Part of the problem with you letter is the fact that you’re assuming that all those successful people that you referenced didn’t possibly go through the same things you and others our age (I’m 25 also, BTW) are going through (minus the student loans, MAYBE). A lot of them had to start from the bottom the same way we have to, and many had to and chose either to forgo “growing and exploring and taking risks,” as you put I, or did venture out and take risks but sucked it up and muscled through the struggle because they saw the bigger picture and believed the potential payoff was worth those sacrifices. And they’re called risks for a reason: you don’t know what’s going to happen, when or if it will happen, and how long it will take to happen. And you really didn’t even take a risk so much as just made a bad financial decision in moving to the Bay area with the intentions of attempting to survive on a minimum-wage income.
You also mentioned in your first letter that advancement at Yelp wasn’t possible until after a year of working there in an entry level position. But I ask you, what’s a year in the grand scheme of things? We’re 25! And they call it “entry level” for a reason. It’s where you ENTER to start off with the intentions of gradually moving up with time. Establishing a career is a process; it’s a marathon, not a sprint, and VERY few of us are going to get our dream job and salary straight out of school. And another problem with us Millennials (and, again, I’m including myself in this) is that we have been fed this notion since kindergarten that we can be whatever we want, do whatever we want, make as much money as we want, and go as far as we want to go, as long as we go to school and apply ourselves. But the harsh reality is that many of us (even those of us that DO have a clear-cut idea of exactly what we want to do career-wise) don’t get to live out that ideal, even if we’re willing to work at it and make the sacrifices. And my situation isn’t pretty either (I don’t even have time to get into the details), but what I’ve done — what I’ve had to come to terms with, and it is NOT an easy pill to swallow — is accept the cards I’ve been dealt, which means accept the fact that 1) I WON’T have the job of my dreams (not right now, and probably not in the long run either), 2) I WILL most likely be in debt the rest of my life (which means learning how to reel in spending, ASAP), and 3) I WON’T be able to “grow, explore and take risks” in many of the ways in which I’d always hoped and assumed I’d be able to, like travelling (I have a friend that has a solid, well-paying gig as an accountant, and she travels AT LEAST once a year; her last trip I believe was to Puerto Rico last year, and she’s already planning her trip later this year to the U.K.), living in certain “exciting,” metropolitan parts of the country, like L.A. or New York, attending concerts and sporting events (the day Beyonce dropped her surprise album back in October 2013, I literally found out by chance; my computer was in the shop, so I asked my dad if I could borrow his, and when I went to Yahoo to check my email, I was bombarded with articles about it. Not only did I not have the $15.99 to purchase the album like everybody else was doing, but to make matters worse, she was in the middle of touring and actually had a show in Chicago, where I live, that night and performed a couple of the new songs for the first time, which I obviously didn’t get to be a part of.), and just enjoy my youth and live an overall well-rounded, comfortable life. Or at least, I won’t be able to do any of these things any time soon, because I have to get established in my career and level myself financially. I know that sounds very pessimistic, but, again, for most of us, it’s the God-honest truth. What I personally hope for is that my trials and tribulations will benefit someone else in the future, like my kids; I’m hoping that because I’m trying my hardest to do what I HAVE to do and not what I WANT that it will, in fact, allow me to climb up the ladder enough in the long run to enable me to provide for my kids the opportunity I feel that I’ve been denied: the dream job (even though, again, they still are going to have to start from the bottom in their own respective careers). This is the way life is and always HAS been. Someone has to be the one to humble themselves so that the next person/generation can get that much further than they did.
If you really wanna have a career in media, then go ahead and continue to strive for that. But you can’t pass up on the jobs that will help you survive while you’re trying to find your footing because you’ll never find it like that. No matter what company you start with, there’s going to be an entry level, and there are going to be dues you have to pay and personal sacrifices you’ll have to make.