Katie Whitehead, 22 and a recent graduate of the University of Central Florida, reacts to this article by Jim Sollisch from the New York Times, who writes about the life of his Millennial son.
“Jim tapped into the same desires and fears I, as a millennial, currently am facing in the search to find ‘success.’ He talked about how most people only define it monetarily, but that maybe it should be measured in getting to do what we love everyday. That’s the dilemma, isn’t it, Jim?
While trying to find a job, it’s not so much actually finding one; it’s the fear of actually getting one. If you get the job, will it be rewarding? Or will it be a sentence to 40 hours a week of stress and hating life? I think this is the difference between millennials and the previous generation. Twenty-somethings are taking quality of life, fulfillment, and happiness into consideration in the job search where possibly previous generations have had more focus on security, retirement, health insurance, and the perception of a “respectable” job.
It’s not that I or others my age don’t care about security and retirement and all that — I certainly do! But I also don’t want to be like Jim and his friend who have all these things but don’t get to enjoy life how they want. They work hard year-round for one week of vacation, for a retirement that still seems far off. I want security and fun! And maybe that’s why millenials get a bad rap, because we recognize now what older generations are only realizing late in life, that there is more to life than work. Maybe work needs to mean something more than a paycheck.
It was really refreshing to hear someone older generations give millenials some credit. My favorite part was how he wanted to travel but couldn’t now with all of his commitments. But when he was “young and poor,” he seemed to be able to travel. I want to travel too! But Jim also brings up some serious concerns, like whether his son, while doing what he loves, can afford to have a family or take nice vacations. Should I travel while I’m young and poor, or should I work hard now to eventually take those vacations?
I don’t know if there’s a right answer. There are the lucky few who are able to find fabulously fulfilling jobs with equally fabulous pay checks, but the rest of us might not be as lucky. I think each of us has to find our own benchmark of success and fearlessly commit to it, despite what dad’s friends think. I’m still working on figuring out what success will mean to me, but I sure do appreciate Jim’s point of view.”