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Three Reasons Why Millennials Struggle to Find Direction

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Baby boomers and older generations alike believe millennials struggle to find direction. Truthfully? They’re not wrong. Twenty-somethings today face a completely irregular and unique set of challenges in our modern economy and culture.

In 2016, marriage isn’t a necessity. Owning a home in your twenties is a far fetched dream for most. Being a parent in modern times isn’t a social norm for everyone. Going to college to earn a degree no longer guarantees you a strong, lifelong career. Nesting a healthy percentage of income towards a 401K or comparable retirement account is rare.

These days, traditional values are either lost on millennials or entirely unrealistic to achieve. Too many twenty-somethings find themselves tens of thousands of dollars in debt after college, only to land their first job with a $35,000 median salary. Most of these same millennials have to move back home with their parents to pay off their college loans while also staying fed and having a roof over their heads.

It’s no mystery that the economy has taken a toll on millennials finding well-paying jobs, even with degrees and competitive experience.

Similarly, financial shortcomings prevent millennials from moving forward with relationships and families. Saving money to fund a wedding can prove to be difficult, while having the financial support to raise children is even more of a struggle. Unfortunately, this is the reality in 2016.

Collectively, these limitations have shaped millennials to struggle to find direction. In short, adulthood lacks a road map.

At GenTwenty, we know these struggles all too well. Many of our contributors have faced their own challenges, which is why we want to identify the core reasons why millennials struggle to find direction.

1. It’s harder than ever to find a stable, fruitful career.

As aforementioned, landing a full-time job with incredible wages isn’t the norm. Most millennials come out of college lucky to earn much more than minimum wage. The cost of living is high, earnings are average, and undoubtedly millennials struggle to make ends meet.

According to one study, 37% of millennials are unemployed altogether. Finding direction without a reliable, consistent income and career path undoubtedly leaves millennials feeling powerless, and ultimately directionless.

2. Choosing one career path is uncertain.

Culturally and economically, our nation moves in trends. Much like fashion statements and music styles, the economy and our culture ebb and flow. For a span of years print journalism seems like a sure thing, but then the next decade brings along a new technological advancement that makes former careers obsolete.

It’s difficult to time when to enter a professional field, and how long it will even exist. Similarly, earning the right educational background paired with the ideal experience take time to develop. By the time some millennials complete their programs, it’s a shock to discover their “dream career” no longer exists! This ever-changing market makes millennials lose sight of their direction.

3. Weighing work and home impacts choices.

With the economy being so uncertain, many millennials struggle to balance work and the idea of a home life. While marriage and children might be important for some twenty-somethings, others put career first because the cost of living is so high.

It’s difficult to feed yourself half the time, that the idea of starting a family can feel all too great. For some, pursuing work is more of a sure thing, whereas starting a family can seem more stressful and unrealistic. Again, choices like this have the power to impact millennials’ values and goals in life. This, naturally, can have that directionless feeling.

There’s no rhyme or reason to why millennials struggle to find direction. Truthfully, we can only make assertions based on our own experiences and market trends.

The bulk of the obstacles twenty-somethings make comes from career struggles. Many of us question what education we should reach for, what types of jobs we would be good at, and how to negotiate a comfortable salary. Some of these challenges prove easier to overcome than others.

What it all comes down to is finding the direction that fits you best.

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About the Author

Rachael Warren (Tulipano)

Rachael is a University of Southern Maine graduate with a Bachelor of Arts in Communication and a minor in Sociology. She remotely works full-time as a Senior Content Marketing Specialist for Champlain College in Burlington, Vermont. In her leisure time, Rachael enjoys traveling with her husband, finding the next Netflix series to binge, and taking too many photos of her dogs Jax and Kai. Rachael is obsessed with chapstick, favors the Oxford comma, and is a proud Mainer. You'll likely find her exploring New England + beyond.