There's a scene in The Devil Wears Prada that perfectly sums up the lie millennials were sold about work.
It's right at the start of the cult movie, where a fresh-faced Andy arrives at the offices of Runway magazine for her first day of work as Miranda Priestly's second assistant.
Miranda Priestly's first assistant, Emily, a woman who has been fetching her coffees and girding her loins against the brunt of Miranda's wrath for several years, is showing Andy around the office.
At one point, Emily, walking briskly through the office, dressed head-to-toe in black designer clothes, reminds Andy that "A million girls would kill for this job."
She wasn't exaggerating.
The Devil Wears Prada was released in 2006, just as the 'elder millennials' (or God help us... the 'geriatric millennials') were entering the workforce. There was an oversupply of overqualified new graduates and not enough shiny new jobs to go around. By 2008, when the financial crisis hit, those entry-level jobs were as rare as Miranda Priestly's curt nod of approval.
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A million millennial women would have 'killed' for a low-paying, entry-level job with outrageous hours and a demanding, unpredictable boss.
After all, it was a foot in the door. The first rung on the ladder towards the dream of being a "girl boss" and "having it all".
This was a dream that seemed so unattainable to new graduates who were applying for hundreds of roles and maybe getting a handful of interviews. Then refreshing their email every five minutes to only occasionally receive a short, general rejection letter explaining they didn't have enough experience for the role, a role that would give them exactly the kind of experience they needed.
It was also a dream that seemed completely out of reach to those who had been out of school or university for a few years at this point and hadn't been able to land a permanent role. Or maybe they had a role for a brief moment, but a restructure or the end of contract meant they needed to start from scratch again. They spent their days working in casual jobs in retail or hospitality and spent their nights applying for hundreds of more entry-level roles.