The last few months of the year 2019 have continued to provide a rather insightful peek into the dynamic aspects of modern day life.
This time round, I have enjoyed the occasional banter and chit chat with fairly young adults. Many of them are my colleagues, some my friends recently graduated sons and daughters and the occasional professionals I get to meet every day.
See, the interesting thing with life, is the divergent variety of outlook that my age mates hold versus the young adults just getting into employment. Many of the young adults will have barely worked for more than five years either as employees or entrepreneurs. While my age mates will be the cautious, risk averse type, the young adults are the complete opposite.
After spending fairly, a one and half to two decades pursuing their academic credentials right though to University and living under their parents’ wings, the young adults tend to look for some commercial engagement to manage life independently. For them, independence (economic and social) marks a milestone in their lives.
Young adults tend to be easily excitable, rightly feeling that they have acquired some knowledge and secured the academic license (degree) to set off on the game of life. Unlike in our days when we started off on strictly controlled apprenticeship programmes, young adults nowadays are finding the going hard and having to navigate and explore the game of life the best way they know how.
In many instances, lack of an apprenticeship and most importantly a mentor culture, has left the young adults swimming in the rough seas with very little lifesaving gear. Many of them lack the necessary experience to navigate through complex scenarios or the interpersonal skills to see them through the prevailing environment.
However, it’s not all gloom. Their go getter attitude, however helps some of them to secure decent assignments and build their careers with a clear road map for success.
Looking through these scenarios, I am now convinced that my age mates must begin to consciously groom, mentor and guide our young adults. In their book, ‘Literacy Is NOT Enough: 21st Century Fluencies for the Digital Age’, Lee Crocket and Ian Jukes postulated that a success beginning from school requests that a person should be fluent in: Problem solving, Creativity, Analytic thinking, Collaboration, Communication, Ethics, action, and accountability to stand a chance at competing equitably in work-life arena.
We must therefore, begin to play our social empowerment roles by seeking to impart knowledge and basic life skills for the youth to give them a kick start in their careers. Such an approach will in my view help to mitigate against sure like day and night pressures which are beginning to drive our young adults to desperation. Due to the fast pace of modern life and self-aggrandisement manifested by the pressure to gain financial and social security, many opt for immediate financial gain through corruption, shift jobs and struggle to settle in their places of work leading to frequent job shifts. The feel of insecurity and the gap during job shifts make one nervous.
We must begin to change the tide and I believe that one way to do this is by focusing on professional success. Creating a legacy and building a brand of oneself is the second step which creates an identity in the market and opens up opportunities. An overall positioning of leadership with a clear demonstration as a turnaround or growth specialist is the third step towards securing top line positions.
Inculcating a saving culture borne out of financial literacy is also a must do element of mentorship. We must encourage our young adults to invest part of their income in credible savings and cooperative societies, take up insurance products and generally begin to save for a rainy day. The allure of a fast urban life, characterised by corruption opportunities and the allure of digital betting sites must be shunned.
The boy child must particularly be saved from himself as many of them are sliding to depression. In order to build financial security for a family, women are increasingly saving the day as they tend to be all rounded and well balanced to manage situations with a broader approach.
In order to sustainably manage one’s life, one should focus on education, skill development, aptitude to learn and a positive attitude towards life and balancing work- life with a clear focus on growth and security.
The author Heather Schuck stated that “You will never feel truly satisfied with work until you are satisfied by life.” Work-life balance is best summed up in that quote. Most people spend their most productive years working at the expense of family time, social endeavours and lean activities such as investing, gaining extra knowledge and internal relaxation.
There can be no denying that for our young adults to succeed in life and aspire for greatness, they must be guided towards the appreciation of integrity, family values, environmental conservation and the fundamentals of financial security.
These values, alongside the appreciation of personal brand building, anchored on a strong work life balance foundation are the benchmarks to happiness, comfort and stability for self and the nation at large.
(Ramamurthy, is a Business Leader and currently serves as the CEO at Bidco Africa. Email: [email protected])