When surveyed, 40% of millennials, born between ’82 and ’03, would rather make $40,000 a year at a job they love than $100,000 a year at a job they considered boring. You should probably stick your plastic fork back into your ramen before you stab yourself with it.
It’s a phenomenon that can’t simply be written off to youthful exuberance or lack of responsibilities, either. This trend is going to be for life. USC Senior Fellow Morley Winograd said in the Wall Street Journal, “People form lifelong beliefs about how the world works between the ages of 17-25, and once formed, they rarely change.”
What does this mean for you? Lower salaries, for one. If companies can give you a playroom like Google and tell you they recycle instead of paying you, trust me, they’re going to – and I’m sure plenty of you reading this would kill to make even $40,000 a year. Still, Minograd and his fellow millennial expert, Michael Hais, argue that today’s postgrads have “such liberal and contrary views about social responsibility, personal wealth, and financial institutions that they stand to reorder the priorities of corporate America,” even to their detriment.
Still, I can’t help but think that there is at least merit to the idea. I made good money in a job I couldn’t stand with people I couldn’t stand and now I’m never looking to work in an office again. After a year of overnighters, weight gain, constant stress over easily avoidable problems, I honestly do value quality of life over income. Still, when presented with the entry-level versus six figures option, it gets to a point where the pro/con balance tips over to the side of the money. There’s a reason why even the most independent artists sell out so they can put food on the table.
There’s no nobility in poverty, regardless of what our generation seems to believe, but it seems that at the same time none of us expect to be royal as long as we’re happy.