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College Grads

Millennial Job Market - 5 Reasons You’re Completely Sucking At It

by Carter Wu 2 years ago in career

Being a Creative Millenial

Millennial Job Market - 5 Reasons You’re Completely Sucking At It

1. Sucky Job Market

Most of my 20-something and 30-something-year-old artsy fartsy friends (and myself included) have notoriously been stuck in the same, lowdown-dirty-shame situation for some period of years. The 9-5 hustle-bustle. That is, until we're somehow able to "break free" Ariana Grande-style, and say "goodbye" to the 9-5's and "hello" to hopefully anything else. And I do mean mostly ANYthing. There's a few reasons why this issue has been a one-way ticket to struggleville for this generation.

Unfortunately, many of us went to school with high hopes of successfully migrating into the real world—and this, after four years of arduous work at a University or two years at a mediocre community college for a creative degree, where mom and dad could comfortably helicopter-parent us to a fiery, WWE choke-hold-like, Christian-summer-camp-similar death. All that, only to find out that the jobs we could seriously qualify for were ones that were already taken by those that were fortunate and unfortunate enough to precede us.

The skills we amassed while in our utopic collegic land were nothing short of $100,000+ worth of mostly-empty promises of an okay to moderately-okay 3 person, 1 Bedroom, 1Bath, 1 disreputable landlord kind of life. The inevitable is that most of us would end up on our parent's couches or some fratty parallel version of that, directly after graduation; maybe slumming it for six months to a year, and sending out literally (I know) hundreds of jobs applications and resumes to places where we don't even know what we'd actually be doing, but we do it anyway. Then once we get that prized internship or coveted entry-level position where there are "opportunities to grow with an upbeat, budding company," you realize the fullest extent of your dead-end situation. You continuously push toward management opportunities and you're fought with, "Yeah, don't expect to really 'grow' here. This isn't that kind of place." I was literally told that once at a job a few years ago—how reassuring! And this is after you've sweated out half of your 2010's business person, "I'm a go-getter" haircut, and invested several months of no-sleep, early days, late days, weekends, and little-to-no social life into a job where you will never be anything more than the youngling that should be "thankful to have a job." Sounds oddly familiar to that four years and $100,000+, right?! In no way would I expect to plunge into the CEO's chair and expect to run the company. Duh. However, I take issue with the fact that once you're in, you're just in. And there's basically no chance to move up and better yourself in hopes of being financially okay one day.

2. Short Attention Sp- Ooh, a Butterfly!

Our attention spans are much shorter these days, and therefore dead-end jobs lack the ability to even remotely stimulate us. We end up becoming robots in the same system we've been trying to win over for years. Several years ago, very quickly after starting a soul-sucking job in customer service (I know, we've ALL been there), I realized the fullest extent of the suckage that is what we call our current job market. But not to be a completely entitled millennial, there were perks. It was cushy. There was a nice 9 AM-10 AM window for arrival-time in the mornings. There was a fully stocked kitchen, with TONS of snacks, juices, breads, candies—you name it, it was there. And if it wasn't there, don't fret. It would be budgeted into the list of kitchen snacks for the next month. I love apple juice! Yeee!

Yes, it was nice. Really nice. But the truth was, none of that cushy, snacky, juicy beautifulness overshadowed the fact that I was still working a dead-end, not-movin-up-to-the-east-side kinda job. Daily, I'd come in, chat over coffee for maybe ten minutes while I wipe the sleep out of my eyes, then plop myself onto the same office chair where I did the same old tired a** thing. Every. Day. All. Day.—Talk to disgruntled customers, and manage to make them even more disgruntled by the end of our transaction. There's no denying the fact that this job required little-to-no brain power or a creative bone in one's body, and boy did I lose sleep when I seriously became aware of my empty reality.

3. Rock-a-Bye Bae-Bae

Here's my truth. Baby Boomers and Generation Y say that as millennials, we're entitled. While that can be debated, many of them fail to note the fact that many of us millennials were coddled by parents, and given a false sense of reality by the educational system, in hopes that it would in fact become our reality. We were told that we'd have a fighting chance in this wishy/washy economy and flighty job market. However, they were only partially correct in that notion. I'm speaking specifically to the creatives. Creatives in this day and age have more than ever much more and much less of a chance to be successful in a field centered around creativity. Our school system didn't do the best with letting us know all this. Let me explain.

4. Oversaturation - Eek!

Honestly, there's an abundance of "creatives" out there, and the job-market has simply become over-saturated where creatives were thought to have previously been able to flourish. Not to deny the fact that previous generations had their own list of struggles, but an oversaturated market tended to not be one of them. Social media has become our best friend and also the bane of a 21st century creative's existence. Feel free to jump on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, or any other social media outlet of your choice. You'll find the singer, the writer, the MUA (Make-Up Artist), the hairstylist, or some other type of "guru" that has managed to pop open a YouTube channel in five minutes, garner "followers" with a less-awesome version of what once was greatness. Taking the internets by storm! Nuuuuuuuuuuuu!

We're forced to compete with an entirely new, very complex market, one where someone can technically be less-skilled. However, just their presence can taint and oversaturate the creative market for the remaining people on the same plane, thus making it extremely difficult to nearly impossible to be recognized for creative talents, and therefore making an attempt to make money and become successful in our respective fields more of a foolish ambition, rather than an embodiment of a dream.

5. Liar, Liar, Pants Are Gently Smoldering

To put it bluntly, we were told that we were special. EVERYONE LIED. They lied terribly—in jest. The truth is, is everyone different? Yes. But a better question to ask is, "How different are you from the remaining billions of people that currently inhabit the Earth? Not to mention the estimated 108 billion people that have ever lived (that we know of). Each with their own set of skills, abilities, and talents." The answer to the latter question becomes much more complex.

Regarding physical appearance, most of us have similar features. Ten fingers, ten toes. All the parts of the "Heads, Shoulders, Knees, and Toes" song, etc., not to discredit anyone that does not fall comfortably into those bounds.

As a species, we are sentient and emotionally complex. Maybe regrettably, we have more in common with our fellow brother or sister human than not. We get mad when someone pushes us down. We get sad when someone we love dies. We get happy when we see a person we care about. We get annoyed when we see a person we're not such huge fans of. Looking at you, Becca.

All in all, we have lots of differences, but way more similarities. General abilities to do a widespread amount of things, fairly well. See the problem here? We end up being very similar, and therefore diminishing the rumors of uniqueness we've been fed all these years. This notion so carefully bleeds into our creativity and our ideas of such. Yes, you can sing, but do you sing well? Or better yet, do you sing better than a large percentage of people? And who is the audience? Are they qualified to deem such? Do I believe art is mostly subjective? Yes. However, there are some basic principles that can also be used to state that scientifically, a person's artistic abilities will be more favored by a larger number of peers than maybe another. This idea is not concrete, however, and there are some exceptions that simply do not fit the mold.

In any case, we all assume we're this special, amazing, extraordinary, larger-than-life human being that the world is simply waiting to experience. And in this day and age, because of the interwebz, everyone can show everyone else just how "special" they think they are all the time. In reality, statistically you are most likely more average, normal, boring, and not really larger-than-life than you think. But you most definitely are special to a few people on this Earth, and that's important. Seriously, all sarcasm aside, you are important to someone. Just maybe not the entire world though.

So, this is root of my exhaustion, having spent the last five to eight years after high school trying to become a successful creative in the job market I was introduced into as a budding 20-something. *Throws temper-tantrum because frustration.*

Realizing only now, those dreams of being a truly successful creative are still very valid. However, there is much we haven't learned. Only on this journey am I figuring out all the quirks of trying to become a successful creative in the business world. But that's just life for anyone trying to do something, or be someone larger than life I guess, right?

Despite everything, go for your dreams and strive to actually BE one of those larger-than-life creative people. It doesn't hurt to try. I look to my spirit animal, Tina Fey, for inspiration on melancholic days like these—she, and also several pounds of processed meats and cheeses and refined sugars that reside within arm's reach of wherever I am stationed in my apartment.

On a positive note, as a creative millennial group, we are, first and foremost, dreamers. I love that about us. Preceding generations will probably continue to call us crazy, naive, entitled, pretentious, and a whole laundry-list of other negatively descriptive adjectives. But, with the same breath, we are us. And we will always be us. There's room out there for us in the deep vacuums of the job-market. I guess it's time we all become CEOs and start creating the jobs where we see deficits. Hmmm... Signs off.

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