Millennial Hustle

Millennial Hustle: Akpanoluo Etteh

When I sat down to write this introduction, it took me an embarrassingly long time to remember the when, where, and how I met my friend Akpanoluo U Etteh II, or Ak for short. I’ve spent time with the 31-year-old data engineer and music salon founder in a myriad of different situations: a fashion week soirée in Soho, lunch at an upscale bistro on Abbot Kinney Boulevard in Venice, even a get-together at my sorority house in rural Tennessee, just to name a few. Because of this, I sometimes forget the humble, and somewhat ordinary, origins of our friendship—a casual meeting at a house party hosted by his then-roommate and my college friend at their Brooklyn apartment one sweltering summer evening back in 2012.

Ak still lives in the Williamsburg neighborhood, only a few blocks away from where we first met. We’ve kept in touch as I’ve moved further and further away from the L train—first to areas south of the Gowanus Canal, then a few thousand miles west to Los Angeles, where I currently reside. Ak continues to be one of the most brilliant and fascinating people I know, equally versed in data logistics as he is in choral a capella arrangements, gastronomic delights, or nuanced perspectives on hot-button political topics. Read on for more about how this millennial cleverly navigates two seemingly disparate career paths—and gets to do a shit ton of really cool things along the way.

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Millennial Hustle

Millennial Hustle: Icely Franco

I first met 26-year-old real estate manager and creative professional Icely Franco about four years ago, back when I was still deeply entrenched in the NYC fashion scene. We were both working shifts at a fancy (and possibly haunted) shop in Soho and bonded over our mutual love of books, brunch, and the many, many commonalities between her Dominican heritage and my own Filipino origins—Island nation? Check. Empanadas? Check. The lingering shadow of mid-20th century populist dictatorships? Check and check.

Since our time schlepping hundred-dollar garments from stockroom to shop floor, I’ve moved to the West Coast and worked for half a dozen other places. Icely, on the other hand, has planted her roots more firmly in her native New York—finishing her degree, raising a lovely young daughter, and expanding her reach in the fashion world. Read on for more about this determined millennial’s big-city hustle.

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Millennial Hustle

Millennial Hustle: Polly Gregory

My first job out of college was with a children’s clothing company, where I found myself doing all sorts of odd tasks, like ironing teeny, tiny onesies or sweeping up cupcake crumbs after a photo shoot with 7-year-old twins. On the side, I worked as a freelance photographer and wrote feminist and postcolonial essays (which eventually led to the creation of this blog). I lived in Brooklyn at the time, and my friends’ jobs ran the gamut—from freelance theater electrician to Ebola researcher.

Even now in my late twenties, I still find myself constantly amazed by the incredible variety—and often times, crazy number—of jobs my fellow twentysomethings have found themselves with. Sure, we millennials sometimes do some dumb shit, like take too many selfies or spend a significant portion of our income on rosé. However, at least in my experience, I’ve found those blanket statements about my so-called lazy, thoughtless generation to be, well, blanket statements by lazy, thoughtless writers who can’t show their receipts.

To put it simply: Yes, some millennials kind of suck. But a lot of us are working crazy hours, day and night, and doing some pretty amazing stuff. And so, dear reader, I bring you Millennial Hustle, a new column highlighting young folks doing cool things at their job—and their side job, and their side side job—as well as some pro tips if you’re looking to get into their line of work.

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