Families, bosses can help lessen anxieties faced by young adults

It was reported that four in five young professionals in Singapore have experienced a "quarter-life crisis" (4 in 5 young adults experience quarter-life crisis, says study; May 17).

The transition from school to the workforce presents many challenges. Young working adults find themselves having to handle issues such as a steep learning curve, new relationships and living expenses.

As work becomes a priority for many, social activities like spending time with family and friends will take a back seat.

It will help greatly if family and friends could be more understanding, and accept seeing less of their loved ones or friends as their work demands increase, and not assume that their relationships have deteriorated.

People must also be sensitive in their daily conversations, so that they do not exacerbate a person's insecurities.

For example, the common question "What do you do for a living?" may seem harmless, but may be stressful to someone who is unemployed and suffers from low self-esteem.

Employers can also play a part in addressing the anxieties that young adults face.

Many young employees get disillusioned when, for example, bosses cite "changing workplace needs" and move them into roles that are completely different from the descriptions listed in their job offers.

Employers will need to work towards inculcating a culture of trust and honour in the workplace, and employees should be empowered by unions to protect themselves from workplace exploitation.

Young people should also be trained to identify potential red flags of exploitation.

For example, they should know that receiving an "unsatisfactory performance" feedback without being given any reasonis not sufficient grounds for an extension of their probation. If cases like this happen, it is likely that the worker will resign and take on another job.

If family and friends exercise sensitivity in their conversations, employers cultivate a culture of honour at the workplace, and unions and government agencies work closely with employers and employees to maximise the job-employee fit, I am sure young working adults will be less affected by insecurities and will find fulfilment in their careers.

Woo Jia Qian (Miss)

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 21, 2018, with the headline 'Families, bosses can help lessen anxieties faced by young adults'. Print Edition | Subscribe