THE REAL PROBLEM WITH THE MILLENNIAL JOB MARKET – New Rules Novel | New Rules Novel

EMMA - CHAPTER 18 - (6 Min Read)

THE REAL PROBLEM WITH THE MILLENNIAL JOB MARKET

The whole job market process is broken. Throw it away and rebuild. The industry needs a Napster to come in and blow it up so the next Steve Jobs can engineer something that doesn’t suck the soul out of you. I can’t even imagine what it would be like for someone unemployed with a family, or trying to find something in the middle of the crash.

“It should be an interaction based around people sharing what they love to do and getting excited about doing it together, instead we have this.”

Finding a job should be a time of opportunity, meeting new people and talking about yourself, it should be an awesome experience – so why has it been reduced to such bullshit. A sea of paperwork and emails. It should be an interaction based around people sharing what they love to do and getting excited about doing it together. Instead we have this. I’ve applied for loads of different jobs, ‘connecting’ with all these recruiters with almost nothing to show for it. No wonder we are moving to a freelance economy.

The party had been a hit, Vince was stoked, but I was more relived than happy. It was anticlimactic to nail something and then not to feel valued afterwards. So now I’m sitting uptown, in the waiting area for an interview, pondering if perhaps disrupting Monster & LinkedIn is my destiny. Letting my mind run away on me as I stare at some abstract painting of the New York skyline.

I flicked through my phone, grimacing at a series of hot dog legs and bikini photos from some fashion girls I had met through Charlotte. They were on holiday in Jamaica and seemed to delight in rubbing it in everyone’s faces.

Richard Whitesell

Richard Whitesell

A couple of cute guys with long hair walked past me, I smiled back to the one who looked my way. I had seen the neck tattoo guy on my street this morning, we see each other all the time, it was beginning to drive me crazy. I’m sure he had a girlfriend, I’d seen him with a girl at the bar on my corner, but when I see him in the street he is always alone. He just looks like such an asshole. I’ve never spoken to him, but you just know. So hot – such an asshole.

“I didn’t have the balls to talk to any other labels at the moment, scared that someone would mention it to Vince and I’d end up even worse off.”

This place was known as one of the most creative agencies in New York, they did a bunch of work with celebrities and were always winning awards. I created a website with some of the projects I’d been involved, using an online template, one of the ones where you keep scrolling down, they seem to be popular at the moment. I’d sent it along with my resume to loads of advertising and events agencies but hardly had any responses back. Not really sure why. I guess it was competitive. It had only been five days. And that included the weekend.

Of the short list of lukewarm potentials, this was a place that I might actually want to work, where I could actually still do interesting projects, ideally getting a decent pay increase while still working on stuff that people would know about. I didn’t have the balls to talk to any other labels at the moment, scared that someone would mention it to Vince and I’d end up even worse off. I’d be happy to stay at East & Low, I just wanted to be paid what I was worth and to be valued for the work I did.

Why can’t it be like school or college. Do the work, get decent grades, do some stuff on the side and everyone claps for you at the end. The problem with work (at least the work that I wanted) was there was no clear path ahead. Maybe in a more traditional corporate gig it was more mapped out, but I had nothing. No roadmap that said: get two gold stars on a project, work late for three years, advance, receive x% more money and progress to the next phase of life. Pickup your ideal boyfriend in isle three.

“Why can’t it be like school or college. Do the work, get decent grades, do some stuff on the side and everyone claps for you at the end.”

A dark haired woman in a leather skirt walk out from the lifts. I opened my face ready to be ready respond to her, we linked eyes and she paused for a split second but then just kept on walking past. I looked down at my phone again, flustered by amateur swimsuit models that highlighted my need for a new bikini, plus the parallel universe where it wasn’t winter, my body was summer ready and I could actually wear one.

“Emma?” A blonde women approached and asked. Her name was Taryn. I recognized her face from my web stalking. I wonder how long ago her LinkedIn photo was taken. I found it weird how some people still clung on to old, semi professionally taken profile pics for work. We live in an age where everyone can update a profile pic instantly. You cannot get away with a photo that looks any more than five years old, no matter how good the photo is. Just before the lift doors are fully closed, a male hand lunges through, holding them open and waiting for another guy to enter. One in a suit, one in shorts.

Taryn shows me to a room with three armchairs and a bunch of stuff signed by celebrities, a big picture of Lebron James hangs on the wall, signatures all in silver pen. She asks if I would like a drink, I opt for water.

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“So you work for a record label?” She asks, I ready myself for my standard reply.

“It’s an interesting place. I’ve had the chance to work on some really cool initiatives.”

“Great,” she says, we do a bunch of work with musicians, “Why are you thinking of going to an agency?”

“Well the work I do for East & Low is in the communications and creative space. Coming up with ideas, running event concepts and social media, so I think it would be a solid step. I’m looking to broaden my perspective with some different clients while still leveraging my experience working with influencers and brands.” I say, making sure to maintain decent eye contact – but not too much eye contact.

She seems nice. Sporty. Ordered. Someone that liked to have fun, but was never part of the cool crowd.

“I do think the line is so blurred around what is an agency these days.” She said, “We shot a documentary for a client last month and released a bunch of music on iTunes earlier this year.”

“Wow. That’s really cool.” I replied, “What was the music?”

“It was a couple of country songs. The extended versions of the tracks we used on a bunch of the TV spots.”

“Cool. Country is something I’ve never really got into, but cool you guys are doing that stuff.”

“Yeah, it just shows the breadth of what we do here.”

We spoke a bunch about example projects that I had worked on, always making a point of dialing up my role to a point where it was fathomable, betting on the fact the she had never worked inside a label and I could play off that. I could picture Vince’s scrunched up face hearing me say these words, speaking about the work we did in this way. I felt I was betraying him. I wondered if everyone felt like this when they took interviews while they still had a job.

One of the main clients was Levis, we chatted a bit about fashion, partnership events and content creation. The person they were looking for would be working directly with the client a lot, managing social media strategy and creating content. Perfect for me. I asked who was on the team and how long the agency had had the account. When promoted for any other questions I replied with a bunch of stuff about the vision for the client and other opportunities within the agency. She was really nice, seemed to like me, said she would get back to me with “next steps.”

I walked out of there feeling good, embracing the world of opportunity available. In my head I mentally drafted an email to my parents and my farewell status update on my last day at East & Low. The recruiter called, confirmed that they were interested. The salary range. 45-55k, about the same as what I was earning now. They were straight up dreaming. It was ridiculous.

There was someone sitting behind a curtain, laughing at me trying to navigate this city. Teasing and prodding me with scenarios – baiting me to lash out for the camera

I told her she would have to go back to them and say I was looking for more in the 80k range to make the move. He asked me what I was currently on and I said it was irrelevant; I was in the music industry, in hindsight I should have just lied. He said that salary was often determined by your current rate and a percentage increase. That it was extremely rare to jump higher then 20%, but that he would follow up and get back to me.

There was someone sitting behind a curtain, laughing at me navigate this city. Teasing and prodding me with scenarios – baiting me to lash out for the camera. It was a cruel joke. All I wanted was to sink myself into something and show them what I could do.

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