by Isioma Osaje
Why is it that in most spheres of life (except perhaps music) the forerunners are a few years shy of 30 and older.
Every morning when I wake, I spend the first few minutes of consciousness mulling over a thought or idea. Yesterday I woke up and my first thought was about The Future Awards. I remembered reading the rejoinder that came with this year’s nominations list. Organizers took out time to explain why certain people who were over the age limit had made it to their list. The Future Awards looks to honour young people under the age of 31. Last year 32-year-olds were nominated due to timing issues, they were comfortably under the age bracket had things gone according to plan. I asked myself this; if the screening committee was faced with a list of 10 young people under the age of 25, surely they would have published a list without 32-year-olds who needed a rejoinder, lest they be maligned by the public.
Not to say that a 32-year-old is ancient but where are the young(er) people? Why is it that in most spheres of life (except perhaps music) the forerunners are a few years shy of 30 and older. I say again, where are the young people? What exactly do young people spend their time doing? Why are the young people irrelevant? I do not loose ends and so I sat on my bed at 7a.m determined to find answers. Just then my phone beeped, it was a twitter notification. At that moment it hit me; the young people were on twitter. This generation of doers is irrelevant in real life because somewhere along the line priorities had changed. When social media was invented it sure as hell wasn’t expected to substitute for real life, at best it’s a tool for networking and a temporary escape from reality. These days it is easier for a young person to hound a celebrity for a follow back than to go out in search of a holiday job.
Why try at real life when Twitter will suffice? What is most upsetting is that I belong to this generation. Many of you might think this is not an issue, you’re wrong. Have you looked at any of the jobs section in a daily paper? 9 out of 10 invitations to apply for a job come with a caveat “three years or more working experience required”. My generation needs to realize that real life is no longer a bed talk less of one with roses. It is a known fact that your best work and the foundation for your future is determined by what you do between the ages of 20-30. You are more passionate, brave, fearless even and more likely to take risks when in this age bracket. So why the hell are young people not making a bloody impact?! Why the hell have we become a generation of lazy, ‘siddon’ look underachievers?!
This time I didn’t need a notification from my phone. Young people are doing nothing because somewhere along the line we’ve gotten caught up in the wrong things and lost sight of what is really important. When our parents were our age the focus was get an education/master a craft and make a decent living. It is embarrassing to type this but it appears that our focus as young people is “get a celebrity follow-back and amass followers on twitter”. What would possess a young person to be so dissociated from reality that when asked to introduce him or herself, a twitter handle is put forward? I was recently asked to recommend a personal assistant for a mentor. While I know of several young people who could work for her, I also knew that 99% of the people I could have recommended had twisted priorities. They were MVPs on twitter but in real life they had forgotten to get off the team bus and step on the soccer field.
Lest I be accused of simply complaining without putting forth a solution I’ll say this. Yes it is hard in the real world and yes it is ridiculous for employers to request for 3 years working experience for entry level positions. But there are ways around this. I’ll paint a scenario; a 20 year old student of UNILAG named Victor has dreams of owning a media empire like MTV. Victor is in his second year and also resident in Lagos. He gets a summer job working at say a SoundCity. He basically does grunt work. Victor impresses his bosses and gets an Internship. He continues to work at SoundCity part-time when he isn’t attending classes and full-time when he is on holidays. 2 years later Victor graduates from the University with a degree in mass communication. He applies for a job at MTV and his CV reads that he has 2 years working experience. He gets that job before his classmate who has zero work experience. Victor has beaten the odds.
Dear young person it is time to get off that team bus and show up for the game.
Op-ed pieces and contributions are the opinions of the writers only and do not represent the opinions of Y!/YNaija.