This Millennial Hustle Pt. 4

Layah Shagalow
6 min readJun 20, 2019


Sometimes the only way I can know how I feel is to write it.

I’ve always been a verbal processor. I call it thinking on the outside of my head. Words and I have a deep, powerful connection. Being able to name a thought or a feeling or an idea is an important part of my process. To some people it’s just semantics, but to me it’s the blueprint for my perception of the world.

So I write. When things happen to me, when I experience new things or re-process old things. Words are how I make sense of the world. This also means I talk a lot. Occupational hazard I guess.

Words have always been a powerful outlet for me. My friends and colleagues joke that if I had a super power it would be “reframing”. When I can put words to an experience, I can hold it. The words I’ve written throughout this process have kept me sane. If you’ve read the ones that came before these you may understand.

But I’m learning about a dangerous side to words. Both spoken and unspoken. I’m starting to see a problematic element emerging around the way I’ve been framing me narrative recently. It’s no secret that I have been embarking on a journey that is very familiar to many millennials, the career shift. With that comes learning new skills and repackaging old ones. Putting yourself out there and making connections. All of these things have to be neatly presented in a bright, attractive narrative that catches the attention of your intended hiring manager. The words have to be orchestrated just so.

And I’ve been doing it. The iterative process throughout this experience has, at times, been somewhat refreshing and educational, but if I’m being honest, it has also been highly performative. Some days I feel empowered to rise to the challenge of finding a way to build a bridge between myself and an unlikely partner, other days I feel like a dancing monkey.

I walked home in the rain today. I was tired. And there were so many words in my head. I was thinking about all the things. The people I need to follow up with, the questions I need to cultivate to engage the right people in the right conversations, the research I need to do to cultivate the right questions, the things I need to do to impress the right people so I can pass to the next level. The words I need to use to be granted access.