As a 20-something, you might not be working your ideal job. Maybe you aren't making as much as you envisioned when you were in college. You're probably renting an apartment when you'd like to own a home, have six digits in student loan debt and little in savings. Or maybe you're just worried because you haven't met The One.
We keep reading and hearing about The Plight of the Millennial; it seems young professionals everywhere are struggling with the economy, lack of job prospects and high student loan balances. And that gap between what we envisioned and our reality creates anxiety.
Yet Millennials have a LOT to celebrate in this economy. Here are a few common complaints and how to look at the bright side:
Complaint No. 1: Your dream job isn't within reach
Had a slow start to your career? Can't find the dream job you were promised? You may not be developing your career as quickly as you would like, but not getting an offer yet means you have time to explore your options and better define your career path.
When things move slowly, you have time to analyze, respond and redevelop your goals. You have time to find your calling. And, for some perspective, being unemployed at 25 can actually be more appealing than being unemployed at 52. It's easier to be nimble when you're starting out, rather than suffering the loss of a job you've had for 30 years.
Complaint No. 2: Your student loans are massive
You may have student loans, but do you know what else that means you have? A college education. It's one thing our parents' generation largely didn't have, and it's one thing they made sure we did.
Neither of my parents got to go to college, and though they couldn't afford to foot the bill, they did sign their name to the loans that afforded me my education -- and for that, I am grateful. You should be, too!
Complaint No. 3: Your savings account is nil
Don't have any savings? Countless baby boomers don't, either, now that they've lost a lifetime's worth of 401(k) accounts. And they don't have another lifetime to start from scratch and rebuild. We do. We have our whole lives to save -- assuming we start now.
Complaint No. 4: You can't afford to own a house
Don't own a home? Have you seen what happened to homeowners everywhere over the last few years?
Not having a mortgage right now means you won't go through a foreclosure. Homes aren't the best performing asset right now. Buy some stocks instead. It's what you're supposed to do in a down market. (Did you sleep through Econ I?)
Complaint No. 5: You're still single
Not married? At least you're not part of the 40 percent of people who are divorced in our age group. Don't be in such a hurry to get married; you'll be a lot more likely to find your partner when you ease up a little and relinquish some of the anxiety around finding The One. It's okay to be not married at 29.
Complaint No. 6: You live with your parents
We're called the Boomerang Generation for a reason; lots of us are still living with the 'rents. And while moving out is a good goal, saving some serious cash on rent can work to your advantage in the long run. Just make sure you don't kick back long enough that you wake up in your childhood bedroom at 37.
I deeply believe in our generation. But we need to get our act together. Being a Millennial in this economy is anything but a misfortune, and we should stop treating it as such. In fact, you could argue that this is the greatest time in history to be between the ages of 20 and 30. We have opportunities available to us that generations before only dreamed of -- we just need to recognize and leverage them.
Krista Goral is an IT consultant by day and doubles down as a writer, blogger, philosopher/doer by night. She explores the everyday human experience on her two blogs, Response Crafting and Moments in Notes. Brazen Life is a lifestyle and career blog for ambitious young professionals. Hosted by Brazen Careerist, we offer edgy and fun ideas for navigating the changing world of work -- this isn't your parents' career-advice blog. Be Brazen.
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