The Millenials – Are We Really Going To Change The World?

This man who paraded himself as learned sat behind his desk in his air conditioned conference room carefully concealed under the facade of “founding fathers” and tried to make me feel ashamed of being part of a generation that wanted more. A generation that was not scared of dreaming and reaching farther for what they were never given.

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At the beginning of the year I attended a job interview in a law firm. You see, I was just fresh out of the National Youth Service corps scheme and I was trying as much as possible to get a fulfilling job that paid well enough to keep me comfortable.

I had applied to some law firms, and written a lot of Lawyers suitabllility and employability tests. I was ecstatic when one of the firms I applied to reached out to me and set an oral interview for Monday at 3:00pm.

On the said Monday I got to the firm at exactly 2:00 pm and it took the practice administrator more than two hours to grant me audience.

At 4:30pm I sat in the conference room of the firm before a panel of three and answered questions bordering on procedural law as easily as i could. I could tell my interviewers were impressed with my answers, they said as much and to be honest I was glad the interview was going better than I hoped. However, there was the little issue of my limited experience in the legal profession and one of my interviewers expressed concern that I had been practicing law for roughly one year and still had a lot to learn. He explained the need for me to garner experience and said I could only get this if I was willing to put in the needed time. Then he asked if I was married and I responded in the negative. It was only when he announced the office hours was 8:00am to 9:00pm, Monday to Saturday that I understood the reason for him wanting to know my marital status.

I was unperturbed though, I assumed a firm determined to keep me at work late should be able to pay for my time.

Then one of the interviewers asked the dreaded question; “How much do you expect as your starting salary?” To which I responded, “at least a hundred thousand Naira.” He smiled and said I was too young to earn that much.

The third person on the panel, a man in his early fifties who had been silent for the most part of the session became visibly upset with my demand.

From his annoyance one would assume my pay was going to come directly out of his pockets. Then he went ahead and gave a speech on how he earned only 10,000 Naira as a young lawyer in the 80’s. According to him my generation was lazy and we always sought the easy way out. He talked about how we wanted quick money without wanting to work for it. He lamented on how loose and immoral we had become often wasting time on the less important things.

I sat silently and watched him express his disgust for my generation with zest and passion.

I wanted to speak up for the millennials. I wanted to remind him that in the 80’s a dollar was equivalent to 55 kobo and so with 10,000 Naira he could do a lot and still be one of those my generation described as “ballers”. I wanted to let him know that this was 2018 and a dollar was now equivalent to 350 Naira. I wanted to let him know that my country had been called a shit hole because we trusted his generation who were supposedly wiser, knowledgeable and responsible to lead us to greater heights and development. I wanted to let him know that we millennials were not as hopeless as he thought. After all, I did not endure one hour in traffic and wait two hours for an interview if I was looking for quick cash. I did not spend five years in the university and one year in law school if I was seeking an easy way out. I would not be willing to work thirteen hours a day if I was lazy. Most importantly I was not sitting behind a laptop claiming to be a Nigerian prince and trying to scam a middle aged white man off thousands of dollars.

On the contrary I was just another twenty two year old trying to make an honest living. One out of thousands of millennial generation of Nigerian youths who graduated into a receding economy and a political system ridded with ethnocentrism, tribalism, religious persecution and prebendalism.

This man who paraded himself as learned sat behind his desk in his air conditioned conference room carefully concealed under the facade of “founding fathers” and tried to make me feel ashamed of being part of a generation that wanted more. A generation that was not scared of dreaming and reaching farther for what they were never given.

As a matter of fact I was proud of my generation. We could boast of lawyers, doctors, scientists and professionals. We had the creatives who could never be put in a box, the hackers, coders and IT geniuses. And oh we had the writers spinning glorious tales of our everyday struggles for earth to know one page at a time. We were more than capable of lifting our nation.

I did not think we were ungrateful, we were not greedy, nor were we lazy. We were just individuals trying to create and contribute to society; we were not asking for hand outs so why was it so wrong that we wanted to be paid commensurate to our qualifications and skills?

As I sat and listened to this man, I realized that there was something about my generation, something about our ‘wokeness’ to the evolvement of our society, something about our pursuits of new ideas. Something about our thirst and hunger for a better life. Something about us that said “We were going to change the world.”

Responses

  1. horla
    well spoken. it’s pathetic when the uncles that squandered the family fortunes try to teach you hard work, after calling you lazy and too forward.
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