Author Topic: Underemployed millennial seeks job acquiring bad-ass skills  (Read 4783 times)

arielcole

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Underemployed millennial seeks job acquiring bad-ass skills
« on: August 19, 2015, 06:39:58 PM »
I didn't get one of those fancy degrees that lands you a sweet job out of school, I got a Psychology degree, with the ever so useful Art minor. So now I live in my parents basement, owe the government 20k, and work for a mediocre manufacturing company (customer service) making 30k/year. I started the year off with 27k in debt; living at my parents house enabled me to pay 7k off while still stashing some cash in a 401(k) so that's good, but I'm still just semi-stuck, semi-broke, and really miserable. I'm in the "Portland metro area" making 13.00 dollars an hour, hating my job and wishing I was a million other places.

I want a SWEET job. I want to do something creative: design, marketing, product development. I want to be engaged, excited, stoked, even semi passionate about what I do, I work hard, I love to work, I WANT to work. I apply for jobs weekly but I'm just another millennial resume in the sea of other millennial resumes, with the population of Portland increasing 6% every year I'm competing against (what feels like) the whole country for entry level jobs.

I want to be somewhere smaller like, Boulder, Missoula, Truckee, Boise, Bend, I hate the big city, but if I can't even land a job here, how will I ever land a job one of those places? Will someone hire me?

How do I get a sweet job? Do I move somewhere first and then find a job there? Do I keep trolling Craigslist? Do I start my own company (mountain bike apparel)? Do I go back to school and get an MBA or a graphic design degree or something. What gives! Tell me your bad ass secrets for finding a job that actually makes living feel okay.

Kaikou

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Re: Underemployed millennial seeks job acquiring bad-ass skills
« Reply #1 on: August 19, 2015, 07:19:20 PM »
Just want to say your not alone. Will be following along.

BrickByBrick

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Re: Underemployed millennial seeks job acquiring bad-ass skills
« Reply #2 on: August 19, 2015, 07:58:12 PM »
So...what do you want to do?

Hopefully a more experienced Mustachian will come along and offer better advice than I can give, but something that strikes me about your post in the meanwhile is:

You need to hustle.

http://www.budgetsaresexy.com/ways-to-make-money/

http://www.sidehustlenation.com/ideas/

There are also many such posts in these forums.  Search 'hustle' on the forum search bar and watch your computer struggle to load them all.

SwordGuy

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Re: Underemployed millennial seeks job acquiring bad-ass skills
« Reply #3 on: August 19, 2015, 08:18:51 PM »
I didn't get one of those fancy degrees that lands you a sweet job out of school, I got a Psychology degree, with the ever so useful Art minor. So now I live in my parents basement, owe the government 20k, and work for a mediocre manufacturing company (customer service) making 30k/year.

First of all, quit your whining. :)

Seriously, quit your whining.

Did you know median FAMILY income  in the USA is about $64k a year?

You, all by your lonesome, are making almost 1/2 that and you're just getting started on your career track!

You're knocking off your student loan debt in, what, about 3 years?   That's great!

So, how do you get a job you really want?

Get really good at things that someone with that job needs to do.   Make sure people know it by networking, writing blogs, writing articles or conference papers, etc.

While you are at your current job, learn and start to take on the responsibilities of the jobs above you.  That way, when there's an opening at your current employer (or one that needs those same skills), you'll have a leg up on getting that promotion.

Genevieve

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Re: Underemployed millennial seeks job acquiring bad-ass skills
« Reply #4 on: August 19, 2015, 08:47:16 PM »
Quote
I want a SWEET job. I want to do something creative: design, marketing, product development. I want to be engaged, excited, stoked, even semi passionate about what I do, I work hard, I love to work, I WANT to work.

Start a side business doing one of these things. Build a network. Reach out to people. Hustle. You'll build skills, and people will pay you for it. Leverage this into a full time job if you decide you still want one. When you're clearly able to articulate what you have to offer, you'll have plenty of opportunities.

Step 1 of Building a Biz: Turn "do something creative" into a specific service. (Services are easier for beginners than products, and my hunch is they lead to full time positions more often.) If you know something about marketing, you should know the importance of a niche. So put those skills to work on your own business!

If you want a job, not a business, then start reaching out to people who 1) do the job you want or 2) work at a company you are interested in. Learn about what's important to the company/job, and figure out how you can help every single person you network with so you build good will. This will make you stand out from the masses, especially when one of these contacts forwards your resume along, and your application just skips over the pile to the hiring director's hands.

DON'T get more education, unless it's for a specific skill like "Learn how to use Photoshop". People are self taught in the three areas you mentioned. Why spend years paying for school in something you might not even like? You already have one degree you don't use. Don't get another.  You'll learn way more by actually doing stuff anyways.
« Last Edit: August 19, 2015, 08:51:43 PM by Genevieve »

mozar

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Re: Underemployed millennial seeks job acquiring bad-ass skills
« Reply #5 on: August 19, 2015, 08:59:11 PM »
Jobs are not going to be plentiful in the towns you are considering. If you want a "sweet job" consider moving to a big city. You will pay half your salary in rent, but consider moving to San Francisco where tech companies are falling all over themselves to hire people with marketing, sales or other "human" skills. Get a creative job, then as you grow with a company, figure out your niche. While applying for jobs start your bike company, so you can show interviewers the "sweet" business skills you have.

Roboturner

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Re: Underemployed millennial seeks job acquiring bad-ass skills
« Reply #6 on: August 20, 2015, 10:16:55 AM »
Go back to school for something in STEM, I got a worthless undergrad degree (SHUT UP! I'm an ARTIST MOM!) and was working at starbucks, went back and got and engineering Masters - was fully funded for research and am now out (granted 3 yrs later) making decent money.

Lanthiriel

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Re: Underemployed millennial seeks job acquiring bad-ass skills
« Reply #7 on: August 20, 2015, 10:55:56 AM »
First of all, Portland is a terrible job market. It's saturated, so wages are low. It's trendy, so prices are starting to skyrocket. That said, there are a TON of professional services (Architecture/Engineering/Construction) marketing jobs available in the area. I work in this industry, and I very much enjoy what I do. The job requirements are mostly critical thinking, editorial skills, and cat herding (where cats = technical professionals with very little spare time). Being adjacent to a technical field means that I make professional-level wages without having to have a STEM degree. One caveat, I did have to leave Portland to start making good money, not because this isn't a good career path, but again because of market saturation. If you're interested, check out jobs here: http://www.smpsoregon.org/jobs/

PM me if you want me to QA/QC your resume/cover letter. I hire for these positions in my current role, so I know what they're looking for.

Jouer

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Re: Underemployed millennial seeks job acquiring bad-ass skills
« Reply #8 on: August 20, 2015, 11:02:56 AM »
First off: most 24 year olds do not have sweet jobs. They take crappy entry-level jobs where they will learn and gain experience so that they have great qualifications for a second job that is better than the first. $30k isn't so bad at 24.

Now, some actual advice. You have a psychology degree. Psych shares many principles with marketing and even more with HR. A friend of mine has a great job running a digital marketing team for a big bank. But that's not what he was doing at 24. At 24 he was a customer service rep (phone) for that big bank. He moved up over time.

My advice to you is figure out which large companies around you hire from within. Which ones hire customer service reps into entry level marketing or HR positions. You already have customer service experience so should have no trouble getting your foot in the door. Then kick-ass at that job all the while applying for internal positions in different departments. Network like crazy. If there is a mentoring program, join that. It might be worth it to learn more about your preferred department by reading text books from the library. You'll be amazed how much it aligns with your psych learnings.
 

AZDude

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Re: Underemployed millennial seeks job acquiring bad-ass skills
« Reply #9 on: August 20, 2015, 11:10:24 AM »
I was 25 and making $30K a year not that long ago. It takes a while to build up your skills and your network. In the meantime, hustle, like others have said. I worked two jobs and did stuff on the side.

cincystache

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Re: Underemployed millennial seeks job acquiring bad-ass skills
« Reply #10 on: August 20, 2015, 07:39:33 PM »
Hi Arielcole, I'm sorry to hear you are feeling miserable. I second the suggestion to give up the whining, you have way more going for you than 99% of people on the planet. Realizing that all of your "problems" are first-world in nature is the first step to being more satisfied with your situation in my opinion.

A "sweet job" is not the answer to all of your problems, in fact many people on this site are actively trying to retire from their jobs even though they work in the very fields you think will make you happy. You should read this article about Mike Rowe from dirty jobs. This offers some spot-on advice for people in your exact situation.
http://www.cnn.com/2014/10/15/opinion/rowe-right-career/

Assuming that a new job or a new city is the answer to all of your problems is a recipe for being pretty miserable.

Be thankful to your parents for letting you live at home, this is awesome and you are doing a great job at paying down debt, keep that up!

Be thankful that you have a 401k and enough sense/income to contribute to it, I'd also look in to an IRA once you contribute up to the matching limit on the 401k.

Be thankful you discovered this awesome community/website at such a young age. Applying these principles and letting the savings compound over your lifetime already puts you financially ahead of most millenials who have the "SWEET" jobs you covet but have never heard of MMM.

With an art minor and an interest in design, how about taking some welding classes (maybe your manufacturing company you work for can pay for them?) and start making metal artwork on the side and selling it on etsy? If it takes off then great, if not you can pretty readily get a job as a welder in a lot of different parts of the country or stay right where you are and move up in responsibility at your current employer.


Keep your head up and stay positive!! I wish you the best of luck in your next move.



Argyle

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Re: Underemployed millennial seeks job acquiring bad-ass skills
« Reply #11 on: August 20, 2015, 07:45:47 PM »
Nobody just happens into those sweet jobs.  They get entry-level jobs doing support work and they learn on the job and work their way up.  No matter what you had majored in, these jobs don't get handed out on a platter.  Everybody has to pay their dues.  Everybody has to start out in the crummy jobs and work their way up to the sweet jobs.

One thing you might do is locate people who have the kind of jobs you want ideally through friends of friends, not just by calling people cold and do "informational interviews" where you ask how they made their way up into the jobs they have.  Sure, a few people will have taken shortcuts, by having a parent who owns the company, or what have you.  But most people will have put in the time and lived on the low wages, etc.  Once you find out the ways to get your foot in the door, you can start getting your foot in the door.

lostamonkey

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Re: Underemployed millennial seeks job acquiring bad-ass skills
« Reply #12 on: August 20, 2015, 07:55:27 PM »
Most people I know got degrees with a post-graduate job in mind and got jobs in their field post graduation. That being said, don't give up and keep applying for jobs. I know this is going to make me sound like an asshole, but I'll make the suggestion anyway. You could always find a rich partner/husband. I know quite a few people who have gone this route and they are pretty happy.

Monkey stache

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Re: Underemployed millennial seeks job acquiring bad-ass skills
« Reply #13 on: August 20, 2015, 09:41:05 PM »
I got a "sweet job" when I was 24 by doing several things. While in college I volunteered for a non-profit in the field I wanted to go into. I did so while working full time and as a full time student so it can be done. I also networked a ton by going to conferences and learned what I could from workshops. What I didn't learn at workshops I learned in my free time by studying independently for additional certifications. If you don't know what you want to do then do some research. Then find people locally in that field who will let you do an informational interview. It's also a great way to network. I'm only a few years older than you so I didn't accomplish during vastly different economic times.
« Last Edit: August 20, 2015, 09:44:16 PM by Monkey stache »

jzb11

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Re: Underemployed millennial seeks job acquiring bad-ass skills
« Reply #14 on: August 21, 2015, 06:47:13 AM »
Do you want to be a psychologist? IF so why not get your masters and become a licensed clinical psychologist?

They earn good money. My sister in law is one, and when she left her current job for a new she was inundated with job offers.

lauren214

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Re: Underemployed millennial seeks job acquiring bad-ass skills
« Reply #15 on: August 21, 2015, 01:04:29 PM »

Nobody just happens into those sweet jobs.  They get entry-level jobs doing support work and they learn on the job and work their way up.  No matter what you had majored in, these jobs don't get handed out on a platter.  Everybody has to pay their dues.  Everybody has to start out in the crummy jobs and work their way up to the sweet jobs.

One thing you might do is locate people who have the kind of jobs you want ideally through friends of friends, not just by calling people cold and do "informational interviews" where you ask how they made their way up into the jobs they have.  Sure, a few people will have taken shortcuts, by having a parent who owns the company, or what have you.  But most people will have put in the time and lived on the low wages, etc.  Once you find out the ways to get your foot in the door, you can start getting your foot in the door.

I would second the informational interview idea. But I would encourage you do aim for informational interviews with freelancers/independent contractors/consultants in your field of interest. In this type of situation where the person in question has decision making power, an informational interview can lead to a day of shadowing/ helping out for free. If you then express interest, this can sometimes be leveraged into the person hiring you to help them for a project when they have more work than they can handle (I'm a consultant and this always happens - things are slow and then WHAM you are so busy you wish you knew someone you could bring in to help). Over time, they'll bring you in from time to time to help with a few more projects (you'll probably have to do this on top of your day job), but once you have some experience, you've now got a foot in the door in the industry and it is now massively easier to get hired because you have some of that elusive "experience" to set you apart from the rest of the millenial crowd. Obviously this is a hard path and you might have to try a few times before you find the right person to work with. Good luck!

arebelspy

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Re: Underemployed millennial seeks job acquiring bad-ass skills
« Reply #16 on: November 06, 2015, 01:36:54 PM »
I feel for you.

I started out making 32k out of college with my liberal arts degree, so not too dissimilar to your 30k (big advantage: I had a partner with income as well, though hers was about 17k that first year out of college).

At some point if you want to make something happen, YOU will have to make it happen.  Make the minimum payments towards your student loan debt, and start saving up a fund to facilitate a move to another city with buffer cash to live on for six months.  You're in a great situation of having supporting parents to fall back on if it goes wrong, so go take a risk.

I'd also second the "hustle" suggestions--side gigs you develop into full time stuff can be something that excites you, makes you money, or even both!  They're worth exploring.

Good luck.  :)
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Valetta

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Re: Underemployed millennial seeks job acquiring bad-ass skills
« Reply #17 on: November 06, 2015, 01:57:21 PM »
I have a Psychology degree from a liberal arts school - my first job was $30k in a very similar situation (although I had $85k in debt!!). My first job was as an administrative assistant as a nonprofit. Was it always exciting taking meeting minutes and making agendas and reservations? No. But I did the grunt work as quickly and as well as I could and then spent the rest of my time taking on special projects and learning as much as I could. I also networked like crazy and worked my butt off so that I had a great reputation.

Now I have what I would consider a "sweet" job. I run the fundraising/marketing/communications department at a nonprofit. I get to work with graphic designers, I get to do a lot of writing, work with people, I love it. I have a great team that reports to me and now does the grunt work that I used to do. I had my first Director level job only 6 years out of school too. I think nonprofits offer faster opportunities for advancement often and are more willing to give responsibility to younger people. They have to be nimble/flexible so they are.

If you don't want to go work at a nonprofit for your day job, what about volunteering for an arts nonprofit outside of work hours? Great way to build skills and make connections. A lot of impressive people serve on nonprofit boards so it's a great way to meet people that could hire you one day.