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FRANK x SHENTONISTA: Quarter-life Confidence — Greater Heights
Often, the hardest thing for young professionals is not fretting over their future or their past—but being certain about their present. The awareness that the decisions we make in our present build our future can be stressful, but to Lisa, the biggest challenge has been to be sure of herself and her own capacity. In this #FRANKxShentonista feature, Lisa shares with us how having faith in herself and making a risky career switch has allowed her to carve her own definition of success.
Shentonista (S): 8 in 10 young Singaporeans are said to have quarter-life crises—why do you think that is the case?
Lisa (L): I think it’s quite easy for people today to get stuck in the rut of quarter-life crisis, because it all revolves around this terrible notion of success that society has made up. When you go on LinkedIn, everyone is honoured and humbled to have been featured on somewhere, and it makes you think you haven’t made it in life if you aren’t published in the papers or a part of a forum or haven’t made your own start-up.
S: Have you personally faced a quarter-life crisis?
L: I think it was not so much a crisis, but feeling the sense that I was still young enough and had the energy to do something that was different, and really challenge myself. Which is why I ended up changing careers—I realised that if I didn’t take that risk, it’d be much harder for me to progress in life. I knew that if I didn’t do the switch at that point in my life, I would be standing here right now and wondering what if I hadn’t taken that step.
S: Do you have any regrets about the decisions you’ve made in the past?
L: No, absolutely nothing. I wouldn’t say I have great worries about my future either; nothing that’s above the usual, at least. I worry about doing well at my job and being able to pay off my bills, but everyone shares that worry.
S: Were there any goals you had hoped to achieve before the age of 30?
L: I wanted to achieve a certain level of financial stability, buy a house, and be doing things that might prove to be a little more challenging to do later in life. I actually managed to tick all of that off—I went to the Everest Base Camp last year, I’ve done a fair share of diving and climbing mountains, and my husband and I managed to secure our own place, even if we’re still paying the loans for it. I’m mostly there, so that feels quite good.
S: Since you’ve managed to accomplish quite a lot of what’s on your bucket list, is there anything new you’re hoping to achieve this year?
L: I would say that for this year, I’m hoping to achieve more stability in my career. I just recently changed roles and I’m hoping to establish myself more.
S: What does quarter-life confidence mean to you?
L: I think it means that knowing where you are right now is where you’re supposed to be—regardless of the place you’re at. That’s going to look different for everyone, and that’s okay, because everyone has different life journeys. But I think it’s important for people to tell themselves that that’s where you’re meant to be.
S: At this stage in your life, a sizeable portion of your earnings go into loans and bills—tell us more about how you save.
L: I think my husband and I make an effort to spend within our means: that could mean anything from not going on massive shopping sprees or cutting down on holidays and making sure they aren’t too extravagant. We make sure that the bank account balance always looks healthy—we don’t really use any apps to ensure that, we just mentally do a quick check to make sure we’re in the green.
S: What would you say has been your biggest accomplishment so far?
L: I think it’s stepping out of an area of work that felt like my comfort zone and pushing myself further. Navigating that career move, where I left something more familiar, and taking on something that was completely new was not an easy switch; but taking that risk and seeing it pay off has been very satisfying.
S: What’s something you seek from life on a daily basis?
L: Being challenged, in the right way. At this stage in my life, personal growth is very important and to me, every day, week, and month that passes should lead me to constantly expand my personal capacity, experience, and knowledge. I measure it by looking back at where I was six months ago. We do a mid-year check-in at work and I try to look back personally as well, to see if I’m making the type of progress I had hoped to make.
S: If you could give one advice to someone struggling in their quarter-life, what would it be?
L: I think you should be brave, and you should be willing to take risks on yourself. We all have the capacity to do more and to achieve more than what we think we are capable of. Our capacity is bigger than what we believe. That’s something I said to myself before throwing away what others thought was a stable degree and job, and I’ve not regretted the change I’ve made in my life.