The Pressure on Millennials to “Blow” and “Make it”

The trajectory I grew up with all my life was to become a best selling award winning author; that’s the only way my career will make sense.

After all, how can you be a great singer but not be as popular as Beyoncé? How can you play football excellently well and never be as popular as Lionel Messi? How can you own your companies but never be as popular as Oprah Winfrey? So, I thought, how can I want to be a writer and not end up like Enid Blyton or Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie? I planned that after after attaining a height as an author, I’d get about 2–5 honorary doctorate degrees then go on to become a professor of English at a high-level University.

A millennial is someone born between 1981 and 1996.

There is a lot of pressure on people born within this time to be successful; and success isn't relative. You would never be seen as something or someone important if you do not have the accolades and fame to show for it. Gone are the days when a successful person was someone who had a job or a business, was being paid well and had access to luxury things. Now, such a person might just be considered wealthy (and might be said to be parents’ money). Success now is by how many people know you, how many social media followers you have, how many awards you have and most recently, how strong a relationship you have with celebrities, foreign people and/or businesses.

I told a couple of people last Christmas that I just wanted to earn well in a sustainable 9–5 company while being an author/teacher on the side and I was told to be ‘under ambitious’. Some people went on to plan my life for me (based on fame and power) that should be the way I’m to go. It’s a big problem really.

These are some things I have observed with millennials plus some facts:

  • Millennials are seriously divorced from reality because we’re tired.
  • We all do not want to be entrepreneurs: The myth that 9–5ers are slaves and would never amount to anything baffles me. Because if everyone really believed that and opted to be an entrepreneur, then who is going to work for you? If we’re all Arianna Huffington, then who’s going to help us run our company? We need to stop running with this idea, it’s false, harmful and weird.
  • Millennials are constantly faced with the prospect of failure.
  • We no longer agree to so many things/ideals that were passed onto us. It doesn't make us rebellious, it just makes us who we are. We no longer want to have people at weddings? Cool. We no longer want to allow culture perpetrate racist and sexist behaviour? Absolutely! Let us be please.
  • We are the jill & jacks of all trade: Millennials often get depressed because of a lack of clarity. Imagine Beyonce worrying her head off as to what career path to take. Singing? Acting? Dancing? Business? It’s endless. We can do it all! We must reject the shaming that we are mistresses/masters of none. I can write, sing, dance, act, organise, teach etc and I am not ashamed to say that I can do many things and do them all perfectly well.
  • Unlike those before us, we are obsessed with investing and saving more money than we spend because we’re always keeping in mind that an economic meltdown might be coming: We’re earning 20% less than our parents did.
  • There’s so much pressure on us to fix the errors of our parents and political leaders.

“What am I doing with my life?” …has become a question millennials have at some point asked themselves because things just started not looking right.

We’re just burnt out, hoping that we just have a good enough career that makes life worth living. Live life to the fullest keeping in mind that whether or not we are writers as popular as ourselves or as popular as JK Rowling, that we still are successful. There aren't any metrics for anything. You control your life, time, destiny and pathway.

So, dear millennial, breathe and relax. You’re not lazy and you don’t have to ‘blow’. Just keep working and living.

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