Are you young? Unemployed? Underemployed? Up to your eyeballs in student debt? Crying yourself to sleep at night?
I have a solution for you.
It’s cheaper and a whole lot more fun.
They say the millennial generation is a selfish one, and that we only care about our own happiness. We’ll leave jobs that are unfulfilling on a whim, and, after years of helicopter moms, technology, and earning points simply for showing up, we are demanding and selfish.
I say, good. People should be concerned with their happiness. If you aren’t happy, you can’t make others happy. Who wants to be around someone who is miserable? Unhappy people don’t change the world.
And if you’re unhappy in your current situation, you should change it. It’s easier than you think—it just takes some motivation.
In today’s weak economy, there aren’t many professional jobs available, and a gig at Starbucks or Wal-Mart isn’t going to pay your $100,000 student debt. A lot of people tell me, “Matt, I would love to travel more, but I’m broke. My job doesn’t even cover my rent. I’ll never be able to travel. This is all a pipe dream.”
Bullshit. It’s only a pipe dream if you let be a pipe dream.
If your job doesn’t cover your bills, quit and find a job elsewhere — there are plenty of them around the world.
Stop struggling with underemployment and instead do something about it. Your time is better spent traveling the world, learning about life, and developing skills you can use when the economy gets better and there are more and better-paying jobs available back home. Economic studies have shown that once you enter the cycle of underemployment, it’s hard to break free. You’re always trying to stay afloat. The informative book Nickel and Dimed by Barbara Ehrenreich discusses in depth how people get trapped in a cycle of poverty.
So don’t enter the cycle—skip work in America, go overseas, travel, and work abroad instead.
Instead of making $10 an hour, use the skills you already have (the ability to speak English) and teach overseas, earning thousands of dollars a month in countries that cost hundreds to live in. Use the remainder to take care of your loan payments. I know people who walked away from South Korea with over $20,000 saved up after a year. Chances are you aren’t currently at a job that lets you save that much. That money can pay off a big chunk of student loans.
Or go to Australia, get a working holiday visa, and find a job there.
Or work on a yacht while sailing the world (minimal yachting skills required).
Think outside the box. The system is rigged against us and keeps you in debt. You’ll be hard-pressed to find a job that utilizes your degree in 13th century French literature. Corporations are downsizing quickly, globalization has made labor cheap, and boomers are holding on to jobs because they can’t afford to retire due to the recent downturn.
The only way to win the game is by not playing it.
Your parents will tell you you’re foolish. People will say it’s unwise. But most people are wrong. They tell you to stick to what they know because “it’s what you’re supposed to do.”
But when you are 100k in debt and working at Starbucks, do you really have much left to lose? Bankruptcy doesn’t even eliminate student debt. Once you have it, you’re stuck with it forever.
Find a better way. Something that will pay off your debt, be a lot more fun, and give you money to travel with.
It’s better than living in your parents’ basement feeling anxious about your bills.