THE EDITOR: An open letter to all young adults.
Any graduation is accompanied by a sense of relief, freedom, optimism and putting dreams and plans into action. However, reality finds you in the throes of a pandemic, with behaviours regulated, and society unable to assure you about the future.
Recall the announcement that the “scholarship pool” is drying up and only one quarter of the usual offering will be available from now on. As millennials, you are achievement-oriented, confident, ambitious, have high expectations, and not afraid to challenge authority.
Keep the first three personality characteristics but (1) temper your high expectations. Young people walk off jobs complaining that their bosses “exploiting dem” and are not paying for extra work/time. “Half a loaf is better than none,” meaning that something is better than nothing, even if it is less than you expected. You are young. Time is on your side. Experience is priceless.
(2) Rethink how and when you choose to challenge authority. Two other personality characteristics you must nurture are resilience or the ability to start over (bounce back) in spite of disappointments, and patience. Yes, patience can be strategic.
A position becomes redundant. The manager apologises for the final decision. Jobless admin assistant goes home, cries and snacks, neither leaving her messy apartment nor answering the phone. Lying on the couch, she looks around. There on a shelf is her professional Canon digital single-lens reflex camera, a gift from her parents. She smiles. She remembers her love for photography. She holds the camera.
There is a knock on the door. She answers it. A friend has been trying to connect with her and decides to come to her house. While holding her nose, she says: “Take a shower, now,” helps clean up and takes her to dinner.
This friend is applying for a job and must submit photos of herself. She must find a photo studio. The jobless young woman stays silent, then says: “I can do it.” Her friend responds: “Really?” a surprised look on her face. A photo shoot is arranged and photographs are submitted.
The company to which her friend submits the photos asks about the photographer. The photos are the best they have seen. An interview follows with a short probationary period where she photographs models for magazine covers and advertisements. She is happy and her creativity excels.
In her anxiety to pay the bills, she forgot that she is talented and creative. On her way to her new job, she meets the manager who fired her. All she says is, “Thank you.” Being fired and her friend’s support helped her to reclaim her talent and create her own future.
Introspect. Be true to yourself. Diversify. What talents and skills do you have? Friends support each other, you all might be able to create a business which will pay the bills and make a difference in the community. Management expert Peter Drucker has the best advice for these challenging times: “The only way to predict the future is to create it.” Each one of you has that power in your hands.
I have been following the Scrap Iron Dealers Association which has been begging the “powers that be” to support it in a recycling plan which can generate employment and much needed foreign exchange. I heard a comment which saddened me – that if other major players in our country had presented that proposal, “the powers” would have accepted it without thinking twice.
However, the Scrap Iron Dealers Association is working at creating its own future. I heard it said: “Whether they agree to support us or not, we have things in place to begin this project in June 2021.”
I really hope and pray that everything falls into place so that the scrap iron dealers can begin. I get the impression that it is a well-planned project. There will still be some issues to sort out but they have international support and are genuine about what this project can do to help turn our present situation around. I do wish them well and I know that they know hard work, resilience and patience.
Young people, take note.
ANNA MARIA MORA