My experience as a millennial so far…

 
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A quick google search and you can find the meaning of a millennial:

a person reaching young adulthood in the early 21st century

So basically if you were born late eighties, early nineties you are a millennial. You may have been born while Whitney Houston or Wham blasted their greatest hits. You most likely listened to Backstreet Boys, Spice Girls and rocked fluffy bobbles in your hair and told everyone in school Britney Spears was your cousin. Ok, maybe the last bit was just me?

We also grew up in a time of great change, we may have been old enough to remember the death of Princess Diana, the atrocities of 9/11 in New York and 7/7 in London. We most likely remember going to war with Iraq and hunting down Bin Laden.

Our experiences go deeper than that, most of us would have finished education either at school, college or undergraduate level during the height of the recession. I remember my lecturer telling me that he felt sorry for us, as we were graduating in 2011 at the worst possible time. Many struggled to find jobs and if they did find jobs their wages scarcely covered their rent.

During my undergraduate I worked part time at a retailer and often took pubs jobs in the summer just to make ends meet! I graduated in 2011 and I was fortunate enough to be promoted to a manager for the retailer I was working for. I even managed to wangle myself an assistant manger job of two stores at the newly openly Westfield, Stratford, London. While working there I was lucky enough to serve many Paralympians and the Jamaican running team.

I earned around £1200 a month after tax. My rent was £750 including bills, my tube £140. So a basic calculation shows you I didn’t have much left for food. I didn’t care though I was living just off Brick Lane, I spent my Sunday’s rummaging around vintage stores with my bestie and eating street food.

Shortly after the Olympics finished I decided retail management was bloody hard work! I often worked 7am – 10pm and I wasn’t just strutting around in heels I was climbing ladders, unpacking and putting away around 1000 shoes a day! I didn’t even stop to eat, I just stepped outside every few hours for a cigarette and Diet Coke (sorry Mum and Mother in Law). So I got myself an office job on £18500 a year. Again my rent was £9000 a year and my tube £1680 … are we seeing a pattern for lack of disposal income yet? I ended up working 5 days a week in an office and then Saturdays and often Sundays at my previous retailer!

This is probably for me one of the most definitive aspects of being a millennial; low wages, sky high rent and living in an overdraft. I had a good job, I worked hard but yet I had no disposable income.

I know for millennial families getting on the property ladder is near impossible unless you are lucky enough to live rent free to save, inherit or spend many years saving. I can’t even begin to imagine how difficult it is for single parent millennials or those who are classed as ‘low income.’ I also hear that waiting lists for council houses are only ever rising.

Aside from financial issues we are in a new age not experienced by our parents at our age. Dating has changed phenomenally, now people meet online through apps like tinder, rather than the usual pub chat up line. We love social media and most likely spend a lot of time liking and retweeting. Am I the only person who sees people in the street and thinks ‘I follow them on social media, should I say hi? Or is that weird?’ It’s fascinating. We want everything instantly; we check our banking on our phone, we have amazon prime, we have i player. I don’t even watch the television live anymore I just watch one series at a time.

We also face a lot of backlash. Many ‘baby boomers’ comment we are frivolous with our money wasting it on ‘lattes and avocados.’ Maybe this is true, but maybe this is a broad generalisation. I won’t get political but many millennials were anti- Brexit and who knows what will happen there?

I am intrigued to see what the future holds for us millennials, let hope sunshine and rainbows are in store!

A toast to the MILLENNIALS!

 
 
Kelly Yasmin Bayley