The Generation of Debt

I'm a Hustler, Homie

Those who have followed my posts from the beginning have seen quite the roller coaster ride of emotion — from sheer excitement after my college graduation to terrifying depression when I didn’t secure a job immediately — since May of 2010, my life has been anything but stable.

In just under one year, I interviewed for my “Dream Job,” landed my “Dream Job,” grew to strongly dislike my “Dream Job,” interviewed with and got hired by a great agency, quit my “Dream Job,” and found myself in $50,000 of debt from student loans. How did everything spiral out of control so quickly? Commuting to NYC two times a week for eight months during my senior year  and managing 4 part time positions to fund that commute certainly added stress to the situation (you can read more about my opinions on unpaid internships here), but without that experience, would I be where I am now? And by that, I mean living paycheck to paycheck.

According to everyone and their mothers, I am one of the “lucky ones” who landed a full-time gig doing what I went to school for — but what makes me lucky? Most of my graduating class, so I’ve heard, have been living with parents, thereby avoiding rent, utilities, and groceries. That is quite a hefty portion of an entry-level salary — more than 50% by my calculations (and I live in a studio). So am I being “rewarded” for my hard work and dedication by living in pseudo-poverty? Something isn’t right here. Student loans are devouring my soul, Philadelphia rent and taxes are robbing me — how am I supposed to be surviving when 90% of my paycheck is gone before I even get it? Everyone tells me I am overreacting and that this is normal, but how am I the only one who is literally losing sleep over this?

Someone please enlighten me.


About cristinmcgrath

Cristin is a consumer engagement consultant who is currently exploring new opportunities within social media strategy and digital marketing. With experiences ranging from traditional media relations and public affairs to interactive and digital marketing with a specialization in emerging media, she is a versatile marketing professional.

7 thoughts on “The Generation of Debt

  1. It is because you have higher standards and you may have had a glimpse of the good life. It is NOT normal to live paycheck to paycheck. Don’t settle foe less and if those around you expect you to, you need better friends/advisers.

  2. My fiance’s boss often urges us to loosen up and live a little. We do – we just balance it with saving so car repairs, emergencies etc don’t stress us out with sudden bills, and so we can travel in the near future. Even if everyone else is living pay to pay, you don’t have to. I certainly don’t want to.

    • I absolutely wish I could HAVE a savings. That is what is scary — I don’t have enough profit to even create a savings (in case of emergencies) account.

      I’ll figure it out — I always do. It is just a little scarier this time.

  3. You are one of the lucky ones. I graduated in 2009, and haven’t been able to get a job other than fast-food and retail. In fact, I don’t even know any one who is as lucky as you were. The highest paying job I ever held since graduation was 9.20/hr. I had an internship in school that paid almost double that. What you are going through isn’t just normal, you are incredibly fortunate.

    • I respect your views. I know I’m fortunate, I just don’t think it is fathomable how no one can afford life anymore.

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