If you haven’t figured it out by now, I am a millennial. Now, I won’t state my age here because, really, what’s the point of that, but I’ll give you an idea: I was an 80’s kid. I grew up with Punky Brewster and Sesame Street, watched MacGyver with my mom and dad, loved The A-Team theme song but not the show, and loved The Wonder Years and Growing Pains, the latter mostly because of a young Leo DiCaprio.
Although I won’t post any incriminating photos with horrible hair and clothes (thanks, mom), I remember my childhood, pre-teen and early teenage years as a blissful time of totally awesome TV shows, catchy pop songs, and colorful Liza Frank trapper keepers.
Even though I can say that I’ve been “working” since I was six years old (I used to help my uncle with his crafts’ store organizing stuff and inventory), it wasn’t until I was 15 that my “future” began to become a reality. For some reason, my years in elementary, middle and junior high school were all carefree; the future was very far away.
But when you’re two years away from graduating high school, you panic and start thinking about what that future might bring. I’m sure this dawns differently on everyone, but for me, it was sudden.
Coming from a conservative family and being a woman meant that my life was pretty much planned from the beginning: ballet classes started when I was three to help with discipline and posture; I was enrolled in a very prestigious private school because my parents believe that education is the one thing that is essential and no one can take away from you; and I was one of the lucky kids to get an allowance without having too many chores because my focus was my studies.
And college, wow, was that the promised land! I was supposed to pick from one of the highest-paid professions like law or medicine. College is where I was supposed to find myself a husband, because how is a woman defined otherwise if she doesn’t have a man to take care of her (oh boy, I’ll get in trouble with ‘rents for this one!).
Just like my incredibly smart father, I was supposed to graduate in four years (or longer, depending on what I chose to study) and immediately have plenty of recruiters begging me to go work for them with a starting salary of $40,000. That’s how it happened to my dad: he was recruited as the best and brightest, not a second after he had his diploma.
I was supposed to be getting the highest honors in college, finding a husband, landing the job of my dreams and buying a car and house to settle down. However, the reality has been far from that.
And did you notice the buzzword here? “Supposed.” I was supposed to be, by now, better off financially than my parents. All of these things were supposed to happen a few years after college.
But none of it happened, except me getting high honors in college. You see, in some parts, the recession really started in 2005. People at different companies would mention the “before and after 2005” era. A lot of people got laid off due to the economic crisis and there was a generalized hiring freeze. Even KFC wasn’t hiring!