Being a young person today is hard work. Apart from the pressures of keeping our multiple Insta feeds sleek and tidy, we also have to deal with the guilt of living off our parent’s hard-earned money while trying keep it together when we’re told not to be too picky in finding a job. Sigh, it seems that young people are more stressed than ever today. #firstworldproblems
With everyone trying their best to figure us out, I might as well wade in on this never-ending millennial conversation. Plus, who doesn’t love a listicle read?
So, here’s the lowdown on what goes through the mind of the average job-seeking millennial.
We’re figuring it out, give us a break
Like everybody’s favourite mermaid, we will eventually be part of your world.
However, finding a job was a lot harder than studying for my ‘O’ levels or trying to manage the awkward teenage years. Can you blame us for being indecisive jobseekers when all our lives, we were told to work hard for good grades that would get us good jobs?
Now that we find ourselves standing at that crossroad, the tune has changed and we’re being told not to be too picky and be more flexible in our expectations instead.
Of course, graduates are well aware that the working world entails new challenges, and we should be prepared for a lifestyle that differs vastly from student life. However, it being a completely new season in our lives, the apprehension and second thoughts we have when making the first big step can be quite daunting. It’s pretty much a life’s decision not unlike deciding whether we (eventually) want to get a house or a baby first.
Most of us are not exactly going to jump at a job if we’re unsure of what lies ahead in the future. Yes, there are countless people who have made mid-career switches but nobody wants to mess up their first job.
With all the spoonfeeding this strawberry generation has received throughout our lives, let us figure it out on our own this time maybe?
Even Ariel took a long time to get up on her, whad’ya call ‘em, feet.
We’re not sticking to the status quo
We hear a lot of well-meaning advice espousing the importance of being adaptable. When you’ve yet to score an interview despite sending out your CV to a host of companies, it may be tempting to just settle for a job you’re not that interested in for the paycheck. After all, everybody needs to start somewhere and contribute to our families.
But us millennials crave adventure and don’t like conforming to the status quo. The usual conventional values of finding a job solely for the sake of employment and stability are changing.
Take Ni’mah bte Mohamed Nasir for an example. The 23-year-old life sciences graduate had initially planned to teach. However, there was a part of her that had always dreamed of starting her own business.
Like any concerned parent, her folks were less than thrilled and would have preferred her to find a more stable job in the government sector. Yet today, Ni’mah successfully runs her online business and has done well enough to even take her family on a holiday.
We do have a lot of proving to do, especially so to our parents.
But in words perhaps immortalised by Coldplay – if you never try, you’ll never know. The entrepreneurial spirit has even been lauded by Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong in his National Day Rally Speech this year, when he noted that Singapore benefits not just from these businesses, but also from the values of resourcefulness and optimism reinforced to our society.
So kudos to Ni’mah’s fighting spirit.
We genuinely want to make a difference
The cynics may sniff at our rose-tinted glasses, but many millennials want to make a difference in the jobs we do, and it’s not just blind optimism. A survey conducted by the UK’s National Careers Services found that 70% of young people want to find a career where they can change the world for the better.
Closer to home, 23-year-old sociology graduate Adeline Lee took a long time to land herself a job. Like many graduates who didn’t study law or medicine, she wasn’t sure what she wanted to do and hesitated on that first step.
In her one year of being unemployed, she used her free time to volunteer regularly at a non-profit organization. The satisfaction she gained from planning impactful events for youths eventually gave her the assurance to convert into a full-timer.
Like Adeline, many other graduates feel the need to impact businesses in our own ways too. We are tech kids. We grew up with the world at our fingertips. We’ve seen how technology can empower us and make our lives better, and the possibilities make us yearn for the day we can make it big. What we lack in patience is made up for by our eagerness to prove to potential employers that they need fresh blood like us to bring their businesses to the next level.
Before the Gen X-ers shoot me down for being too idealistic, idealism is an essential ingredient for us to dream up a better future.
In the wise words of Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, if your dreams don’t scare you, they aren’t big enough.