Yes, you read the title correctly.
I am an avocado-loving/will-never-own-her-own home/spends-too-much-time-online Millennial.
Don’t worry, I’m not going to give you financial advice. Instead, I’ll give you a bit of insight into what life is like for this particular single, 26-year-old woman.
Like many other young people, I have dreams and goals, but most of the steps I’ve taken to reach them have been blocked by someone or something out of my power.
I’ve applied for entry-level jobs, for which I have all the required skills, but my lack of work experience means that I don’t land an interview. After an internship last summer at major Canadian retailer, I applied for five entry-level positions at the company. I did get interviewed but, ultimately, all of the jobs were given to candidates with more experience.
How am I supposed to get job experience if I can’t get a job?
Working at an office from 9-5 isn’t exactly my dream, but it would be the step that brings me closer my dream:
I want to be the next J.K. Rowling.
Being a full-time author is my dream. I want to write Young Adult novels and inspire the next generation of readers and writers. I know it’s not very realistic. To be an author, I would actually need to sit down and write a novel.
So, what’s stopping me? Money.
I wish I lived in a world where I didn’t have to worry about whether I’ll be able to pay my rent or wonder if I’ll have enough money to buy food, but like most people, I do. I have to delay my dreams in order to survive. I can’t focus on writing a novel when I’m trying to figure out how to make the $50 in my bank account stretch until my next payday, or decide whether I should buy groceries or make the minimum payment on my maxed-out credit card. That’s my reality.
Until recently, I was working a retail job making just over minimum wage. The hours varied— some days I’d start at 7 a.m., other days I’d work until 10 p.m.— but it never amounted to a full 40-hour work week.
So, I supplemented my income by working as a “Tasker” for TaskRabbit, doing odd jobs like building Ikea furniture on weekends and days off. When I got home, I would be too mentally, emotionally, and physically exhausted to focus on anything other than scrolling through social media and binge-watching Netflix.
Eventually, I landed another internship at the head office of the retail company, a continuation of the project I was working on during the previous internship. I get to do work that allows me to be creative and analytical. I like being part of a project that will have a positive impact for the business. I’m not as physically exhausted as it’s a normal work schedule.
But the need to prove myself and the anxiety of not knowing if I’ll get a full-time staff job when this project ends, is emotionally and mentally exhausting. And despite making more than minimum wage, I still worry about money. I earn $16/hour for a 37.5-hour work week. After taxes, I net $1,900 monthly. I share a 5-bedroom house with four guys, and my share of the rent is $800.
I still spend most evenings watching Netflix while I crochet beanies that I sell for extra money. If I didn’t have to worry about money, I could write. Yes, I could work on my novel, instead of writing for five hours (which pays nothing), I crochet one beanie that I can sell for $35.
What would need to change so I could write? I’d have to find a job that pays me well enough so I could have my own apartment. In Toronto, where I live, that means at least an annual salary of $50,000.
Then I could come home from my day job, cook a meal in my fully-stocked kitchen and then sit down at my desk, with no distractions, have a glass of wine, and become the author I’ve always wanted to be.