I have been actively looking for full-time employment in my field since graduating in 2009.
While I’d like to blame it on the recession (although that has a lot to do with it), I won’t deny the role I’ve played or the decisions I’ve made (or lack thereof) for my career.
By no means has it been easy. Aside from working professionally unsatisfying jobs, the reactions I receive are interesting. And, at times, they're just plain hurtful.
Here are five comments that get under my skin every time:
"Have you thought about doing something different?"
While this question seems harmless, it comes across as, “Since it’s not working for you in this field, how about you call it quits and set your sights elsewhere?”
Is that what we’ve become? A group of people who encourage our friends and family to quit?
And for some people, they’ve known who and what they wanted to be since they were little kids. So, it might not be that easy to just "do something different."
Unless people are currently unemployed when you make this statement, chances are they have thought about doing something different.
How could they not? And if they are employed, not only have they thought about it, but they are actually doing something different.
"If I were you, I’d…"
This statement never goes over well regardless of the situation.
Though you may not realize it, this is what’s happening: You’re giving advice about something you are not going through and have never gone through, but you presume you know what you would do if you ever did.
That’s a lot like taking marital advice from someone who’s single, or financial advice from someone that can’t save sh*t.
If I were you, I'd steer clear of this type of statement.
"Are you trying?"
There’s no appropriate answer to this question.
Not only is it insulting, but it makes the people you’re talking to feel worse about themselves and their situations.
They know they could — and should be doing — more than serving tables, but times are different. The job market has changed.
It takes time, and asking if they are trying doesn’t help; it just hurts.
"At least you have a job."
In this economy, this is such a real statement. And in many ways, it’s so true.
However, if you’ve ever worked a job just so you wouldn’t be homeless and in debt, you know there is more to just having any job.
By nature, Millennials are ambitious, driven and determined to take the route less traveled in order to make their dreams realities.
Being at a job that doesn’t align with your career goals, help you progress personally and professionally or make you feel like a useful part of society can make you feel less than.
Not only are you discouraged, but you are uninspired and, in some cases, bitter. And nobody wants to be around those people, let alone hire them.
A better approach would be reminding people in this position about their strengths, and help them build on those, in order to keep their minds off the jobs they dread going to daily.
"Why work for someone else when you can become your own boss?"
Everywhere you turn, people are claiming to do things #LikeABoss.
It makes the offer that much more tempting, but the truth is, not everyone is boss material.
All people don't want to be bosses owning their own businesses, they just want to do what they love and get paid for it.
Don’t impose your entrepreneurial dreams on them.
Their minds are already set; they’re just waiting for the opportunity.