We live in different times. These are times in which the walls of distance, space, and time zones have crashed significantly. Those are not the only things that have crashed however, we can finally begin to shed all our mindset prisons with regards to how life should be lived in general. Many of us, millennials, are finally able to live our truths. We don’t have to adhere to prototypes as established by our parents’ and grandparents’ generations with regards making a living, marriage, family-life relationships and more.
Before now, the society had its own template for each of us and like a factory assembly churns out almost perfect replicas of mass produced commodities, we had to align or risk being vetoed by the “Quality Control” system established and perpetuated by culture.
On the Career side of life, the evolution recorded is of epic proportions. We were taught by our parents to work hard and patiently for decades at a particular job or industry and one day, after three or four decades of grind, you wind up with a good retirement benefit, a decent home and the dividends of raising a medium-sized to large family to boot. My generation has, however, turned that on its head. First off, new industries have sprung up that would never have seen the light of day in the first place. Who paid for a Life Coach 15 years ago around here? What is a Nutritionist and why do you need a Make up Artist on “important” occasions? Who would have thought Tech Start ups with Silicon Valley investments would be actualized? Even your friends would have laughed in your face ten years back if you ever told them you considered Blogging, as a career or any other venture in the Digital Space for that matter.
Today, technology has become a leveler empowering the under dogs to go against the big wigs. Even the multinationals and government institutions tremble at the thought of hackers or even their audiences turning against them online. From the Bitcoin system to Uber Driving to Tech Start ups to Blogging and Content Creation to consulting in the Knowledge economy, selling E-Books to providing online courses, no one has an excuse not to convert his gifts, hobbies or even personality to a career or business. Not in these times.
Today, more Millennials are able to create their own career paths as opposed to trying to fit unsuccessfully into preset ones. What’s more, they are even able to validate such paths! What parent can deny the financial benefits that have come out of the Creative industries these days?
What’s even more interesting to watch is how it has become a possibility to make the money those parents waited decades for within one decade of hustle. It may not happen to the most but it is most certainly a possibility. A chunk of it revolves around the Social Media where your worth is dictated by how many followers and page likes you have as opposed to real money in the bank and assets. Forgive me, these have, in fact, become Bankable assets that when leveraged properly have become brand equity guaranteed to rake in good money.
Don’t even get me started on our lifestyle choices. Marriage philosophies have evolved and while many are still old-fashioned in orientation, most have boldly chosen their own path with regards to when or whether they will get married at all. A Goldman Sachs Research recently put the median marriage in the US at 30 as opposed to 23 in the 70s. Studies from the Pew Research Centre in the US continue to prove the evolution of ideology among the Millennials compared to the Generation X and the Baby Boomers. A September 2017 publication from the Pew Research Centre states that the largest number of co-habiting and single mother households are headed by a Millennial. Needless to say, we have started to mirror these realities around here.
Others have decided to differ in how many children they will have and how they will be raised, where the children will be born to secure their future etc. Do you know how many of us drain our bank accounts to ensure all our children are born in America to secure their passport and by extension, future. That particular trend is unmistakable.
Gay relationships and Cross dressers have always been a part of existence; they have just become more audaciously vocal with our preferences these days, most of these preferences have become even become platforms propelling some into stardom, and even income generation. A notable Nigerian cross dresser once charged subscribers a fee for access to his SnapChat page.
Politics in the past decade has taken interesting turns and with pockets of Racial, Gender and Age controversies and drama, that scene has evolved with the times. Just look at how vested we were all were in the last American elections and even today with much of this drama locally and around the world will continue to be the butt of countless Memes and Hashtags. I cringe at the thought of how the Monica Lewinsky Scandal of 1997- 1998 would have played out if it had in the midst of today’s technology advancement. As for Nigerian politics, we will just need to be our own political models as the past Generations hopefully bow out , just look at how the Occupy Nigeria Advocacy brought us together.
Even the retail space has seen changes, especially in Nigeria’s consumer-insensitive economy. The fear and prevention of online reproach via Nairaland or the mainstream Social Media platforms is the beginning of service industry wisdom. I have a personal experience with one of Nigeria’s insurance companies to prove it. We, marketing professionals, know the formula, the “good guy” reputation fighting for social causes remain the foundation of modern marketing ideologies, do good and celebrate it viral style. Toms ( a shoe brand) as well as Dove (A body soap brand) have perfected this art. Millennials are demanding more accountability from brands with User Generated Content put out about them daily, thereby democratizing their brands’ perceptions. The consumers, again, regain control. Around here, GT bank, looking to expand its influence in the Millennial lifestyle, has run the Ndani TV platform successfully with over 135,000 subscribers and talk shows and Comedies speaking to my generation’s issues.
Social Media sits as the judge and jury of happenings, serving as a conduit that facilitates these realities. That the world has become a community of simulated interactions, and computer-generated relationships is no longer news.. Most of us service more relationships on Social Media than face- to face interactions. We introduce ourselves, engage others and carry out more transactions online than we can manage in person.
All the above being said, I’m not even trying to be cool as a Millennial. That ship has sailed with Generation Z actually growing up with more technology and more Social Media channels than my generation could have imagined, I predict floating cars, 1 -hour flights between Africa and North America and online platforms that allow you to actually shake hands physically while in different times zones and more! But seriously, in Nigeria, I’m hoping to see more explosions and structure in our Entertainment industry, more Agriculture startups by Millennials and viable replacements to the Oil industry, more Silicon Valley and Tech Nigeria Collaborations, improved consumer rights and more positive lifestyle formations in the next few years and more. Hopefully, myself and others in my generation will take up the mantle of leadership and become the role models we seek.
In the meantime, dear millennial, there are no more excuses, no impossible barriers to living life to the fullest. Dream big, dream wild, then go out and chase your dreams. You are already running late!