After graduating from college I have felt the stereotypes of a millennial follow me around. I am too lazy, I don’t understand anything, I am too unqualified. Every day I feel that even by following a passion and having an iron will I should be fine. Only, I have found that the things that held me up were actually breaking me down. Every day I feel the burden of not having the right education, of not having the right skin color, and most of the time, of not having the right gender. A lot of the time in jobs I have felt that I was either the token girl or token diversity person because of that I haven’t felt that I have gotten the same training or options that others around me have.
It’s hard telling yourself that you’re doing fine and you made the best choice for yourself when you see people from your hometown buying houses and starting families and wonder – is this really what you wanted? Should I have not followed my dreams and done what everyone expected of me? Were my big dreams too much for my little personality?
The first job I took was just “a job to give me the skills to get where I wanted to go.” I was always told by my older cousins that the first job doesn’t matter and that as long as you have transferable skills it should be easier to get the second job. Well, that didn’t actually work. The second job was harder to get than the first job and it paid less than the first job but it was a sacrifice I felt I needed to make in order to get the career that I thought I wanted. Was I afforded the opportunity to stop and think about what I actually wanted? Yes. But would it have changed my decision? No.
The third job paid more than the second job and worse than the first. At this point I had to wonder – was I doing this for pay or for a lifestyle I wanted or for a job that would make me happy? Honestly, I don’t even know. Going through a year of making minimum wage for a job that didn’t value me and could cut me loose just because California allows you to be fired without a real reason makes you reevaluate how you have been living your life. Was this all worth it? Was this career that I wanted more than anything worth it? What was my life really worth?
As it turned out that finding the next job is even harder and that finding a job, even when you have all of the experience and all of the education asked for, is close to impossible. You see what I have learned is that having at all is impossible in your 20s. Having a job that you like as a bare minimum and pays you well is a luxury that few have. Should it be that way?
According to the job satisfaction report, put out by the Conference Board, the majority of Americans were most satisfied with their jobs in 1987 and then after that 1995. Job satisfaction has been at a decline since then, slowly rising about .4% every couple of years. This report takes into account pay, environment, the ability to take a vacation, and happiness of work.
If happiness is declining, can we blame Millennials for just wanting more? Can we call them lazy? Can we call them incompetent? Can we call them unqualified? The answer is no. Those who were given with both hands can’t be using those same hands to point a finger at those who are scraping by for something. The job market in 1987 was incredibly different from the job market we are facing today. The price of college was lower, the fact that college basically got you into a job was a given, and the dollar stretched further. Somewhere along the way, the entire market was shifted by people who were afraid of being shifted out by that same market.
As I continue to look for my next gig I have to wonder – what is in store for my future? How can I invest in myself so that I can get somewhere towards that “American dream” that I always wanted?