But for 23-year-old Lethabo Malepa it was much more stressful than she anticipated which ultimately led her deep depression.

This is her story.

“I had read several times that the first job out of university is not particularly amazing but I didn’t think my first job would lead me to have burn out at the age of 23.

I started my first job in January 2018, just one month after I had completed my honours. The purpose of the internship was to provide assistance with a backlog that the company was facing and we were told that interning at the company could possibly result in permanent employment position. Less than two months after starting my internship, I was offered a job, and although it was on a temporary contract, it was a job.

With the high youth unemployment rate I was one of the lucky ones to have landed a job relatively quickly and I was on my way to being financially independent – I was excited.

The stars in my eyes quickly faded within a month. I remember at some point sitting at my desk looking at my computer, trying my hardest to comprehend whether ‘this is it’. Although my job did have interesting aspects to it and every once in a while we’d conduct research on a variety of interesting topics there was a catch – my job title camouflaged the job to look like an industry specific job. But really all it entailed was data capturing and this was not what I expected to be doing with my life.

Thoughts like ‘is the job I’m doing worth the four years of University I had invested in’ as well as ‘Is this job worth my capabilities?’ crossed my mind. I would ask myself whether this job was going to be how I spend my life.

I wondered whether working a boring, unchallenging and educationally stagnating job as well as interacting with difficult colleagues, who also felt that they were working a boring and unsatisfying job and sent one another memes and Facebook videos to help one another get through the day, was how I was going to spend my life? 

These thoughts were furthered by the fact that my company did not have much opportunities for growth and the likelihood of staying in one position for many years was disheartening. 

I found myself having a quarter life crisis at the age of 23.


A quarter life crisis is defined in the Forbes article by Jules Schoerder, Millennials, this is what your quarter life crisis is telling you as, soul searching and stress that takes place in the mid-20s and early 30s as a result on feeling that one is not living according to their potential or is falling behind.

In my case, I did indeed feel like I was not living my potential but not that I was falling behind.

I did however feel that my life was beginning to look anti-climactic and I wondered if I had peaked at university just as my former high school English teacher has said most people do, only to dip in the professional world. I was not happy with my life and I wanted more for myself.

I was blessed enough to obtain an opportunity to further my studies and after a year of employment, I have since returned to university as a full time student. If there is one amazing thing that came out of my previous job, it’s that I am even more ambitious now, it made me realise how capable I am.  My entry level job also showed me the importance of striving to live a life where self-contentment should be one’s priority at all times.”

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