If you DON’T want to become part of a Lost Generation, and you’re feeling the pain from not finding a “real life” job right away, I know and sympathize with your pain. I graduated in the aftermath of the Great Recession when there weren’t many jobs to go around, exactly like now. It took me a while to get onto a sustainable career path, and I want to offer words of hope and action steps to help you get there too!
The time is now to command increases in our salaries and wages in exchange for the higher levels of productivity we are helping companies achieve. We work hard, play hard, and deserve more.
While you’re stuck at home, get to know yourself and your competitive advantages that make you stand out against the sea of candidates. Take a free online Holland Code (RIASEC) test to see what types of careers your personality fits with. The key is to stay open-minded to any and all opportunities that might come your way, and take a job you can live with for now just to make some money, build up your skills, and pay down student loans.
If you’re ever feeling hopeless and despondent, check out Angela Lee Duckworth’s TED Talk on GRIT, to snap out of any funk to face any challenging market environment. Then feel inspired to go nail a job interview and demonstrate how you will provide significant value to a company.
Millennials are like Hustle Generation 1.0 while Gen Zers, or recent grads, are like Hustle Generation 2.0. This predisposition has taught us to become creative and generate multiple income streams because we can’t always rely on a single income source, AKA a single job. Working opportunities have become a lot more fluid: Covid accelerated the trend to working from home or working from anywhere in the world, and many college graduates have had to settle for freelance or self-employed work.
I like to say: Always Be Optimizing, which means improving on our skill set so we evolve with new work demands in tech and other trends that may command better salaries. I share what the Class of 2010 and the Class of 2020 are up against in a financial and economic comparison chart, where we have much in common and yet stock markets lately would have you believe as if everything is fine. The roaring 20s are back!
The beautiful thing about being young and able to fight for what’s right is that we have a lot of years ahead of us and can gradually tear down inequalities in earning income and stagnating wage growth. Slowly but surely, Millennials and Gen Zers will become the future leaders and we can help motivate each other to overcome what’s stacked against us right now. It requires a lot of hard work, but it will be worth it when we end up in a stronger economic position and can finally thrive.
As a teenager, even though I didn’t know exactly what I was doing when it came to investing, I made sure to sign up to the stock investment program offered by one of my jobs and it’s one of the best investment decisions I could’ve made (I lucked out big time!). Other key things I prioritized even during the recession were paying down my student loans, contributing to retirement, and making sure I had health insurance coverage.
The stakes are only getting higher with justifying the intense debt that often comes with a college degree. So it’s important to develop both hard skills and soft skills to become successful in any career. I personally love self development and professional improvement books, I’m always trying to hone my bankable and employable skills so I can keep succeeding no matter if we’re in a recession or pandemic. And you can too!
Don’t underestimate the serendipity of networking as it can open the door to worlds you never thought previously open-able. Opportunities can always appear even if the road looks dark and winding right now. Keep the faith and I wish you well on your journey to success!
The journey towards FIRE (Financial Independence, Retire Early) is one filled with much gratitude, and I look forward to making more investor friends. Let’s follow each other on my Instagram @ https://www.instagram.com/michellemarki!