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The Inner Resistance Of The New Millennial

As a generation, something has changed, and it's no longer willing to sit beneath the surface.

Millennials Before COVID

I remember my life before COVID. I can hold glimpses back into my long, 45-minute commutes to and from work and daycare with my toddler in the back, strapped snugly into his carseat. He, babbling away while listening in on the client calls that I couldn't fit in while at the office that day. I can hold those memories for a small time but when I pop out of them again, I get the same feeling I have after watching a scary movie. When it ends, you feel relief that it is not actually your real life.

I know that was my real life back then, and yet resonates with me now at all. It was status quo, I didn't even think to question the stress, the constant need to work - even when driving my toddler home or being ill. It was the expectation and, as a good Millennial, I was trained to meet it at any cost. It was called 'success'.

It was the expectation and, as a good Millennial, I was trained to meet it at any cost. It was called 'success'.

One evening in late February 2020, it took my son and me three hours to get home due to a nasty ice storm. We walked into our house, exhausted, dropping overpacked bags of work gear and winter clothing in heaps on the floor. It was 7:30 p.m. I had left my office at 4:30 p.m. I was drained, tired, low on patience, and devoid of any real ability to feel emotion and I told my wife that night that I was done.

I was done with the commute and living so far away from work and daycare. But, something else deep inside me was done with more than that. I had been tolerating the stress, the exhaustion, the overworked-underpaid existence I was living and an inner resistance was finally rising against it. A few months later, right after we put our house on the market and went under contract, COVID shutdowns were put in place and we were unable to leave our home.

The irony wasn't lost on me of being "done" and then having a massive global shutdown. But the world became a scary place after that, and for those of us at home, time slowed down to a screeching halt. For me personally, it meant hours once passed multi-tasking on a highway turned into slow, quiet, bundled-up long strolls with a toddler on lunch breaks.

Millennials After COVID

We all became separated into our own experiences during the shutdown. Many of us were risking our lives, helping many while watching an unprecedented number of others rapidly deteriorate from an unknown and non-compliant virus. A large group of us were alone and felt loneliness and isolation like never before. Then others were holding children in one arm and our laptops in another 24/7 trying to succeed at everything while feeling like we were failing at it all. Despite different experiences though, we all were relearning the same thing: The value of time. Whether there was too much of it or not enough, we were remembering again, back to our youth and across generations of our ancestors, just how much value it holds.

..we all were relearning the same thing: The value of time. Whether there was too much of it or not enough, we we remembering again, back to our youth and across generations of our ancestors, just how much value it holds.

Fast forward to 2023 and the post-COVID world is still trying to regain its 'normalcy'. Offices are open and people are expected to go back to the jobs, the way it was before. But, we can't. We physically get in our cars and drive there, we sit in front of the register, or the patient, or at our computers. We are physically there. Yet, emotionally and mentally we are not. That's the funny thing about awareness. Once you become aware, it doesn't just go away. We now find ourselves beholden to an outdated system that relies on the past, while we - most certainly - have moved on.

The Boom Of The Side Hustle

Productivity became a hot topic for a while concerning remote work vs. return-to-office debate. At first, there was "People are just as productive if not more, working from home." Remote work soared and businesses grew. Then companies started running into the issue of all of the empty office space. Hybrid became a thing as offices reopened. Some companies chose to stay fully remote, some chose hybrid and others created full back-to-office mandates. As leadership teams struggled to come up with clear and firm directives on which avenue to take, employees became more clear on which option(s) they were willing to accept. The thing is, there is no one-size-fits-all for office work. Some of us work better in human-to-human, collaborative environments, while others prefer to work in the comfort of their home where we can maintain a healthier work/life balance for ourselves.

However, as we saw Corporate America trying to pull us back into old ways, many of us obliged while others did not. Some of us left those jobs and some of us are still physically sitting at our desks, but our minds and souls are elsewhere.

In fact, according to a recent study in 2022, 60% of people reported being emotionally detached at work in 2022, and 19% reported being miserable. And, according to Pew Research, over 35% of the current workforce are Millennials (those born between 1981 and 1996), making us the largest generation in the workforce currently.

That's 56 million working Millennials, 33.6 million of whom are unhappy in their jobs. We're not the only generation to feel these effects either. Younger generations are right at their heels. Gen-Zers are swallowed by large educational debt, a troubling job market, and crippling inflation prices. This generation's primary concerns are with struggling finances due to the pandemic and the effects of inflation. Ypulse listed inflation as the top concern of 2022 for Gen-Z

So, with ever-expanding expenses, lower job prospects, mass layoffs, a rising discontent with work in general, and a fear of what the future holds, it makes sense that right now Gen-Z and Millennials are finding new ways to survive. 40% - 50% of Gen-Z and Millennials now have a side hustle because they feel they can't live comfortably or safely on the salary that their primary job rings in.

Not everyone is successful at bringing money in from a side hustle, but those who are going on to 'fire' their bosses, work for themselves, and can bring in upwards of millions of dollars. That's enticing to a few generations full of worried, financially strained, and emotionally removed workers. So, how are so many people becoming successful at this anyway?

Artificial Intelligence And The Future Of Working For Yourself

Artificial Intelligence is developing so quickly that it's hard to keep up. But, I try, because I'm a little bit obsessed with its capabilities. Don't get me wrong, it's a sharp tool, and like any tool when wielded responsibly, it does amazing things. When used irresponsibly, it can do immense harm.

If we focus on one thing it does well though, I believe it's level the playing field for everyone in one core way: skillset. Let's take Digital Marketing as a single example. You used to have to be a skilled marketer with a wealth of experience and education to lead a solid marketing strategy. Now, with AI, you just need a tool like FounderPal or ChatGPT (among many, many others). Digital Marketing is single-handedly one of the most vital skills any person can have now. If you know how to promote yourself or your service you can tell a story, bring value to people, and get people interested. It serves you in any aspect of your life, especially if you have an online business. With AI tools, everyone now has access to that skill set if they know the right prompts or the right tools to use and have internet access. While we as humans still bring the essential parts to the content like personal story and creativity, AI can get you part of the way there with a solid foundation to start and save you a ton of time and frustration.

So, replace years of experience and formal education, now you just need a computer and some good prompting skills. That excites me. If you've ever felt like you lacked the skills to do something but you have the motivation, AI helps you gain those skills more quickly and affordably than ever! Everyone should have the opportunity to bring their knowledge to the world and I truly believe AI provides that opportunity by breaking down previous barriers to entry. That's exactly why I founded RebelSoul Digital so that women everywhere (especially those who identify as non-techies) can leverage the skills of AI to help them become more financially secure and independent!

We don't need to rely on someone else's dream, a slim paycheck, or a request for PTO to be approved. We can own our autonomy, freedom of time, and financial stability. That is the future of the digital workforce! The old way isn't the only way anymore! The inner resistance can win!

Millennials and Gen-Z'rs we have an opportunity to ride the wave of AI as it's taking off, build an income stream that provides and connects with our values! The answer to our lost work morale isn't found in another free lunch day or a pool table in the office, it's found in our purpose and our free time. Let's take that back!

For more resources and to get started learning AI, visit our Freebies and Workbooks and Guides pages for some great ways to get started.


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