OK considering we are individuals and we have only been together a little over a year. I think my main crisis is with myself and being unsure of where I want to go. I've sort of just been "enjoying the ride" without regards to where i want to end up...and it's just kind of hit me, and i do want to have goals and make my family, and yes my boyfriend proud. I know many people arent attracted to someone who seemingly doesnt have goals. And i definitely DO im just not sure what to do to achieve them. I almost feel like its so late, i wasted a few years not knowing what i wanted, jumping from job to job that had no relevance to my degree. I dont know...i know it will all fall into place this is just the first time ive ever doubted where i am and where i am going and it is just kind of scary!!!

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Forget for a moment, if you can, what your boyfriend wants for you. What do you want? There's a good chance that if you're not even sure you want to finish with your MBA, then it's not the thing for you to be doing. Maybe it's time to take a break and explore things that you are really interested in, as opposed to the things that you think you're supposed to be doing.


Take it from someone who is 35- it is NOT too late. Aside from a few extreme examples (Olympic athelete, professional ballerina, etc.), there are not many professions in life that it's too late to begin exploring. You mentioned that you'd like to use your psych/crim. justice degree. What jobs would you be interested in that would use that? Or, if you enjoy working at the restaurant, maybe go into some sort of hospitality profession, and manage a restaurant, or even own one with a partner.


Instead of being more or less attracted to you based on your goals, your boyfriend should be happy if you're a good friend and girlfriend to him, that you're a good person, and that you love him. He should also appreciate being with a free thinker who wants to do what's best for herself in life and will take the steps to find out what that is. Switching jobs the past few years isn't necessarily a bad thing. It's all part of the process of finding out who you are. Just because he's so sure of his path doesn't always mean it's the right one. He could be having a similar crisis ten years from now. You just never know.

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You have one life. Why not be what you want, and do what you want....for yourself?


Its good and all that he wants you to be successful. But I get the feeling that what he wants as far as you (or any girlfriend to him) to be driven or successful, is not for you-but for him.


I would love to be able to support my girlfriend (or wife) so WE could retire young, or so she did not have to work anymore. Of course, that is how I feel.

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You appear to have a goal, ie marriage and family. If you have not already done so have you discussed with your bf the form that this family life will take in quite some detail, such as: level of income required and what both of you will be doing in your day to day life. If this is your goal, part of achieving it is to ensure that you are in fact both working for the same outcome.


I get the sense that you both are in fact not working for this at present.

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I think it is definitely time to figure out what you want; and how to get there. Even if it is not "easy". It is not too late. I am your age myself, and I know it is not too late; working towards goals is a lifelong process whatever age you are at.


Like you, I found I was not finding much career success with my B.A., and knew I wanted more but was afraid for many reasons, and instead of putting myself out there, I stuck to what I knew and developed goals outside career instead. I also put my goals aside to support a partner...which was fine for a while. But when that relationship ended I realized to feel better about myself, I also needed to feel good not just about my personal goals and accomplishments outside career, but those involving career too.


I chose to go back to school this year; knowing where I wanted to go with it and knowing I had to do it for me. My partner has been very supportive of that, and our goals as a couple are still there, that does not mean we cannot have individual personal goals at the same time.


I respect that you want to have a family and work in a team with your partner, but it is important you do follow your own goals and not put yours on the wayside too; I bet if he saw that you were making a concrete plan to be part of his business he would see it differently; rather than as you latching on to whatever it is. I think you need to be able to survive and feel happy with your choice whether it works out with being a teammate with him, or not.


If you really would like to do something in Psych/Criminal Justice, why don't you examine your options, rather than just "settle" for something else that seems "easier" if it is not making you happy?


As for future family; that is another issue that you need to discuss with him: have you two discussed your future together more concretely in terms of marriage, parenthood? I don't think it is fair at all to assume he would support you, at least not with discussions on this, or with an idea of what will be happening in the relationship. If you are staying home to raise kids, of course that is a reciprocal relationship, and many do that.


I think the issue here is he feels you are just subsuming your own identity into his, and it is hard to have an equal relationship when that happens.

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Being independent, especially these days, is SO important--- especially for women.


God-forbid he walks out on you after you get married. Or what if you decide to leave him. Are you certain that he'll still want to include you in his business endeavors? Will you be able to still have a business partnership? A lot of issues may arise if this happens (unless you both legally own the business(es)).


Not to sound like a pessimist, but you really need to be prepared for the worst. At least that's how I look at it. Over my dead body will I ever be dependent on my future husband in terms of money and career. Plus, it'll make me feel like a failure if I were to ever depend on him so heavily.


No offense, but if my boyfriend or future husband had no goals, and tried to interfere or get involved with mine, it'd probably annoy me, and I can honestly say that I wouldn't really look up to him. In my eyes, it shows weakness of character. But then again, that's just me.

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I dont see anything wrong with being dependant on someone if you choose to spend forever with them or are completely serious.


I kinda get the feeling from reading your posts that you have given yourself pressure based on what your BF wants for you and your struggling to meet this criteria he has...

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I have had many jobs, seemingly unrelated to each other, but after a while I saw a pattern regarding what made me happy in each of them and what made me unhappy. A career counselor from my college alma mater (I qualify for career services as an alumna) gave me a detailed Meyers-Briggs personality test. I learned that there is nothing wrong with me for having had the career history that I had--it's typical for my personality type. Maybe you can take a Meyers-Briggs or get career counseling at your alma mater, too?


I also know that I was not exposed to a lot of professions when I was a child, so it's been a learning process to widen my horizons and learn what is out there. I think it's wonderful that you are enjoying your current job at the restaurant. Make a mental note of all the things that make you happy about the job. Each time you look for a new job, try to use your knowledge of what you have learned in the past about what makes you happy and try to find something that will make you happy again--while also looking for the opportunity to try something new so that you have the chance to grow over time.


I have learned that I am NOT motivated by money. I'm just not. I am motivated by doing good things in the world. I like working with nice people who share my values. I like helping people fulfill their potential. I work at a small non-profit and don't make very much money yet, but my husband supports the both of us financially. He has supported me since our engagement time, when I quit a stressful job in order to take a more peaceful one, at his urging. He is very proud of me for doing something good in the world and doing it well. He has faith in me that as I find something that I love, I will eventually be successful at it and the money will follow naturally. His family philosophy has always been to find what you love, and the money will follow. I wish you had that kind of emotional cheerleading and support from your boyfriend.


Have you considered volunteering? I learned a lot from volunteer work because I could try different things without stress or pressure--people were always grateful for my help and kind about offering their wisdom and encouragement. In fact, my last volunteer stint led to my boss recommending me for my current paid position at another non-profit. I am happy where I work because, in essense it was something I was willing to do even without getting paid, and now getting paid for it is just a bonus.


i like working in the non-profit world because people working in it are usually guided by a sense of mission and are actively trying to make the world a better place. Non-profits are businesses, too, in a sense and you might be able to use all your schooling --in psychology, in criminiology, in business, to help someone do something good in the world.


You might find that taking the focus off of what makes YOU happy and figuring out which of your talents can help OTHER people be happy is a route that makes sense for you. After all, what is motherhood but a selfless career that ultimately brings great joy to you, even though the joy itself is not what you chase after as a goal directly?


You sound like a kind, nurturing person. I'm sure you have a lot to give to the world, and that as you get good at all the ways in which you can give (intellectually, emotionally, whatever), you will feel rewarded and your self-esteem will rise.


My advice is, don't get too attached to the idea of marrying this particular boyfriend yet...it's not clear that he loves you unconditionally. Wait a while and see if you feel differently once you've been on your own more and know who you are more.

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