Source | www.cnbc.com | Jennifer Liu
As millennials begin to turn 40 in 2021, CNBC Make It has launched Middle-Aged Millennials, a series exploring how the oldest members of this generation have grown into adulthood amidst the backdrop of the Great Recession and the Covid-19 pandemic, student loans, stagnant wages and rising costs of living.
At 35, Kristen Alfenito laments that she has yet to start her career.
That’s not to say she hasn’t worked. For the last 16 years, she has held a string of jobs, starting with two part-time gigs while attending college for musical theater. Then, she says, she was diagnosed with cancer, dropped out and became “resigned to working in food service or retail for the foreseeable future.” Today, Alfenito works as a cashier at a bakery in Morgantown, West Virginia.
Thinking back to her college days, “I wish someone had helped me figure out what jobs would be applicable for my interests and passions, and what kind of degree was actually required for that — if any,” Alfenito says.
Many older millennials who are now approaching middle age have significant career regrets. Nearly half, 47%, say they wish they had chosen a different career path when they started out, according to a recent survey of 1,000 U.S. adults ages 33 to 40, conducted by The Harris Poll on behalf of CNBC Make It.
Alfenito believes millennials, who this year range in age from 25 to 40 and make up the largest age group in the workforce, were pressured to pursue four-year degrees, and the mountains of debt that can come with them, without always knowing if there was a viable career on the other side of graduation.