Millennials Reject The 'Stable Career' By Working Smarter, Not Harder

Millennials Are Compelled to Reject The 'Stable Career' By Working Smarter, Not Harder

Things have changed: millennials face an entirely different economy, work environment, compensation, and benefits package than our parents did, and have different priorities in life.


At the risk of using such a negatively-connotated term, let me paint you a picture about the world of millennials. They earn about 20% less than Baby Boomers did at the same age, despite higher levels of education and a higher cost of living today We have disproportionately larger amounts of student debt, and we're postponing major life milestones such as getting married, buying a house, and having children, due to our lower net worth.

Most companies today are getting rid of their pension plans, so we have less of a retirement net to fall back on. Real estate prices and college tuition rates have astronomically surpassed rising inflation to the point where it's so depressing, it's almost comical. As competition for jobs rise, new hires are expected to have more prior experience, take on more responsibilities and work longer hours to earn their keep.

Suffice it to say that things have definitely changed for 20-or-30-somethings in America, and we're just not satisfied. Thus, so many millennials are rejecting the notion of a "stable career" and taking leaps of faith with the hopes of reaching financial freedom.

There are several reasons people of my generation are looking to create additional income streams. Many millennials just aren't earning enough with their full-time job, and require a "side hustle" or two to supplement their income. The average starting salary for college graduates is $50,390 (but keep in mind that this is the average. The salary for an entry-level job in America can be as low as $35,000). If that's your income and you want to own property or have children someday (not to mention pay off those student loans), you're going to need to get fiscally creative.

Regardless of their current salary, many millennials see an enormous potential for new and unconventional ways to earn. Thousands of people have already taken advantage of creating passive income streams or working online and have broken out of the 9-to-5 loop. You've likely seen people on social media who constantly travel or spend unlimited amounts of time doing what they love or with their loved ones — and who wouldn't want that for themselves?

But is all that really possible? It sounds too good to be true. It seems much safer to do what our parents did: work 40-45 hours a week, take a week-long vacation once a year, and retire in 40 years with a ripe 401k. You might be thinking that millennials are so entitled to believe they shouldn't have to work hard like their parents. But let me explain.

Things have changed. Millennials face an entirely different economy, work environment, compensation, and benefits package than our parents did. In addition, our priorities as a generation have fundamentally shifted. We value independence and thrive on innovation. We're willing to work arduously when there's an intrinsic reward. A lot of us prioritize time to pursue personal hobbies and passions, and travel. We also want to make an impact on the world, advancing science, health, and human rights.

With time as our most precious resource, many people don't necessarily want to trade hours for money. In other words, be a wage worker. Millennials have high standards, but that's because they realize some sacrifices are not always required to have a good life. There are indeed many ways to make money outside of a typical full-time or part-time job, and while most of the Gen X'ers were content with it, millennials are refusing the beaten career path and carving out their own. If it's potentially possible to have it all, why should millennials settle for the sake of normalcy?

This is why millennials are compelled to go against the grain. Entrepreneurship, digital content creating, freelancing, and other unconventional career paths are far from being secure or reliable. But millennials are figuring out a key factor for success: they're learning how to work smarter, not harder. This is an important distinction, because many baby boomers and gen X'ers will insist that millennials aren't willing to get their hands dirty and put in the work. Rather, millennials are being more selective about which work is worth the effort. If more companies started to offer the things millennials value, like flexible hours, remote work arrangements, and socially-responsible initiatives, then maybe less of them would be leaving the 9-to-5 for something more rewarding.

But for now, it appears that millennials are looking for a better return on investment.

This often involves making riskier moves, and doing what others are too afraid to do. But if there's one thing millennials do well, it's shattering traditions in which we see no use anymore.

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Yes, I Want To Be A Teacher

"You know you don't make that much money, right?"

Yes, I want to be a teacher. Yes, I know what the salary of a teacher is like. Yes, I know that people will view my future career as “easy." No, I would not want any other job in the world.

I am sure that I am not the only future educator who has had enough with hearing all the critiques about becoming a teacher, we are tired of hearing all the negative aspects because it's obvious that the positives will ALWAYS outweigh those judgmental negative comments.

So, why do I want to be a teacher? I am sure that I speak for many other future teachers when I say that I am not doing it for the salary, benefits, or even the summer vacation (although that is a great plus!).

I want to be a teacher because I will be able to wake up on Mondays and actually be excited. Saturday and Sunday will be a nice break to relax, but I know that I will be ready to fill up my apple-shaped mug with coffee on Monday morning and be ready for a day full of laughs and new lessons for my students for the upcoming week.

I want to be a teacher because I get to have an impact on tomorrow's leaders. No, I don't mean that I'm predicting my future student to be the president of the United States (but, hey, that would be a pretty cool accomplishment). I mean that I have the job to help students recognize that they have the power to be a leader in and out of the classroom.

I want to be a teacher because I don't want an easy day. Challenges are what push me to greatness and success. Although many people think teaching is an easy profession, I know that it isn't easy. It's very hard, every day at every moment. But it is worth it when a student finally understands that math problem that stumped them for a while and they have a huge smile from ear to ear.

I want to be a teacher because I want to work with kids. I mean, come on, what else is greater than a kid having fun and you're the reason why? A picture might be worth a thousand words, but a child being excited and having fun while learning is worth a million.

I want to be a teacher because I don't want a high salary. If I really cared about making a six-figure income, I would have chosen a different profession. Teaching is not about the check that I bring home every week or two, it's about what I learn and the memories that I make, the memories that I get to share with my family at dinner that night.

SEE ALSO: To The Teacher Who Helped Shape Me

I want to be a teacher because there is nothing else in this world that I'd rather do for the rest of my life. Sure, there may be other jobs that are rewarding in more ways. But to me, nothing can compare to the view of a classroom with little feet swinging back and forth under a desk from a student learning how to write their ABCs.

Teaching may not be seen as the perfect profession for everyone, but it is the perfect profession for me.

Cover Image Credit: TeacherPop

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8 Ways You Can Pursue An International Job After College

Working in a foreign country is something that so many people dream of, but no one really knows where to start.


You're extraordinary, not ordinary — so why settle for a bland, typical career? Those who have the traveling bug can find work easily all over the globe. But, how do you decide where to go and what to do?

Those with the wanderlust can look to the ideas below to find a gig enabling them to live anywhere on the planet they may like. Whether you dream of summer days spent on an Australian beach or meditating on a mountain peak in Nepal, it's so much easier to start living your dream sooner than you think!

1. Help children learn English.

To those with a bachelor's degree, the world truly is their oyster. Even if you earned your degree in something like underwater basket weaving (I swear it's a thing), you can enjoy a career overseas teaching English.

In order to receive permission to teach English overseas, you'll need to complete a training program to obtain your Teaching English as a Foreign Language certification. Some organizations will sponsor you to obtain said certification in exchange for offering to teach overseas for at least a year. Of course, if you find working abroad suits you, you can stay longer.

2. Put your typing skills to work and transcribe conversations.

Enjoy nothing better than listening to conversations and transcribing them? Consider heading overseas by landing a transcription job allowing work-from-home scheduling. In the age of the internet, the opportunity is so much closer to you than you'd think.

Didn't get enough training to type quickly by pulling those undergrad essay all-nighters? No problem. You can learn how to type quicker online for free.

3. Flex your entrepreneurial muscles and join a global team.

Not the sort who enjoys listening to their boss all day? Why not strike out on your own while traveling the globe? Sure, you may not have much capital state-side but moving to a nation with a less pricey cost-of-living can help you grow your business endeavors quickly.

Furthermore, hiring international team players makes solid business sense. 72% of people like working on global teams, but they like them even more when they feel listened to and treated fairly. Getting an outside perspective can help business owners find innovative solutions to common problems.

4. Become the live-in help, and enjoy a homestay while you're at it.

Have wanderlust and love the little ones? Consider traveling overseas as an au pair. Being an au pair is similar to becoming a nanny but the job description includes caring for basic cleaning tasks, homework help and dinner preparation as well as changing diapers.

Many of those wanting to explore Europe become au pairs in order to fund the journey. Even though said positions pay relatively little, you get free room and board as part of the bargain. Given how European trains travel great distances in little time, you can reserve many weekends for excursions to nearby nations in the region for super cheap.

5. Or, you can take care of pets abroad.

Who said traveling the world meant needing a huge bankroll? Those who adore our four-legged friends can fund their international escapades by pet sitting for those overseas.

Many people treat their fur babies like family and they demand nothing but the utmost quality of care for their puppies and kitties. Getting started can prove somewhat tricky but once you learn the ropes, you can explore foreign cities to your heart's content for little more than the cost of a big bag of kibble.

6. Use your medical skills for even more good.

Did you do your undergraduate work in nursing or another health-related field? Consider joining an international organization such as Doctors Without Borders to quench your thirst for adventure.

Nothing feels more rewarding than putting your skills to good use to help others. Depending on where you envision your career going, having such experience on your resume stands out to future employers and will help you in the long-run.

7. Join the circus (no, really).

When you were a young child, did you dream of growing up only to run away and join the circus? Believe it or not, this can make for an interesting, if unusual, career path!

If you trained as a gymnast or dancer as a child, you'll have an easier job of finding a troupe of performers with whom to travel the globe. Only got fit in your teen years or early 20s? No problem! Consider getting your group fitness instructors' license and teach classes aboard a cruise ship (only steer clear of the all-night buffet to keep fitting into your leggings).

8. Perform acts of kindness for others around the globe through volunteering.

Are you one of those lucky devils born with a trust fund in hand? If money is no object, consider joining the Peace Corps. As a volunteer with the Peace Corps, you'll receive housing and stipends in exchange for help with their projects around the globe. While competition makes finding roles challenging, anything giving you the opportunity to travel for free comes with some strings.

The Peace Corps isn't only for young people leaving school for the first time. Many retirees wishing to give back after a rewarding career also flock to sign up and begin their journeys.

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