The millennial generation has been in the workforce for several years now, and baby boomers and generations X and Y are starting to understand younger people’s new mentalities about employment. At first, some members of older generations considered millennials to be lazy because they weren’t getting jobs. However, the more the economy struggled, the more it became obvious that millennials were forced into having to think about employment in a different way. They looked into temporary work to make ends meet, but soon took it on because many found it was a positive, preferable alternative. Just like that, the workforce changed.
As a millennial, I received my first job offer in June 2010 from a beautiful high school with a great reputation. They offered me a position teaching English as a Second Language, the field I was most interested in. The problem was that it was only a part-time position, and I thought I should hold off for something full-time. It was early in the year, and I expected something else to come along; I’d been on so many interviews. So, because I was 22 years old with no real life experience or concept of the current job market, I declined the offer. I still remember hearing the surprise in the department chair’s voice when I told her.
Much to my surprise, I didn’t get any more job offers. I didn’t even get any more interviews. By September, most schools had been in session for almost 2 weeks and I was still at my parents’ house, unemployed, feeling defeated. I eventually got hired as a permanent substitute in a not-so-great school district, with no benefits, and I got paid about $10 an hour. I was in over my head. Needless to say, I would have been much better off accepting the first job.
While my mom helped me make the decision to turn down the job, I can’t blame her. It wasn’t her fault: I should have educated myself on the job market. I solicited the advice of a Baby Boomer who had held a full-time job in the same school district for 20 years. She assumed I would have the same opportunities that she did in the 90s, and thus advised me accordingly. I was the one who didn’t realize that the job market for millennials was nothing like what it was for my parents’ generation. I needed to change my attitude, and fast.
Millennials seem to have their act together much more than I did, and a big part is because they’re changing the way they think about employment. They’re not letting a 5.4 percent unemployment rate get them down—which is good, considering it was over 9 percent in 2010— because now, in 2016, they’ve figured it out.
Millennials are trying to make the best of a tough situation. Instead of waiting for a great opportunity to get dropped at their feet, they’re changing the way they think about employment and about job fulfillment. Most no longer graduate college with the expectation of walking into their dream career, and they don’t consider themselves failures because of it.
With the Affordable Care Act, young people no longer have to search for a full-time job in order to afford benefits. They’re also not buying homes anywhere near the rate that the baby boomer generation was, and the same can be said for buying cars. These changes bring about a new kind of flexibility in employment. And so, millennials are seeking out temporary positions.
Public opinion about temporary jobs might have previously negatively affected millennials, but today they are realizing this may actually be the key to happiness. Consider five of the top reasons that temporary positions are making millennials happy.
I went into teaching because I thought I didn’t want to be an author, and it was too late to change my major to journalism. In school I never heard about SEO and I was never exposed to blogging, especially not as a full-time job. I left teaching to try my hand at writing, which is where my passions were all along. Fortunately, the millennial generation helped shine a light on the benefits of temporary positions, so I took a low-paying job to see what would happen, and have never looked back. For me, the millennial way of thinking changed everything, and I’m not the only one with this type of story.