How to Adult
What is adulting? It feels like just yesterday, I was still a kid, and my parents were the all-knowing adults. Now, I find myself an adult, and my parents are what we call the cusp between the Baby Boomers and Generation X. To be honest, my parents do not know how to adult in today's society, and probably most people in their age bracket don't know what "adulting" today means. This is not a Generation Y egocentrism post; it's reality. We are the first generation that pretty much grew up with the internet. We are the last generation to remember what it's like to not have a cell phone.
Let's be honest. Technology is amazing. It makes everything faster and easier. However, as life has become "easier" with technology, it's also become harder. With the convenience that technology brings, we are expected to create at an exponential rate with exponentially better results. And the worst part? Less people are needed to create the same effect, hence hiking up the competition for even the most menial and financially unflattering jobs.
While this is the time where Generation Y and millennials can "make it big", it's also the time where many of us are working multiple jobs that we are way overqualified for, and still barely scooting by life. It isn't laziness: the cost of living has gone up, the standard of living has gone up, and qualifications of jobs have gone up, while wages have (proportionately) decreased. Previous generations did not have to worry about a monthly cell phone bill or internet bill. Flipping burgers at McDonald's used to be a typical high school student side job, and it's now a job for college student graduates who don't have a job yet. Working retail used to be a college student side job, and it's now a possible career. Being a college graduate used to be an honor, but now it's a qualification for many jobs that really don't utilize much of a college degree (case in point, my previous job). Getting good grades is no longer even enough to get someone into a good college. Instead, we need to show ourselves off to be a well-rounded musical and athletic entrepreneur with plenty of goodwill, charitable actions, leadership, singing, and acting abilities. I have often heard, "I've been a student, too!" from members of the previous generation. While I do not discredit their education, I do wish to challenge this: "Did you have as many requirements to enter college?" It's because the previous generations continue to believe that since we have the advantage of technology, we should be able to conquer all that comes our way.
Technology has helped us conquer a lot, but there are still only 24 hours in a day. I might be able to write a report in half the time from before, as research has gotten easier and my fingers will not cramp up as quickly from writing, but the time required to participate, perform, and excel in extracurricular activities to be an average student much surpasses what used to be required of students. Now, as a part of the working force, the same qualifications of perfection are required of us, but let's be honest: most of us are tired. We are tired of having someone of a previous generation tell us that we are lazy or unqualified for a job that we know we are overly qualified for. On the other hand, we are also tired of someone telling us that we are overqualified for a job, because we know; we just don't have any other choice! Many in my generation have opted to go for a less conventional approach: we decided that instead of living by the rules of a biased generation, we will create our own rules in start-up companies. We are riding on the technological golden age, hoping to make it.
The problem? Most start ups don't have the budget to give employees benefits. Most start ups also don't have the finances to give a high wage. We often hear about how much money can be made in being a part of successful start ups, but let's not ignore that there are so many more start ups that don't make it. It's a harsh reality that no one really wants to face: the older generations point their fingers at successful start ups and say it's easy to make money, and we close our eyes and dive, praying that we aren't going to be flat out broke in five years.
I am working on my budgeting for the next year, and wow, things are expensive. There are months where I will not make my enough to cover for my estimated monthly expenses. I will have to be very conservative with my adjustable expenses to scrape by with minimal savings. A conglomeration of college debt and everyday needs are taxing most of my income, and I have come to realize: I will have to save up for a very, very, very long time to have enough to buy a home... if ever. I've been told by members of the previous generation that as long as I have consistently put money into my savings, I should be able to buy a home, but I'm doing the calculations, and the truth is that it looks bleak. Very bleak.
Every generation has its hardships. Warfare, famine, poverty-stricken areas, technology... the list can go on for ages. There is always going to be a generation gap between the present generation and the previous. Most people believe (except in the case of extreme conditions occurring during the childhood of a following generation) that the next generation always has it easier. In some aspects, yes. I never had to walk to a bus stop at 4am in the snow to go to school in the morning and then take a bus straight to work, get home at 10pm to make dinner for my family work on homework until midnight. However, I have had go to go school at 4:30 in the morning for weight training, go to class, skip lunch for a leadership meeting, go to more classes, go to waterpolo practice, then go to dress rehearsal for theater, go to a classmate's home to work on a group project, and finally return home at 2am to begin my homework, and rush to school at 4:30 the next morning, again. I see how hard some of my friends have worked for a minimum wage job, and I realize that this is an epidemic: until the previous generations stop thinking we're lazy for utilizing technology, we are going to continue being put under stressful conditions that are far more stressful than they understand. Technology do not produce superhumans; let's make life actually better for the next generation, not harder.
Sorry, this was a rant that I just had to get off my chest. I hope you're all doing great and having a fantabulous Friday! Stay beautiful, strong, and amazing.