This is a resume of a person: Wrote for Hindi commercial soaps, marketed a music label, worked for a technology firm, started a band. His name is Keith Menon, who started a AWOL ( away without leave) program. One can join this program, move from one place to another at a modest budget, and then write their experiences on web.
I have met some individuals, between the age of 28-32 who face a different version of this confusion. Some of them want to work for NGO, some want to change jobs because they get bored, while some others want to find 'meaning' in life.
In my career research, i have found that this is a genuine need felt by all of us. Our great grandfathers ( who were born in 1940s/ 50's) never had to deal with it because they continued to fight for survival ( cloth, shelter and decent living for their children) till the age of early 50's. My father could built his house only after he retired. And because they continued to struggle late in life, finding some other 'objective' in life was too late for them.
Individuals born later in the decade of 1970's were not so lucky. They got their minimum sustenance till the age of mid 30's of their life. They therefore faced the question of 'what next?' in their life far earlier and were forced to answer them. We called it mid-life crisis. Today's generation faces this question even earlier, because they do not have to struggle to meet their sustenance. Their fathers are working in good companies, have a decent shelter in a big town, and also have experienced car and other small luxuries of life.
For them the question of 'what next' is real and is faced with full impact. As their full life is ahead of them, they are forced to resolve this problem. In my career, i have met individuals for whom this question has different connotations. For some it is question of finding their calling, a profession which will help them express themselves completely. For some, it is a question of finding meaningful existence in life ( I do not want to work 9 to 5 and die one day...). For some others, it is a question of identity ' who am i and what do i want in life'?. All of them have one feature in common: all are striving towards self actualisation.
As i have observed in my coaching experience, this drive of self actualisation is not always rooted in real-life issues. Sometimes it is rooted in ignorance of 'what is career'. Sometimes , it is a result of absence of dense engagement in life that causes lack of any values. Sometimes, it is routed in 'identity'. Sometimes it is due to inability of meeting self-expectations that are unrealistic. In other words, the mid-life crisis or quarter life crisis is not always rooted in real-life issues.