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I usually feel great when I sit down to write a blog. Most likely because I’m channeling the energy that’s needed to get the message across: passion, excitement, confidence, motivation.

But today I’ll tell you the truth: I’m feeling kind of sad. And pretty angry, too.

So, instead of fake-writing an energetic and optimistic blog, I’m going to stay honest and write how I feel. {I trust you all can handle it.}

I’m hearing so many stories from Millennials (clients, friends, people I’ve done free breakthrough coaching sessions with) that sound scarily similar.

They followed the track they were “supposed” to in college. They chose something to major in, but didn’t necessarily love it. They needed a job when they graduated college, so they tried to find something in the field that they majored in, by default.

Many of them took the first thing they could find because being employed was understandably their first priority, and most of them didn’t have the luxury of choosing a perfect position. Most of them were lucky to have more than one choice at all.

And all of that makes sense. The process could be better, but it makes sense.

But frankly, what comes next simultaneously depresses me and infuriates me.

I think in part because so many Millennials had to take the first job they could get, they end up in environments that are really negative and completely unfulfilling.

I very recently had a breakthrough coaching session with a young woman who was only about a year out of college. She’s desperately looking for a way out of the job she took when she graduated, because her employer expects her to work from 8am to 8pm every day, AND she literally does not make enough money to cover all of her bills.

I hear versions of this story over and over again: people in their 20s and early 30s being expected to work terrible hours, accept low pay, and/or get subjected to bosses and co-workers who provide a negative and toxic work environment.

If this weren’t bad enough, even if you removed the terrible hours, low pay, and negative work environment, most of them would agree that the work they’re doing isn’t gratifying, fulfilling, or serving any higher purpose.

And this is where I lose my freaking mind.

Since when is this the “American dream”?

We spend the first 22 years of our lives getting educated, so that we can do this?

We’re meant to trade our valuable lives (because life, not just hours, is what’s getting spent during the 9-5, or 8-8) for a paycheck. The paycheck is meant to help us pay for the things in our life.

And yet, by the time we’re done earning that paycheck, we barely have any life left to spend. Between commuting, eating, and sleeping, I’m not sure when we’re expected to live the life we’ve so exhaustedly “earned.”

All of this, and we’re also unfulfilled and lacking passion. It’s no wonder people are having quarter-life crises in droves.

I don’t know if this system will ever change.

I’d like to think that as Millennials age, because so many of us value freedom and flexibility, the way we “work” will start to change. Maybe work-life freedom will start to take form everywhere.

Maybe corporations will start to value their human resources more. Maybe we’ll actually have more time and flexibility with which to pursue living, in addition to working.

I have hope that our generation can turn this around. But that’s a slow-burning revolution, and it’s not going to do you any good today.

The sad truth is, most corporations and employers aren’t ever going to really advocate for you.

They don’t have to! Most of them know that there are more people than there are jobs, so they can treat you how they want. And you’ve got to be grateful for what they decide to give.

You’re going to have to be your own advocate.

What that boils down to is this: Start right now.

Start something that will get you one tiny step closer to a better situation.

If that means researching the business you’ve always wanted to start, do that. If it means learning a new skill so you can go work somewhere else, do that. If it means saving money so you can move across the country, do that.

Do something. Because your life is getting spent, in the mean time.

And if you want to take action, but have no idea where to start or what’s right for you, that’s why we’re here. Coaching is all about helping people figure out what they authentically want so that they can go do it.

Thanks for letting me be sad and outraged today. What do you think? Am I justified to feel this way? We’d love to hear from you in the comments.

Much Love,

Rachel (+ Kristen)

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  1. Rachel, I completely agree with you! I’m just above the Millennial marker, but I feel the SAME WAY. It’s unfortunate that we’re taught to think “this” is the American Dream, while for many it’s the American Nightmare (if you can even find time to sleep & drop into REM sleep & dream because you’re busting your tail working two or three jobs sometimes in one day & seven days a week!). Isn’t burning the candle on both ends FABULOUS?! Ugh!

    I look back and realize when I became unhappy with the job is really when I should’ve started changing (though it was difficult to find time due to the multiple jobs to make ends meet). I pinned myself (via parental expectations) in the pressure of “doing this job” because of the time, effort, & expense my degree took. It turns out, the world IS your oyster. Start with a good general base, get a little experience & dive into your interests & figure out how to make it make money. There are tons of people out there that are average & are making ends meet. Entrepreneurial types tend to be above average (in many ways, not excluding tenacity & persistence), therefore they can KILL IT even in something they didn’t go to college for.

    A revolution is in order! Carve what it is you want out of life, begin to craft it out of the time you have, and get the clarity you need from these girls!

    1. Thanks for such awesome feedback, Emilie! Your comment read like an inspiring speech that made ME want to get up and cheer, haha! Fear of change is holding so many people back from taking action; keeping them stuck in this broken system. I wish everyone could see that the REAL thing to be afraid of is staying put in this system for years, simply because you didn’t know what would happened if you stepped away. That’s no way to spend your life! I’m glad we’ve got you on our side! 🙂

  2. This is so true! And do you know what makes me the most sad and frustrated about it? It’s the fear in peoples’ eyes when they talk about the possibility (or more often the impossibility) of doing something different.

    After university I stayed in a job that was sucking my soul because I didn’t know what else to do. When I finally woke up to how much damage it was causing me I took the plunge and handed in my notice with no replacement job lined up. Everyone (not my family or my close friends, for which I am forever grateful) told me I was crazy, they told me there are no jobs out there for anyone. My manager said I could come back (at lower pay) when it didn’t work out for me.

    But what broke my heart was when the other girls started telling me how much they wished they could leave, if only they could, if only they had enough experience, if only, if only… These were intelligent girls with years of intensive work experience, and yet they couldn’t seem to acknowledge or recognise their skills and value.

    Leaving that job was the best thing I have ever done, I am now in a job that is pretty incredibly perfect. It requires me to constantly stretch and grow and utilise every drop of creativity and skill I have, and I’m gradually building a life that my dreams barely touched.

    If anyone is thinking of quitting…. do it!
    If anyone is thinking of starting something new….. do it!

    1. I love your comment, Eva! I also quit my job with very little plan lined up, and though I personally wouldn’t have done that again, I think your story and mine makes such an important point: If you can get what you want even with NO PLAN, think of how easy it could be to figure out what you want when you actually make a plan before you get out! It’s SO possible. Thanks for being an inspiration, and for sharing your experience!

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