Gen-Z's & The Corporate World

Every Saturday, I watch a certain anime, which is basically cartoons for grown ups. The show follows a young man, 24 years of age rise through the ranks of a system where enhancing one's skills was impossible. From birth, you had a defined set of skills and no amount of effort could make you better. Through some divine intervention, or probably dumb luck, he hacked the system and got his footing in the world. (The show is called Solo Levelling for anyone who is curious) Everyone has something to say about Gen-Z's; especially as they are now beginning to join the workforce. Lazy, unmotivated, absent-minded, uninspired and a whole plethora of demeaning terms. However, we have to keep in mind that in every workplace, there exists a generational gap. The CEO is a baby-boomer, Head of Department is a 50-year old Gen-X, the senior developer is a brooding millennial and you , the newest junior developer are a Gen-Z. I find it odd at times how a 40-year old Human Resource Manager and a 21-year old intern are mortal enemies but that is how the corporate world operates. At a time when there is so much information in circulation, via the internet, social media and even people, it takes a real master to filter out the noise and realize that during learning or training, you only need to focus on what matters most to you. Given that today's youth have the attention span of a humming bird, constantly fleeting from one new thing to another, prioritizing what benefits a company or individual most becomes quite the headache. In the age of Artificial Intelligence where we theorize and conceptualize how machines will take over the human race, many find it pointless on how learning and/or honing a skill may be of any use. Having been in Software Development since my early teens, i can confidently say that the first few years of mastering my craft were the most unrewarding, demoralizing and painful years. Waking up every day to tackle the same issue with no progress being made could really push one against a wall with no hope of making it out unscathed. To make matters even worse, i would see people my age or even younger walk all over the problems that gave me migraines .Don't even get me started with the copious amounts of coffee i had to pump into my body just to stay awake. It really was the final nail in the coffin of a bad day. But it was to be expected. With any training, regardless of the field, there exists stages on your way to being a master of your craft. Now the stages will be a topic for my next article (even I wouldn't want to miss out). If you are a Gen-Z reading this, there is a chance you have landed your first job or are an intern in a company. Your skills are rustic at best. You have no sense of co-ordination. Juggling between bosses and fellow employees may seem like walking on hot coal. Mom and dad aren't there to hold your hand anymore and one small step out of line could be the difference between you having a livelihood or getting fired. But through every dark cloud , there is a silver-lining. It is here and now, that you begin narrowing down on what you want to do as a career, as your Life's Task. It is at that office cubicle that you learn to navigate the workplace, where you make life-long friends and where all those years in school start paying off. University gave you a broad scope of what to expect in a field such as computer science, albeit theoretically, but now you get the chance to do it practically, solving real-world situations. Forgive me if I scare you, but that's reality. As you continue sharpening your skillset, the consequences go up a notch. All of a sudden, incorrect accounting formulae may have given landed you a bad grade in school, but now, it could result in your company being a target of the Taxman. Then again, no one expects you to know everything just because you graduated top of your class. Remember the 50-year old CEO I mentioned earlier? With a treasure trove of information, garnering more years of experience in the game compared to how long you have been alive, it would do you more good than harm to walk up to them and seek help and advice wherever you feel inadequate. So to the Gen-Z's out there, are you ready to take up the challenge?

Jessie

jesse.wainaina@3qs.co.ke

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