Are Millennials Saving the Economy by Bringing Back Small Business?

Millennials, anyone born between the years of 1982 and 2004, get a lot of flack for being the generation that is “lazy” or “unwilling”. I hear a lot about how all the millennials want is free stuff and to pass college without having to work for it. I’ll agree that there are some people in this world who are unwilling to suck it up and get a job or pay for college, but that doesn’t mean they are a millennial. There are undoubtedly lazy people in this world, and yes, there are damn sure some lazy millennials. But before we go harping on the generation Y, let’s probe the method to the madness.

Right now, there are plenty of jobs available in America. There are also an equal number of millennials that are uninterested in those jobs, therefor, they do not apply for them. Why? Because they aren’t qualified for them and have no desire to endure an extra two years of school, launching themselves further into the abyss of student loan debt, to *possibly* qualify for the job, or they flat out have no desire to work for that company. Why would anyone sit in a cubicle for half of their day and most of their week doing something that does not interest you one bit? Millennials have just figured out that you can work for yourself or pick up a trade and become an independent contractor, so that is what many of them are doing.

You can make a living by running your own small business from home. Not that you can necessarily become rich doing so, but the general consensus seems to be that most people prefer happiness over money. And with all of these buy, sell, trade apps that are made available to us for free, why on earth wouldn’t anyone want to just work for themselves and make some small cash on the side selling old appliances, dishes, clothes, etc? 10914648_1420952844867468_249821181_n

Online boutiques are becoming a hit among many women. They are easy to start, run, and if you have kids, it allows you to stay at home while operating a full-blown business. Even today, start-up risks for opening a boutique are scarce if you have done your research and know a thing or two about web design and function.

What’s more is that lots of guys nowadays care less about suits and ties and more about their talents or trades. I recently saw an article on a kid whose passion is being a butcher. He wants to have his own channel and open up his own shop, and he is well on his way according to his Instagram following! He was able to get sponsored, and now his business is fully functioning. He even teaches classes. Then you have those who still farm and ranch, which is a not-so-corporate position, yet takes twice the work and pays about 50% less. Still, there are farmers and ranchers doing what they do on a daily basis because they love it, and chances are they will keep that butcher in business in the grand scheme of things.

Generation Y has figured out that you don’t HAVE to earn a living. You have the right to live the way you want to live and no one is forcing us into corporate America. So what? Millennials don’t like being told when to show up, go to lunch, go pee, and go home. We have figured out that there are other ways to “earn” a living without succumbing to The Man. Colleges are the worst about it. They’ll preach to you all day about how you won’t get a great job right out of college and how you will spend the rest of your life paying off the debt (they were right about that part), and that there is just no way around it if you ever want to be a successful citizen. But who are they to tell us what will and won’t dictate our lives? Many of us wanted to go to college to simply leave home, not because we are actually SO intrigued by Media and Strategic Communications that we just had to study it in depth. Hell, most college kids have no idea what they want to be even half way through college. You can keep your $27,000/year salary. We were just there for the free beer on Wednesdays and new friends.

Although, I will say this: I got a great job right out of college. Granted, I started as an intern, but this place has been good to me and it didn’t take me long at all to prove my worth and promote. If you feel that you’re in a job that holds you to a standard that involves unrealistic expectations, then leave. That’s why a lot of millennials have contributed to the turnover rate in so many jobs; no one wants to feel inferior or like they are incapable of living up to someone else’s standards, so they ditch the job. And of course, there are people who demand raises that they don’t deserve, but for the most part, we are all well aware of the fact that you can’t ask for a $70,000 salary after being in a position for 2 months. It usually isn’t the money or the job itself that drives us away, it’s normally the boss or co-workers. Too many stipulations and regulations are annoying and no one HAS to stick around where they aren’t comfortable. If someone wants ‘X’ amount of time off each year, they should be granted that as long as it’s within reason. Or they should be granted to opportunity to work and travel at the same time. Who cares if you show up to the office as long as the work is done? That’s what email is for. Making someone show their face just for the sake of keeping them in the same office space all day in case something is needed isn’t “just a part of life”; it’s narcissism. What is, or should be, a real part of life is being afforded the time and necessities to travel and become well-versed humans. Not being required to fulfill and submit to a job title 360 days a year. Again, as long as the work is done, why bother with 7 meetings a day + eight hours spent in the office five days a week? Typical millennial ideology, huh?

Thus, the reason so many millennials are trying to find ways to work for themselves or operate a small business. And people are loving it! Personally, I won’t take my dogs to get groomed at PetCo. I take them to the pet business down the street that was opened by a local woman. I don’t eat out much, but when I do I prefer hole-in-the-wall restaurants over corporate companies such as Applebee’s or Chili’s. When I buy clothes, I hardly shop at Forever 21 anymore because I’d rather give my money to a girlfriend who has a boutique so that she can buy her son’s football jersey. If I need groceries, I still have to go to the store, but I love a good farmer’s market, and I love growing my own veggies. If I need something made out of leather or silver, I would rather support my local silversmith or leather shop instead of purchase what I need from Ace Hardware or Atwoods.

I could go on for days about supporting small businesses, and that may be the key to a healthier economy. Gone are the days when you could walk to Mr. Roger’s general store for a candy stick and a pound of ground  beef. If millennials want to stop working for corporate america to earn a living on their own time and their own watch, good! Support them. Ask them about their goods and services. Earning a living is not limited to getting to work at 8 a.m. just to sit behind a desk all day doing things for someone else, it’s only one way to do it.

So if someone tells you that hating your job is just “part of life”, they’re wrong. Maybe it was part of their life, but it most certainly does not have to be part of yours.




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