I’m a 31 year old college graduate living in New York City and I am tired. I am tired of chasing this illusive dream of being a thriving creative professional. I am tired of breaking my brain writing impeccable cover letters and repetitiously reformatting my resume to stand out from the pack. Applying for work that ends up in the abyss of a hiring manager’s inbox.
A hiring manager who doesn’t seem to understand the concept of a transferable skill set. No I have never worked at a museum, yes I know how to think critically, create innovative concepts, and coordinate projects from inception to completion. No, I do not need a masters degree to be organized and efficient. What’s needed is someone who has the incredible ability to fio — figure it out. But that doesn’t matter because that job is going to the junior account executive on the 3rd floor’s sister anyway. I. Am. Tired.
I was sold the dream that having a college degree was going to improve my life. And while I think a college education is very important that degree has not created the life defining effect I was told it would have. I am tired of being sold this dream that if I am creative and innovative enough my work will get noticed. The truth is the work arena is not solely a meritocracy, it is very nepotistic and relational. It is about who you know. What you know, seems to be like that fine print on the contract that no one pays attention to.
This is not a rant, this is a sobering reality check about the devolving state of American employment. This is about qualified people being locked out of work places because they don’t have the right network. This is about companies unwillingness to seriously diversify their applicant pool. Mostly this is about a considerable portion of the young American workforce being underemployed. Imagine the tons of potential being under utilized because industries have such narrow purviews on their prototype prospect. Why are assistant positions requiring a master’s degree? Why are job ads with a gargantuan list of “Responsibilities” offering a measly $30,000? In large American cities $18,000 of the $30,000 covers only rent — all before taxes.
How does the core population of my generation (millennials) make a life for themselves, maximize on their potential and skills, and progress forward with such a lackluster employment landscape?
Yes, yes, I know that I can create my own lane, I know I have something valuable to offer the world, that the world is my oyster. I’m into all of that but I don’t live in a vacuum. There needs to be viable work opportunities available to take advantage of. Also, “creating your own lane” looks a lil different with rent and school loans to pay off. It looks much different without the safety net of a trust fund or a plethora of generational resources.
I need someone, anyone to make America great. ‘Great’ being defined as a people having quality jobs that utilize their skill set and pay them their actual worth.