I quit my job and moved to Spain last month. I was working for a marketing company in Atlanta for a little over a year and I just wasn’t satisfied; so, I took an opportunity to move to here and teach English. I don’t speak Spanish. I’m making half of what I was making in Atlanta and I have no interest in teaching long term. Will I be able to get another job in marketing when I return or will fresh graduates be more appealing? Would it be wiser to just stay and get the experience that higher paying companies look for in prospective candidates? I didn’t think about that before making my decision to leave and I still don’t. That lack of concern is one of many things millennials are criticized for.
Millennials, a term that defines a group of individuals born between 1977 and 1995, has somehow morphed into a term used to cast judgement and express discontent with the way we choose to live. The aforementioned years encompass individuals between the ages of 21 and 39, so I’ll be clear and say I’m speaking for us ‘twentysomethings’. We hop from job to job rather than finding a decent job with decent benefits and sticking with it. We’re spoiled by the convenience of technology; why can’t we grab a newspaper or book instead of downloading an app? Do we even watch the news? How can we possibly know what’s going on in the world when we don’t flip on the news station at dinner time? We were given a clear set of instructions from our parents and grandparents on how to live our lives, all we had to do was follow them. Graduate high school, go to college at 18 knowing exactly what it is you want to do for the rest of your life, graduate college in four years, get a job, start a family and live happily ever after.
I graduated from high school and immediately set off to college where I double majored in business marketing and communication, and minored in public relations. I’d be in law school right now if it weren’t so expensive and my undergraduate loan debt wasn’t so high. So instead I wasted a year working an entry level marketing job only to figure out that it wasn’t what fulfills me. So, in total I spent five years living out the dreams of my 18 year old self, trying to make it fit. It’s a lot of pressure for an 18 year old to have to decide what to do for the rest of his or her life, and then you can’t even have a well-deserved drink to cope with this pressure. Shitty, right? It was in 2014 while I was studying in France for a semester that realized I wanted to go down an entire different path. I was able to see a different way of life; I was around people who weren’t rushing to graduate and start a mundane life. But in my eyes, it was too late to change my mind. I had one semester left and there was no way I was going to disappoint everyone that was cheering for me.
It’s now two years later and I’ve finally mustered up the courage to see what’s on the other side of the wall I’ve built and told myself I couldn’t climb. For those of you who can’t find contentment in your current place, I know the anxiety of switching it up can very intimidating. But you can do it and you should! If I could retrace the steps that got me here and write a manual to guide you I would. I’ll actually work on that but meanwhile, I challenge you to figure out what you would be in life if it weren’t for fear and assess the risk versus the reward of going for it.