Every twenty-something has likely heard this word tossed around or has used it themselves
to describe their feelings to justify getting blackout 4 nights a week.
It stands for fear of missing out and while this term is typically used in relation to social events (i.e. “I’m going out tonight even though I have a final exam in the morning because I have such bad FOMO.“), I recently saw it used to describe one’s career.
Career FOMO: A constant feeling of anxiety that one experiences throughout their 20s in relation to their motivation, education, or career progression.
Basically, Instagram tells us that we should be running our own business, travelling the world, going to SoulCycle everyday and selling detox tea to our millions of followers all while maintaining a stable relationship and partying every weekend.
So needless to say we’re all fucking terrified that we’re not doing enough.
Social media perpetuates our career FOMO by shoving this ‘Super-Millennial’ lifestyle in our face all day everyday.
The most popular bloggers and social media stars litter their feeds with glamorous pictures of their expensive-looking lifestyle and preach this work-hard play-hard mantra that seems to be everywhere these days.
Many of these stars claim to work 50, 60, even 80 hours a week to “achieve success” and “fulfill their dreams.”
Don’t get me wrong, I’m very impressed by anyone who has that kind of discipline and goes after what they want.
The issue is that working a million hours a week and spending any free time they do have taking pictures to show people how hard they work is not necessarily everyone’s idea of “success.”
Not to mention this lifestyle is not attainable for like 99.9% of twenty-somethings.
Yet the social media world tries to convince us that it is, and that you too can be a wealthy entrepreneur who drinks fancy coffee in their modern office space between hot yoga classes if you only work hard and ~keep believing~ in yourself.
Unfortunately the reality is that the majority of twenty-something postgrads can’t even land an unpaid internship let alone have the time, money, or energy reach this level of “success.”
And TBH a lot of us just don’t want to!
Because…plot twist! It’s okay if you don’t want to hustle your ass off.
Shocking, I know! But some people just prefer work-life balance and don’t take their career so seriously!
My point is that the definition of success is not universal. What one person may consider success, another person may consider failure.
It can be easy to feel anxious and worry that you aren’t doing enough when you see these impossible standards that our peers are setting for us on the internet.
But there is a lot to be said for finding success outside your professional life.
And it’s okay if you only work 40 hours a week at a desk job and go home to marathon Netflix in your PJs on the couch instead of like, curing world hunger or whatever these bloggers think they’re doing.
It doesn’t mean you aren’t working hard enough. It just means you’re choosing a different lifestyle.
And that’s okay.
In the wise words of
my super annoying but always right mother, it takes all types of people to make the world go round.
In other words, we all can’t sell detox tea on Instagram. Because otherwise there would be no one to buy it!
Am I right?!