What is this movement we speak of? Well ending world hunger, mitigating climate change, working to stop the loss of another life, as a result of gun violence and standing up for injustice everywhere. All of which are honorable causes and like many people, you are willing to sacrifice blood, sweat, tears and even financial stability at the hopes of creating social impact. As millennials we find ourselves, going to school, working, volunteering and putting in 100+ hours a week. And at the same time we’re struggling to eat, find transportation or even participate in the “fancy” fundraising events that we organize. Crowdsourcing your life ain’t cute. Have no fear, your uncertified life coaches, Jordan Howard and Jamira Burley are here to help you, help yourself.
1. Be strategic about your unpaid internships
Listen and listen well… there is nothing wrong with one or even two unpaid internships on your resume because everyone needs to get experience somewhere, but if you are letting someone talk you into taking the 15th unpaid internship, please have several seats. It’s pretty clearly you’ve got experience in your chosen field. It’s important to recognize that people will continue to accept free labor as long as you allow them to. Oh and for my underemployed friends who have been doing this work for the last ten years because like true bosses they started when they were 15 years old, stop letting people pay you enough to only cover your rent, learn not to accept the first offer or take a leap of faith and ask for the raise your clearly deserve. Unless you plan on taking advice from the CEO of Microsoft, wait on good karma to give you the raise you deserve. When you have file for SNAP because you decided to take an internship, fellowship, or a full time job, that can careless about your quality of life, you are putting the movement before your personal sustainability. And my tax dollars.
2. Stopping letting your social justice + tree hugging friends, convince you to donate your rent money.
Crowdfunding to help creative campaigns and businesses launch has turned into your Facebook friends casually requesting you to crowdfund their whole lives. Road trips to strikes, bail money after being arrested at the strike, conference fees and rent if they’re bold. We know the struggle is real, but technology has made our generation skip the thought of bootstrapping and go right into begging like those non-stop, “it’s election time Democrat emails”. Before you help your friend fundraise for gas money to march in Ferguson, encourage them to take a hard look at their bank account and decide if they can afford it. We aren’t telling you to stop them from making an impact but help them to think more strategic about their efforts and hopefully you’ll be able to pay your rent on time.
3. If women deserve equal pay, so do millennials
Across the nation, women are still not receiving equal pay for equal work. In fact, it takes Latinas more than 21 months to make what White men make in one year. Let’s talk about the young people who are also putting in just as many hours (if not more because we feel like we have something to prove) and sacrificing just as much (because yes we have bills, ridiculous school fees to pay and some of us even have families to support) but no one is organizing twitter town halls and creating hashtags to fight for equal pay for us. By the way, we aren’t suggesting the Oppression Olympics. Let’s stop letting non-profits + corporations pay you internship rates while you have a full-time employee’s workload. Enough of allowing non-profits and corporations to take advantage of your age and passion.
4. Own your expertise
Yo, You’re a boss. Your friends, co-workers and even the people who want to hire you know it. That’s why they want to hire you. You may not have letters before or after your name, (unless you count the cheerios you dropped on your resume) but what you do have is experience, personal connection to the communities you’re fighting for, a large network of people who will work with you, all of which makes you extremely valuable for any organization. Your supervisor or the Executive Director is not doing you a favor by hiring you. You have value and with value comes a check. A check that will allow you to take care of your needs and even a few wants. Many times we are guilted to accepting less in the social justice world because we are passionate. For some reason we have accepted the idea of wanting or accepting less due to our purpose. Contrary to popular belief, passion ain’t sustainable. It’s cute to do work that fuels your passion and keeps you excited. We’re told that doing what you love makes a human happy. If it makes you happy in the moment but leaves you stressed, isolated and you can’t even look good doing it because you’re broke… What’s the point? That doesn’t sound healthy. And maybe money isn’t the only form of collateral, ask yourself what else are you getting. Are you gaining a meaningful experience? Is your boss giving you opportunities to grow outside of the organization? Is your employer widening your network and seeking meaningful opportunities for you? Are you building a portfolio that can take you to the next level? Are you stepping out of your comfort zone? It is helping you or just time consuming?
5. Look who’s hiring
Of course we couldn’t end our #EducatedShade without a direct action… usually like we like receiving gifts, but we’ve heard it’s better to give. The following organizations understand that you can work for the betterment of humans, trees or animals without the struggle being real. Check out some of our homies that are hiring : Center for American Progress, Young People For, Advocates for Youth , Fair Elections Legal Work , Rock the Vote and more that you can take time to look for. Disclaimer : We are not sure how much any of these positions pay, or if they even pay at all. Respect our transparency.