Gen Zer balances in business administration, two jobs, and grad school

City says 7,000 summer jobs are available for Boston youth ages 14 to 18

The 22-year-old business owner has managed to balance her busy work life, and she’s not okay with being labeled a lazy general-zero.
Courtesy of Ariel

  • I have been working since I was 15 to attend school and fund my own business.
  • I own and operate my own candle company while attending graduate school.
  • I also have two jobs, so I’m not sure how to portray Generation Z as a lazy generation.

This article is reportedly based on a conversation with Dallas-based Arielle Artist, a 22-year-old graduate student and founder of I Am Candle Co. Edited for length and clarity.

Work has been a huge part of my life since I was a teenager. I’ve helped fund goals I once dreamed of achieving, and now I’m working harder than ever to build the future I want for myself.

I graduated with a degree in psychology in December 2024, and have held several professional positions in the mental health field since I was out of college. Eight months ago, I started a two-year graduate program to become a licensed professional counselor.

In 2024, I founded I Am Candle Co., Ltd. , which is solely owned and operated by a candle company. Between studying, working a full-time job, and working part-time at a women’s shelter on the weekends, I pour candles by hand and attend to my work demands.

I don’t know if I would call myself a fraud. The world feels very expensive these days. If you want to live a good life for yourself, there’s a lot of pressure to do more than just one thing.

I’ve noticed that older generations, especially Generation X, consider Generation Z to be a lazy generation, but I really disagree. My parents have worked hard their entire lives to save money, so it took me a while to prove to them that my entrepreneurship was legit. They thought I was lazy sitting at home every day on my laptop or phone, but I was building my business.

I think Gen Zers just want to find more convenient ways than hard work to make money. Who wouldn’t want to do that?

I kind of do everything now

As a mental health professional who works with children, I spend 40 hours a week seeing clients virtually and in person. So, I travel to schools around the Dallas-Fort Worth area Monday through Friday, and the weekends are my time to do schoolwork and any work-related tasks and try to relax.

My second job is less demanding, and I can pick up weekend shifts running the office at a women’s shelter whenever I need extra cash. Although I am happy to work in the field of psychology as I have always wanted to be, juggling two jobs, a company and a school is exhausting.

It can be exhausting in my job to talk about people’s trauma for hours every day. It’s hard not to bring these burdens with me sometimes.

I’m trying to be diligent in taking care of myself through all of this. I want to do it all, all the time, but I’ve learned to take breaks. In March, I took a step back from my candle business to give my work and teaching a little more attention for a few weeks until I had the brainpower to start working again.

My brand is all about wellness and self-love, so I wouldn’t be true to myself if I didn’t make efforts to maintain my mental health.

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I don’t want to be “bumped” forever

All this work I do is to do a lot less when I’m in my 30s. I hope to go to just one job and run my own candle business after I finish graduate school in 2024.

My current workload is working now, but I know it’s not something I want to do forever. I think everyone wants to get to a place where they can make money by either doing exactly what they love or doing nothing at all. I aim to land somewhere in the middle of that spectrum someday.