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I’m a bicentennial baby. Yes, I was born in 1976. My parents are Army vets. Yes, I said Army vets. I grew up in a caring household. My parents weren’t overly strict, but they also didn’t let me do whatever I wanted whenever I wanted. They set boundaries to ensure that we were safe. They taught me morals and values. I had a healthy balance of dependence and independence. I knew that if I wanted any success in life that I would have to work at myself. Nothing was handed to me. My parents taught me how to be responsible for myself and for my actions. If I did something wrong, I had to own up to it. There was no “all inclusion” for things. If we wanted to be a part of something we had to try out for it, or meet certain criteria for it. When I go to work, I know that I have to perform my best if I want to be a good employee. I’ve noticed that things aren’t like that with the younger generation. I’ve noticed myself clashing a lot with the younger adults of today.
I’m not saying that all young adults of today are not dedicated to their work. I know quite a few who already have their careers set. I know people who already know the value of their work and they have incredible work ethic. This is definitely not geared toward them. This is geared toward those who took a job just for the reason of collecting a paycheck every week (or every couple of weeks). This is for those who had to go out and get a job because their parents “made them get a job.” To those young adults, I’m about to be brutally honest right now. Get over it. It’s the year 2019 and you’re an adult. It’s time to start acting like one. You can’t get things handed to you on a silver platter your whole life. Stop being lazy. If you want something, you have to go out and earn the money yourself so you can get it. Stop relying on your parents so much. Learn to be independent. Learn to fend for yourself. Learn to respect others. Learn to do the best job that you can at work (even if it’s not the ideal job that you want). Every job that we have in life helps us to gain experience for other positions that we might have later on in life. Embrace the opportunities that you are given. Make the most of every day. Focus on the positives in your life instead of the negatives. Learn all that you can. Read a book in your spare time. Stay out of trouble. Don’t always follow the crowd. Learn to think for yourself. Make the most out of your life. Do what you want to do and not what everyone else thinks you should be doing. It’s okay to disagree with your parents and your friends. Have real life discussions with your parents. Believe it or not, they’ve probably gone through something similar to whatever you are going through.
I’ve noticed that the new generation doesn’t know how to respect themselves. It’s okay to put yourself first. In fact, you SHOULD be putting yourself first. The only person who will always be there for you is you. Eat healthy. Try to get 10,000 steps in a day. Take time for yourself. Be book smart. Be street smart. Be as successful as you can. Learn the value of a dollar. Save your money. Spend your money wisely. Develop good work habits. Develop good people skills. Learn to communicate. Life does not revolve around the electronics that are in your hands. Life does not revolve around social media. Learn to live a few hours a day without your cell phone. Take a break from Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Snapchat for a few hours a day. It will still be there later.
Formulate a good resume. It’s a first impression that a potential boss will have of you before he or she meets you. Dress appropriately when you go for your interview. Wear a suit. Wear business-type colors. Don’t dress like a slob. Have a professional attitude. Be confident. Don’t act conceited. Don’t be afraid to ask questions if there is something that you are not clear about. Follow up after the interview (at the end of the week). Perform your best. Don’t take short cuts. You might think that our boss won’t notice, but believe me, he or she will. Respect your colleagues. Learn to work as a team. Teamwork is so important in order for things to run smoothly. Complete projects on time. Don’t procrastinate; it will only stress you out more. Get enough sleep. You’ll function better on eight hours of sleep than you will on two hours of sleep.
Set goals for yourself; even if they are small goals. If you want to take a road trip, start planning for it now. Save your “spare change.” It will add up over time and you’ll be able to take that road trip. Don’t spend your bill money on vacation. Although it’s great to travel as much as you can, you have to make sure that your bills are paid first. Don’t live above your means. There’s nothing wrong with living below your means. Then you’ll be able to save more for the vacation you want. However, it is okay to splurge every once in a while for something that you really want. I usually do that around tax time when I get my refund. Even if it’s something simple, like a new outfit. The way that I see it is that I work hard all year for my money, and the government takes out way too much in taxes. So, when I receive my refund, I give myself an “allowance” that I can spend. The rest of it goes towards bills, or I just let it sit in the bank as long as possible.
Negotiate all of your bills. See if you can get late fees waved. Try to get discounts if you can. If a company wants a deposit because you’ve never had an account with them before, ask for it to be waived—or refunded after a few months, once you’ve proved that you’ll pay your bills on time. Check your credit score once or twice a year. Make sure that everything is accurate. Dispute it if it isn’t. Get as many negatives off your credit score as possible.
It’s okay to not own a house. I live in an apartment and I’m doing just fine. Just as long as you have a space to call your own—that’s the important thing. Whether you start living on your own at 18 or 28, it will eventually happen. It will happen when it’s supposed to happen, and not a moment earlier. Don’t rush it. But don’t prevent it from happening either.
You are the only one in complete control of your life. You are the only one who can make the most of it. Don’t allow anyone to be a damper on your life. Don’t just coast through life thinking that everything will get handed to you. If you want good things to happen, you have to be willing to put in the work. You create your own destiny. Don’t blame other people if you make a mistake. Own up to your mistakes and learn from them. Don’t be afraid to ask your elders for advice. Keep the lines of communication open with your parents; they will have some of the best advice. But most importantly, just be yourself. Never give up on your dreams. Work toward them. You will be successful.