It is no secret that millennials are facing more debt and financial problems than any generation before. I was actually going to link to a few other pages that illustrate that point but there were 1.4 million results for my Google search and I didn’t know how to narrow it down so I’ll leave it to you if you feel some research is in order. When I look around at my fellow millennials I see hard working, dedicated, people who are drowning in seas of debt, mental illness, societal expectations, and fear. We got a raw deal, born at a bad time. It happens. “You’ve just got to work hard and pull yourself up by your bootstraps!” Oh really, thank you for that sage advice from someone who could pay off 80% of their college costs with a few years of a summer job.
Money is holding back a huge portion of this generation. More millennials are living with their parents longer. Why? Some would say they’re just being lazy. Why don’t they find a job? Oh, I don’t know, maybe if there were jobs out there that paid enough to live off then they could get one? I think it’s hard for some to imagine life stuck in one place because they’ve never really been there. Like here I am trying to get out of debt. I’m trying to do the right thing. I don’t want to live with these loans hanging over my head when my future is going to inevitably hold more (for a house, possibly a car, etc). So I’m staying at my parents’ home, working and paying my loans and putting more on the principal when I can. And I’m stuck. I can’t afford to leave.
Here’s something else though, that can be easily overshadowed by the huge money problems. Millennials are disillusioned and unhappy. We work minimum wage jobs to live under the poverty line, frozen by mountains of debt. We start feeling apathetic. Debt is pretty much inevitable. We’re always going to be poor. We’re going to be stuck in our parents’ homes forever. We want to move on. We want to do good things. But so much evil exists in this world that it seems insurmountable. How can we do anything for others when we can barely take care of ourselves? We’ll never be happy. We’ll never fulfill our reasonable dreams of doing work that we don’t despise, helping other people and the environment, and being able to afford to eat out at a nice restaurant maybe once a month without having to eat nothing but ramen for the next two weeks.
That’s partly why I actually quit my second job this week. I let them know a couple weeks ago that I didn’t want to continue past today. There were a lot of little reasons I can justify quitting it: the pay isn’t good, I got less than 6 hours a week, scheduling conflicts abounded, etc. Whatever. Those are all parts of why I left but I think the biggest reason is that I hated that job. It wasn’t bad work and I liked most all of my coworkers. I think most people will understand having a job where you just feel completely drained. Where every single shift you just stand there and think “what am I doing with my life?” and “I can’t believe I work here.” An hour into a six hour shift thinking all you want to do is lay down and die is not how I want to spend my life.
I’m fortunate to be able to quit. I know there are many who NEED two jobs just to put food on the table. It’s a luxury for me to not have to keep a job I hate. My parents are okay with me quitting but I think they’re also disappointed.
Here’s the thing: I’m sick of being told it’s normal to be broke with a miserable job in your twenties while simultaneously being told you should do what makes you happy because you’re young and should experience life.
So I quit the job. I may or may not look for a different second job. I might just take this opportunity to go as hard as I can on getting a book done (I feel like I’m always saying that and somehow it still doesn’t get done!). Maybe I’ll find something online to supplement my income.
You don’t have to be miserable to work. If you need that income, do what you can to find something else so you can quit. Just because you’re miserable in one minimum wage job doesn’t mean you’ll be miserable in all of them. I know people who are happy working where I quit and that’s great for them but not for me. You’re the only one who has to live your life. Just because you’re young doesn’t mean you have to live it miserably.