It’s always easy for older generations to focus on what’s bad about the generations that come after them, but as Pam Majumdar suggests in her post last Friday, Gen Z’s predecessors might also benefit from taking some pointers from them.
For all of Gen Z’s downsides – poor social skills and boundaries to name a couple – they hold an attitude about work that the older generations can learn from. They care more about creating a good life than simply finding a high-paying job to pay for a mortgage on a 4000 square-foot house. When Gen Zers enter the workforce, they’ll look for work that they want instead of taking a job willy-nilly.
And really, this attitude about work makes sense. It does more than make sense, it almost seems like it should be a requirement for the way we live our lives: do work that you want to do. Why should we live our lives any other way? Why should we live hating every waking minute of Monday through Friday and spending Sundays wishing it were already Friday again? It’s Gen Z (Gen Yers are similar) that has really figured out that this is no way to live.
The idea of only taking jobs that you want to do is great. I can be a cheerleader for that. In fact, I’m not just a cheerleader for it; I’m on the field playing in the game. But I’m also a realist. You know why I can take time without a yearly salary to better my skills and network for hours and hours a week to find people who want to do a startup? I have no debt. None. Zilch. Zip. Zero.
Growing up, my parents’ version of religion was teaching me about finances – going into debt for anything other than a mortgage was akin to making a deal with the devil. For this reason, even after all the stupid mistakes that I made in my 20s, I always knew I could not take out student loans or carry a balance on a credit card.
Waiting to take the right job is great in theory. But if you have some hefty student loans, can you afford to wait? Consider this: the average student debt from 2011 was $23,000. Using an online calculator to play around with the numbers can give you the facts about what you will have to pay per month when you finish college.
Let’s just say that you are going to graduate in 2012 with $15,000 in loans at a fixed interest rate of 3.4 percent for (that’s the rate for undergraduate subsidized loans) for 10 years, the standard timeframe for repaying loans. Let’s do some math:
If you’re college bound and don’t have the financial means to pay, make it easier on yourself. Go to a community college. You can do up to two years at a junior college and use it toward a four-year degree, (provided you take the right courses). One thing that many people don’t realize is that if you do well in community college, you can apply for scholarships to four-year colleges.
There’s just no way around making sacrifices. And if anyone tells you differently he’s trying to sell you something.