The article below, posted in Facebook by a former employee, has me wondering how many of the people we employ are in this predicament.
The need to be stylish, to be trendy, to embrace the forms of success while the pockets and stomachs go empty must be a great pressure on the Millennials.
I hire many Millennials and often wonder how they do it. Having the latest iPhones, dressing up to look so trendy and cool and going to all those overpriced nightspots that is a drain even to someone as old and established in work as me.
Some days I imagine that many of them are shuffling credit with their multiple credit cards. Other days I wonder if their parents are subsidising them. Or if they are moonlighting.
The fact is that the salaries don’t match the lifestyles of many of the people I employ, especially in an expensive city like Jakarta.
I worry for them. At the same time I am worried of being anachronistic if I tell them about the virtues of thrift and making ends meet because their generation has not have to worry about things like this before.
The best I can do as an employer is to encourage them to work smart and hard so that I can promote them and increase their salaries, or give them bonuses when they work especially hard or smart.
My business partner and I toyed with the idea of buying a house and converting it into a lost for our staff. But new laws not allowing companies to take loans for non-commercial properties put paid to that effort.
The only thing I can think off is to the some of them out for lunch , especially during the third week of the month before pay day.
But what else can be done for the Millennials caught in this variety of urban poverty? How do other employers respond to this situation?
The Urban Poor You Haven’t Noticed: Millennials Who’re Broke, Hungry, But On Trend
Too many young professionals have internalised the lesson that to earn any money, you’ve got to spend a lot of it.
There’s an underground dance bar in Santacruz West where I saw a former national-level beauty pageant contestant perform. According to the person who took me there, she began working there when she was looking for a Bollywood break. To land roles, she needed to be seen on red carpets and at parties, for which she needed heels and dresses. While acting gig after acting gig fell through, the dance bar turned out to be so lucrative, it became her primary vocation.
I know a young marketing executive who bought a car with her first salary and now sleeps in it. Between rent and loan repayments, she was starting to starve. I won’t tell you where she parks, but thank god Mumbai is still safe.
Then there’s my junior journalist friend. For a period, she was coming into work less often. And she was growing thinner. She insisted it was because she was jogging every evening. When she started to disappear at lunch time, or nurse a cold coffee all day, I knew. (I didn’t miss the signs, because I’ve done it too.)
I WhatsApped her. It was the only way to be discreet.
“Do you have enough money for a meal?”
This has always amazed me, going back 10+ years. I reckon splurging is about many things, but part of it is showing how optimistic you are about the future. I suppose that’s natural when you are younger.