With a Great Recession in the rearview mirror and an unfolding crisis in the COVID-19 pandemic, there’s no doubt at this point that Millennials have been dealt a bad hand. In fact, they’ve even been labeled the “unluckiest generation,” as this group of 21st-century individuals has faced the worst growth in gross domestic product (GDP) when compared to all other American generations.
No matter how you cut it, there are plenty of things to gripe about, but those negative attitudes are hardly productive. They don’t heal past injustices or conquer current challenges. If you’re a Millennial looking for a way to overcome the odds, the good news is that it’s never been easier to change careers, relocate, and generally hit that big, red “reset” button.
From remote work trends to easier-than-ever travel and relocation opportunities, here is the Millennial’s guide to a life pivot leading to a fresh start.
Take a Deep Breath and Look Around
It’s important to start any “resetting” efforts by simply taking a deep breath, stepping back from your current situation, and looking around at your options. The Great Recession may have led to a rocky start to your career, and the coronavirus may be upending what little momentum you attained since, but that doesn’t mean everything is over. Strive to keep that mindset — this is still just getting started. A few questions you can ask yourself include:
- What is your financial health? Are you deep in debt? Do you have any ongoing financial commitments? Do you have cash or assets you can liquidate?
- What is the situation with your family and friends? Do you have relationships that will suffer if you move away? How can you plan to stay in touch and maintain these remotely?
- Where is your career? Are you thriving and simply need to find a similar position elsewhere? Are you atrophying and looking for a career pivot? Is it finally time to quit that 9-to-5 rat race and make a career out of a long-held interest or passion?
As you size up your situation, it will naturally help to provide direction for where you should go and what you should do next.
Review (or Create) Big Picture Goals
If you’re a planner, you likely have had short- and long-term goals set for quite a while now. If you’re like most others, you probably never bothered to set goals in the first place.
Either way, once you’ve taken stock of your situation, take some time to revisit and update past goals or create entirely new ones (or both!). It’s wise to do this before you start looking at relocation and work options — especially in the 21st-century when changing jobs regularly and adapting to new tech can make goals feel dated very quickly.
A few suggestions for things to consider as you set (or reset) your personal goals are:
- Are you looking to live in a specific area? For instance, states like Connecticut and Maryland and cities like Des Moines and Seattle are well-known for their career growth opportunities.
- What are your ideal living arrangements? Do you want to live in an urban, suburban, or rural environment? Do you want to rent or own your home?
- Do you need to work in an office or is remote work an option? Working from home can allow you to live anywhere you’d like, can save you a bundle on living expenses, and remote work positions are becoming both varied and easy to find.
Remember, these are guidelines. They should help orient you in a specific direction, but they shouldn’t be too rigid, either. They’ll need to bend and adapt to whatever options real-life presents to you.
Consider the Logistics
Once you’ve considered where you are now, where you’re trying to go, and how you may want things to look once you get there, it’s time to start putting everything into action.
Find cities or states you want to live in, look for work in those areas (or remote work that would free you up to move there), and research the cost of living. It’s wise to begin your fresh start in a “long-term vacation” mindset. This will allow you to experiment for weeks and even months at a time without fully committing to larger things like an apartment lease or a mortgage.
Eventually, after you’ve moved and started working, you’ll want to start looking for different housing options. Millennials have already made a name for themselves as reluctant homeowners, but that doesn’t mean you have to be pinned down to renting. Consider your own situation specifically. Do you prefer an apartment, a townhouse, a condo, or a single-family home? As you start generating paychecks and learning more about the local cost of living, make sure to set budgets, too, so that you stay financially healthy.
Finally, maintain your connections to your past. Don’t burn bridges simply because you’re starting fresh. Communicate with those who you care about and vice versa.
Taking Matters into Your Own Hands
Millennials may be facing steep challenges as a generation, but that doesn’t mean they’re doomed. On the contrary, it simply gives them an opportunity to take matters into their own hands and make the best of their situation. Often that comes in the form of a fresh start — an option that has never been easier to put into action than in the here and now, as the promising 21st-century unfolds.
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About Beau Peters