Save. Spend. Splurge.

The Millennial Generation and Their First Job Expectations

I’ve been thinking about generations and stereotypes a lot lately.


Older generations are painted as having had rosy, lovely, unhurried lives where they milked cows and then churned butter in a circle, singing folk songs their little rosy-cheeked, extremely well-behaved children made up as entertainment.

Younger generations, the “Millennials” (I’m included in this), are seen as carefree, slightly overconfident, unrealistic dreamers who don’t know the first thing about walking to school 10 miles a day with barbed wire wrapped around their feet for traction.

They also think they’re going to make $100,000 straight out of college and are willing to do what it takes to earn that kind of money.

I always look at these general stereotypes and feel like it isn’t that easy.

Every generation has its own personalities, and based on the state of the world they grew up in and ended up working in for 40 years after school, they’re shaped by what surrounds them.

We cannot help where and when we’re born.

We can only make the most of it.


I will say however, that our generation seems to have a well-deserved reputation of being overconfident and/or whinier than older generations.


(*raises hand* I have been there, done that, and am trying to be conscious of it… but then again, who hasn’t?)

I want to attribute this to youth, more than the fact that we were born in certain years.

I can see some of this overconfident, lazy attitude in many students coming out of college these days.

They think they know everything, can do everything and don’t need to work hard for what they’re being paid for.

(Yeah, I sound like a crochety old witch don’t I?)

I see them marking themselves as flawless 10s across their self-evaluation pages, and putting down NOTHING as something they have to work on professionally and/or personally.

They also definitely don’t respect those more senior than them, even if I am only 5 years older. I at least, have more experience, if nothing else!!!


I remember being scared, feeling awkward and thinking I wasn’t good enough when I started my first job.

I remember working as hard as I could to understand as much as I could because I was afraid I’d be fired if I couldn’t prove myself and they’d FIRE ME.

I worked like crazy, took on challenges I thought I wasn’t quite ready or fit for, and ended up surprising myself at the end.

I also realized that just because people are older, it doesn’t mean I should take their opinions and advice without thinking it over for myself.

I realize this sounds hypocritical considering what I wrote above about experience and seniority, but I’m thinking more along the lines of taking everything ANYONE says with a grain of salt regardless of age (young or old).

People can be backstabby, power-hungry, incompetent but ruthless folk, and you can only rely on your own judgement, logic and rationale to maneuver through office politics.

It’s exhausting, when all you want to do is to work hard at your damn job.

What was it like at your first job?


  • Lila

    Who seriously thinks they’re going to make $100,000 after college? I read the occupational outlook handbook website and starting salaries are anywhere from $20,000-50,000 depending on your degree, major and if you did any internships.

    I worked before I went to uni as a telemarketer to save up money for uni and I got a lot of experience that way and was exposed to the corporate environment. Our call center also had bonuses and commissions and I was able to earn a lot of extra money that way. I didn’t want to graduate with debt so that is why I worked like a crazy person. I seriously hope older generations don’t label us as all entitled.

    • save. spend. splurge.

      I think people think that before they start working. After they work… They realize they were being unrealistic. I hear from a lot of high schoolers that they think they’ll make that when they leave university. I think a lot of it is how parents shape their expectations too, they need to talk to kids about what is realistic and what isn’t.

  • Aleksie

    I think that it’s hard to say how older generations behaved at their first jobs and their attitudes- you and I weren’t alive then or old enough to really see it ;). I also think that a lot of the entitlement issues vary by a lot of factors, and some of this just comes down to how the older generations choose to raise their kids. Sometimes, it feels like the older generation is trying to absolve themselves from blame. It isn’t to say there aren’t external factors (technology, war, etc.) that shape generations, but I think a decent bit is parenting.

    My first job was working various temp admin positions at one company through a temp agency. I was overqualified, but I needed money and it paid the bills. I didn’t take the work for granted, though, if only because being a temp meant that my job was never guaranteed. It was a good break from school and made me realize that admin work wasn’t my passion.

    • save. spend. splurge.

      True. Older generations are not immune from any of this but I feel like we are also being unrealistic due to our world shrinking — we can travel and live anywhere now. Just had a friend move back to NZ and another move to London England

  • Petrish @ Debt Free Martini

    Every persons financial path is different so I do take advice from others, but I never write it in stone. What I realize is that people have big dreams of making lots of money, but don’t have the drive and determination to do what it takes to get it.

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