Like others my age, I worry about getting a job. This phenomenon of young adults going through their own mid-mid life crisis has been noticed and exploited for comedic value (see HBO’s Girls, anything that makes fun of hipsters, etc.). I think lots of people think the lives of Gen-Yers consist of wandering around Brooklyn, drinking local beer and wearing flannel. They’re starving artists with Macbook Pros which mom and dad bought for them back when they attended some liberal arts school in the Mid-West. While there might be some truth to this (it just happens, I swear), some people sincerely can’t find a job, and the situation is nerve-wracking at best, terrifying at worst.
So instead of giving you some advice about getting a job so that you can leave your parents, I’m going to give you some advice for getting through this hurdle in life. However, I hope this also helps those going through a midlife crisis. We Gen-Yers really do share more in common with older folk than many people think. We’re all freaking out at the same time about paying the bills, right?
1. Do what you want to do.
If you don’t, you’ll be miserable, and you’ll probably suck at the job that you do have. That being said, don’t walk away from a chance at another career that you think might work for you. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again; those that seem lucky are just those that take advantage of opportunities when they see them.
For the writers, painters, musicians, whatever – if you can’t make any money in the beginning, take up a part-time job. I know you don’t want to do that. I certainly don’t. I hated working at a cafe, and I really don’t feel like doing it again, but if I have to take a part-time job at Starbucks so I can pay my rent in some hipster alcove, so be it. I heard they have health insurance!
2. Talk to someone.
About whatever is worrying you… Need help getting a job? Talk to someone. Feeling overwhelmed? Talk to someone. Just want to play Mario Kart in your friend’s dank room and forget about your troubles for a while? Talk to someone. I’m not just talking about reaching out to people for favors. Hanging out with your friends or family when you’re feeling low will boost your spirits and motivate you to keep grasping for legitimate adulthood (as in, not living with your parents).
3. Think like a dog.
I once had a professor (at a liberal arts school in the Mid-West) that told me his secret for getting over hurdles in his life was to think about what his dog would do.
A while back, the dog missed a step on a flight of stairs and rolled down. My professor and his wife thought she was seriously injured, but the dog just got up, shook herself and walked off. She was always happy because she wouldn’t dwell on stuff. So be like the dog. If you’re stressing out about your career, just remember that it isn’t the end-all and that you’ll eventually be okay again. You won’t get anything done if you succumb to your fears.
4. Don’t make a 5 year plan.
You’ll be much happier. Why? Because if you had a five year plan and then started feeling that you should be doing something else, there’s a good chance that you’ll feel like a failure. If you allow yourself flexibility, you’ll be much more open to whatever else can make you happy. I had a 5 year plan for almost every 5 years of my life. That’s not an exaggeration. When I was 3 years old, I made it my goal in life to attend Harvard so I could be pre-med and become a dentist. By high school, I had no interest in Harvard, dentistry, or Barney for that matter. Considering I’ve never been that great at anything scientific, it’s a good thing I gave up the dentist dream early.
It’s good to have some kind of idea of what you want to do, but don’t take it too seriously.