The Restless Generation?

Perhaps. I have not been around long enough. But I can compare today to a decade or two ago, and the mindset shift of young people over that period. Usually, I will talk about what I observed when my parents worked. But that may be spreading too wide, considering they enjoyed careers spanning over three decades in banking and healthcare. My first experience with the professional cultural shift came from my dad at the end of 2011. At the start of the previous year, I had returned from graduate school in the UK and settled into my first “real” job. Less than two years later, here I was telling him I was moving to another company. Huh? Just two years? Boy please. But dad, he understands change. When he first joined the banking industry, they had ledgers the size of desks. Everything had to be manually searched for and recorded, in these humongous pieces of paperwork. He transitioned from that to basic MS DOS based software, and then finally to proper banking applications. He remained relevant to his industry through these technological changes, and he clearly understood the joys of mobility enjoyed by my generation of professionals.

So what is it with professionals in their 20s and 30s? There are a number of influencing factors for their career decisions. First of all, they understand the differences in career/job security. They grew up with relatives who worked for the same organization their entire working life. Those were the days when paper qualifications could guarantee a slow but steady rise, if one stayed in their seat long enough. Fast-forward to 2016, where all it takes is a couple of months struggle with sales and revenue, and a lay-off appears down the road. Whiles this has created an equal sense of ruthless disloyalty in young professionals, it has also generated a new wave of “side-entrepreneurs”, as people seek the financial security of an alternative income source. It is actually unfashionable not to juggle your busy bank job with a side business these days. From time to time, a number of people have made the feared trip to be fully available on the other side by dumping their day jobs. I will be highlighting a number of such stories on this blog.

The other factor is our desire to see more of the world. In simpler language, we want to have more fun than our parents did. Apart from this leading us to multiply income opportunities or hunting for better-paying jobs more frequently, we have become more adventurous with seeking out expatriation opportunities, especially on the African continent. I will be discussing some of the amazing things this growing Pan-African “brain share” has created on the continent. The speed of progressive adventure is soaring. In a 2007 TED Talk, Economics Professor George Ayittey called this new wave the “Cheetah Generation”. For me, I think their world view of things have made them simply restless for a better life. So, out with the old I say!