My generation is often regarded as “selfish,” or “entitled.” While there may be a bit of truth to those labels, “selfish” and “entitled” have such negative connotations to them. I like to think of our generation as being hard-working but fed up with having nothing to show for it. The reason why some may feel we are “entitled” is because we seem angry about having worked hard throughout our college years, yet having very little to show for it.
I work in the marketing and advertising and it has always baffled me that many jobs in this field require so much of their candidates yet offer so little in return.
The other night, I was having a conversation with my friend, who has been active in the post-grad job search. She had expressed interest in working for a large Dallas-based advertising agency (I’m not going to name names, but if you know, you know.) She noted that although she had heard bad things about this agency’s internship, she still wanted the experience.
Coincidentally, I had applied for the same internship after graduating college and felt compelled to let her know that this agency only pays their interns $10 per hour. She added that she was aware of this and this agency also pays their interns $15 per hour if they have a master’s degree.
First of all, I hadn’t been aware that this agency requires their candidates with a master’s degree to go through an internship prior to full-time hiring. Second, expecting someone with a master’s degree to be content making $15 per hour is, to be frank, rather shitty. There’s no way someone who has gone through 6 to 8 years of school is able to pay back student loans, make rent and pay for other expenses only making $15 per hour.
It baffles me that this particular agency backs multi-million dollar brands, yet they seemingly can’t afford to pay their post-grad interns more than slightly above the minimum wage.
This isn’t the only agency guilty of offering their interns an unreasonable wage.
In December of 2017, I was offered the fellowship of a lifetime at a sports marketing agency in which I had been trying to get my foot in the door for over a year. The only issue with this fellowship was that the agency was only willing to pay me slightly above the minimum wage. Had it been based it Dallas, I might have been able to make it work, given my various side hustles here. However, the agency is based in Stamford, CT. Stamford is about an hour-long train ride to New York City, and everyone who knows me knows I’ve always dreamed of living in (or adjacent to) New York. It broke my heart to have to turn this fellowship down, however, surviving in the city with the means I was offered simply wasn’t realistic.
One of the good things about having a degree, along with years of experience in your field, is having learned the skills essential for performing the aspects of your dream job’s description on your own. What many people in similar predicaments as myself and my friend have opted to do is sell their marketing and advertising services on a freelance basis. Doing this allows people to utilize their skills and make money at their own discretion.
Many people with degrees and backgrounds in marketing, advertising, or other related fields often sell copywriting, social media, or graphic design services on the side as a means of making extra cash. This allows those offering these services to reinforce their skills and build a solid portfolio.
I wouldn’t say I own my own business or company, however, I have done copywriting and social media management work for some clients outside of my full time job.
There are many upsides to providing services at your own discretion. For one, you get to set your own rates and prices (within reason), the money you pull in most likely won’t be taxed, and you get to work on your own time.
Now, that’s not to say you don’t have to “clock into a 9 to 5.” Don’t let those “motivational” Instagram accounts that contain pictures of Elon Musk and Mark Zuckerberg, with quoted statements that they never actually made, fool you. When working for yourself, you never really “clock out,” due to the fact that you always need to be open and available to your clientele. You also need to be able to meet your client’s deadlines and make sure your work exceeds their expectations. You never know when you’ll need someone to provide a recommendation on your behalf.
Working for oneself may seem more daunting than working in a 9 to 5 office environment, however, when people are doing what they’re good at and what they enjoy, they are willing to put in the extra effort. Millennials are finding comfort knowing that they can provide services at their own discretion and make money in times of economic uncertainty.
As a generation, we have worked too hard to be told that our skill sets are not worthy of being reasonably compensated. Older generations may deem this mentality “entitlement,” but most post-grad millennials I know work full time, along with having some sort of side hustle(s). Some see us as entitled individuals, but I see us as ambitious, self-aware, and resourceful individuals.