The different faces of existential crisis

Me: 29 years old, male who always thought there was no better job than that of a journalist. Went to the best schools and landed a job soon after passing out. Work seemed like a dream at first. A few years after it became a drag. Cannot imagine leaving but the mind has given up.Work has become an obligation but need the money. Life has no joy. Have gradually become a recluse. Contemplating many things but can’t figure what is right.

My roommate: At 19 years, joined a hotel management course just to get to a big city. After passing out worked in a big hotel for a few months. Quit. Joined a Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) job for another few months. Thought a B-school would be give a boost for career prospects. Spent two years. Joined an ad company. Got into a tiff with senior and quit. Thought joining a journalism course would do good, since ‘he always read newspapers from cover to cover’ and was interested in news. Worked for a year during which he regretted not ever giving an elite prestigious government exam, a shot. Fascinated with people who cracked it. Quit everything to pursue the elite exam. Now at 34 years has one shot at the exam.

My senior colleague: 45 years, male. Stuck in his job for 8 years. His best days are past him. Was the star performer once upon a time in another organisation. Now no one notices his presence. At the job for the comfort and low pressure requirements. Is an artist. Gets sudden bouts of regret on not following his passion. Sees his contemporaries and thinks they are better placed with higher designations and pay. He has not got a raise or rank in the 8 years since he joined. Has negative thoughts of spending the rest of his life at the job.

Another senior colleague: 44, male. Worked for a full 20 years in the same field. Achieved pats and recognition from bosses. After 20 years burnt out. Did not see the point to carry on. Left for a quiet desk job but contemplating other moves.

My colleague: 28, female. Quit her job recently because of tyrannical boss. Got depressed at just the thought of going to work before quitting. Now contemplating doing independent work but worried about the future.