How To Start at Rock Bottom: Welfare Programs and the Social Safety Net

Income inequality is a real thing. Let’s start there. We are not all starting on a level playing field. In fact, some are actually starting at rock bottom.

Whatever way you define rock bottom, it’s a shitty place to start when envisioning your financial future. And it’s a frightening reality for many Americans. Giving advice about how my fellow college-educated Millennials can get ahead in their careers, defeat their student loans, and buy homes is all well and good. But it’s utterly useless advice for someone with no education, no family support, and no job prospects to speak of. It’s useless to those drowning in medical debt or responsible for supporting a family on a minimum wage salary.

You can’t think about Step 1 when you’re currently at Step -37. Those living at rock bottom need to achieve a basic standard of survival before they can think about “getting ahead.”

Read More

What To Do When You’re Asked About Your Salary Requirements in a Job Interview

One of the shittiest questions to be asked in a job interview is arguably also one of the most important considerations when looking for a new job: “What are your salary requirements?”

It’s shitty because even if you’re prepared, the question can immediately throw you into a state of self-doubt and nervous confusion where you risk shooting your potential earnings in the foot. You don’t want to blurt out a number too high and risk them writing you off as an entitled, money-grubbing Millennial with an overinflated sense of self-worth. But you don’t want to lowball them either, lest they see you as a bargain hire and take you on for a fraction of what they’d planned to pay.

Read More
Should Artists Ever Work for Free?

Should Artists Ever Work for Free?

I’m an artist. I am well paid to do my job. And I am way, way rarer than I should be.

There are a lot of historicaleconomictechnological, and cultural factors that keep the perceived value of art lower than that of professions that require comparable education and practice. Unfortunately, there ain’t shit you can do about historical, economic, technological, and cultural factors. But you can refuse to contribute, on an individual level, to the devaluation of your chosen industry.

The easiest way to do that is to refuse to work for free. Here’s why.

Read More
The First Time I Asked for a Raise

The First Time I Asked for a Raise

Story time. When I was 23 and only about six months into my very first big kid job, I got a promotion. It was great! I got to take the word “assistant” out of my email signature, I got to stop identifying as an entry-level employee, and best of all, I got a 22% raise.

I know, right? All was right with the world.

Fast-forward three years and my company had just merged with another company and in the resulting restructuring of the org chart I got another promotion. A big one.

But I didn’t get a raise.

Read More
Your School or Workplace Benefits Might Include Cool Free Stuff

Your School or Workplace Benefits Might Include Cool Free Stuff

If you work for a large company, or a well-connected small one, you should investigate if part of your benefits package includes any unexpectedly awesome free shit.

Many companies act as corporate sponsors of local theaters, symphonies, museums, zoos, sporting teams, and other cultural institutions. And sometimes their patronage can translate to free or discounted tickets for you.

This is also the case for many colleges and universities. Whether you’re a grad or undergrad, the right student ID can equal discounted membership, classes, and admission to any institution your school partners with. I regret not taking advantage of my college’s generous museum consortium membership more often when I was a student. (To be fair to myself, I had just discovered alcohol. So. Mm-hmm!)

Read More
Salary Range: Are You Asking for Enough?

Salary Range: Are You Asking for Enough?

“Oh god, oh god, the hiring manager just asked me about my salary range” is a text I’ve gotten a dozen times from friends and coworkers over the years. For a young professional, it’s usually the most fraught moment in the entire hiring process. And for good reason! Your answer to this question has enormous financial consequences. The right answer can catapult you forward—and the wrong one can set you back years.

How do you know that the number you’re asking for is the right number? Here are some tips that will help you make sure you’re not selling yourself short.

Read More
A Millennial's Guide to Growing Your Salary

A Millennial’s Guide to Growing Your Salary

I don’t attach the word “millennial” to topics willy-nilly. A lot of our advice is aimed at everyone living in these strange times! But this advice is tailored specifically to those who came to adulthood immediately before or after the 2008 recession.

Graduating in a recession leads to earnings losses of about 9% compared to those who graduate in balmier financial climates. The pay gap takes a full decade to become statistically insignificant. For the average worker, that amounts to five grand in a single year. The lost opportunities to invest some of that income—as well as the recession-graduate’s stymied options for other jobs—creates a staggering wealth gap.

Worst of all, it’s completely fucking unfair, because we were kids when this hot mess was cooked up, yet we’re still the ones who have to eat it. We have every right to be salty about that.

There are some things you can do to get yourself back up to the level you deserve. Here’s what we suggest.

Read More