Imma get real with you kiddos. I think there isn't enough straight talk about money and careers for young adults graduating college, so here we go:
  1. When I graduated from college, I sincerely thought I'd be living in Manhattan (with roommates, of course), making enough money to pay my student loans, rent, and put a little in savings.
  2. I had interned at a top literary agency, I was an assistant to three bestselling authors, I had such a high GPA at NYU that I got to graduate with a special golden tassel. I barely partied in college. I went there to work hard because I was the one paying for it.
  3. I graduated with $97k of student loan debt (for a Bachelors!). My first job out of college—IN MY INDUSTRY, mind you—was $27,500... and that's before taxes.
  4. My student loan payment was $1k a month and I was making a little less than $850 a paycheck.
    I just did the quick math just now and, after taxes, I was making $10/hour. Minimum wage in NYC when I graduated in 2010 was $9.70/hour.
  5. I ended up calling my lender and by the grace of God convincing them to extend my loan repayment plan from 15 to 25 years. My loan payment went down to $650/month.
  6. All I remember from that first year out of college is saving every single cent that wasn't going to loans. That meant not being able to afford the subway (which was $2 one-way at the time). I would walk 20 blocks to work from Grand Central Station.
    Every day. Even if it was raining, even if I was tired, even if it was disgustingly hot outside and I was sweating bullets.
  7. I remember one time in the winter, a coworker saw me coming into the office and being like, "Did you WALK here? It's snowing!"
  8. Once a month, I would treat myself to a $5 lunch because I ALWAYS packed breakfast and lunch. That monthly soup from Hale & Hearty was a BIG DEAL.
  9. After a year at my first job, I got a raise. I started making $30k.
  10. Over the next four years, I lived with my parents. I paid off loans one by one. After four years, I paid off $50k in loans. During those four years, I got a job at HarperCollins that paid $32,500, got promoted and raised to $38,000, and then worked at Hachette for $40k + overtime.
  11. When I joined Hachette, I moved to Queens into a great place with two roommates for $867/month. But I worked from 8am to 11pm Monday through Friday and never had any weekends off. I did that for a year and a half and got majorly burnt out.
  12. I left Hachette last year for a very, very basic front desk position at a tech company because they paid me MORE than being an editor at a publishing house.
    And all my job involved doing was buzzing in visitors and making sure the office was running smoothly.
  13. During the last year, I worked the super lowkey front desk job and spent my spare time writing for magazines like Cosmo, Marie Claire, xoJane, Thrillist, and my dream publication, Playboy. I am now a contracted contributor for Playboy.
  14. What also happened over the last year was the Marketing VP at the tech company I work for asked what I did at my last job. And he found out that I was an editor. I started to edit materials for his team in my downtime.
  15. After 6-7 months of this, they gave me a $10k raise as a thank-you.
  16. This past Monday, I started as a Content Manager for the company. The pay is good, we have an unlimited vacation policy, and I can work remotely, so I'm moving out of the city soon.
  17. The point of this story is that I graduated 7 years ago. So if you're about to graduate, graduated recently, or are 2, 3, 5 years into your post-grad journey, know this:
  18. It's going to be hard.
  19. It's going to downright SUCK and at times you will feel frustrated or angry or sad. And that no one warned you about this. That somehow you got swindled. And it's not fair.
  20. But the truth is it takes a lot of time to get your footing and have a great career sometimes.
  21. But don't give up! You'll be okay, bb.
  22. (And, by the way, my monthly student loan payment is now $230.)