Lessons I’m Learning: Is It Really All About The Benjamins?



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Money. Guap. Bands. Coins. Racks. Stacks. Whatever you call the currency in your pockets, it without a doubt makes the world go round. And with the holidays right around the corner, it seems that we are always looking for ways to make our cash to stretch a little bit further this time of year.

But that’s not why I pen this post. As a proud millennial looking to change the world around me, I’m consciously making sure that the decisions I make on the daily are cost effective. Okay, you could also blame that mindset on the PR/Marketing maven in me– but honestly, it’s been a popular topic in the news lately: are we millennials really getting adequately paid enough for the work that we do?

Some of you may say, “Why yes– I am compensated quite nicely for the work that I do.” Others may not agree and exclaim, “I work way too many long hours and I’m not paid even as much as I should be!” (And of course, this all depends on the sector you work in.)  I can say that I’ve been on both sides of the spectrum, but I will say that the latter finds me a little less stressed and enjoying the work that I do more. As my Granny told me as a child, “Baby, you gotta earn your keep — no one likes a freeloader!”

Forbes posted an article that speaks to this exact point. Although we millennials find ourselves attending 75  meetings back-to-back, attending numerous networking events and being the first in the office to arrive and sometimes the last to leave, this gives us a sense of validation– a sense of belonging. You could actually say it combats the feeling of entitlement (we’ll get back to that shortly though.) But does it ever occur to you that the hard work you put in (40+ hours/week) sometimes doesn’t equal the dollars on your paycheck?

Coincidentally, author of the best-seller “And More ~ing to Your Life”  and motivational speaker Gabby Bernstein posted this on her Facebook page last week:

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(Btw: if you didn’t have the chance to catch the powerful episode of OWN’s Super Soul Sunday featuring Gabby, Mastin Kipp and Marie Forelo, you can check it out here – enjoy!)

When I first saw this initially, I’ll admit — I was quick to get defensive (like some of the people that commented on her status did) but then I had to stop a realize the underlying point that she was really trying to make. As some of you may or may not know, I work for an education nonprofit here in DC as a member of AmeriCorps. While I am far from sitting on racks on racks on racks, I really enjoy the work that I do and the value that I feel that I bring to the team. Prior to working in the nonprofit sector, I worked for three PR agencies. And as grateful as I am for those experiences, I didn’t feel that I added value to those organizations. Now that I am actually having a creative hand in the work that I do daily, I am able to take much more responsibility for my outcomes now than ever. Hence why Gabby’s post of Mastin’s quote makes so much sense. It’s our talent, our passion and over all zest for our careers that makes use the most valuable.

We need money to survive– there’s no way around it. But it isn’t everything. Yes, I said it — MONEY ISN’T EVERYTHING. Since becoming a VISTA, I’ve learned how scale back on things that I was used to doing/buying when I worked in the ‘plush’ world of public relations agency. And trust me– it was nice having sizable paychecks direct deposited into my account every two weeks, but this experience has ultimately taught me how to utilize the resources around me and not be afraid to ask for help. In addition, I’ve put so much more of myself in the work that I do. And as I prepare to embark on possibly attending graduate school next fall, I definitely will look back on this VISTA experience with the utmost gratitude.

So what’s the moral of the story? Work hard, be super nice to people and the cash flow will come. Millennials, take this time in whatever position you may be in to focus on building substantial relationships. And if you are making enough money and then some, that’s great! Just make sure you’re saving just a little bit for a rainy day every now and then. (Popping bottles in VIP and making it rain in the club every weekend gets old real quick friend–just saying.) This generation of millennials never ceases to amaze me, so I’m confident that the long hours of research, data entry and planning will most definitely pay off for us all the near future. But for right now, I will continue to take advantage of the opportunity that is in my grasp and make an impact on the lives of young people in this community that are within my reach.

-Chasity

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