Tag: generation

By Thandazani Ngwenya, client executive at 21st Century

There is a lot of research about the varied needs and world views of different generations. In this article, a working millennial discusses how work looks through his eyes and what has changed in comparison to how his parents did it.

The age of instant gratification

I am in month three of the world of work, in my first job and an excited employee. As a millennial, flexibility, accessibility, ease and instant gratification are part of our ‘genetic make-up’.

The very first work experience

Technology and its advancements are very familiar to me. Growing up in the digital age meant that a large portion of my relationships, both personal and professional, were established online. My career, in terms of how I positioned myself, was conducted on a virtual basis; for instance, via LinkedIn, and unlike my parents’ era, I was not confined to physically having to deliver my CV. My job search was made easier by access to technology.

This is an element that I have come to associate with my current world of work, where seeking and starting work during the global pandemic meant that relationships were established on a virtual basis. I met the majority of my colleagues via platforms like Zoom and Microsoft teams. The relationships were not difficult to establish or maintain. In fact, I believe these circumstances made people more accessible at all levels of the organisation, including management.

Being raised in the digital age made me accustomed to a life that is characterised by access, increased usability, and to a degree, instant gratification. These are characteristics and expectations I have brought to my workspace.

Was it different to what you expected? In what way?

It was VERY different! I grew up observing not only my parents but extended family and their friends, donning three-piece suits for interviews, having to physically submit CVs to HR representatives and attending activities such as interviews and onboarding/orientation in person to outline a few elements.

Transitioning from university into the real world with that as the basis for how I have come to see the working world was quickly displaced by technological advancements and the COVID pandemic. For starters, my interview was conducted virtually, and I had attended a funeral on the same day, which prompted me to conduct my interview from a car in a different province than that of my prospective place of employment.

This scenario embodies my attributes as a millennial. It was convenient, easy (not bound to the traditional brick and mortar confines) and allowed for flexibility. When I got the job, my orientation into the organisation followed a similarly flexible path. It was conducted both virtually and in person. And because of the remote element, I had the opportunity to form relationships with some of my colleagues that I would not have ordinarily had access to.

The hierarchical divide I expected was not the same as how previous generations described it. The channels of access were opened immensely, with immediate access to executives and management.

My outputs were within my control, as if I had become the CEO of my own enterprise, motivated to produce work and achieve optimal results, not because of constant supervision but because I was driven. For me, I believe this is an important responsibility when flexibility and an excess in freedom is introduced.

I have come to understand the culture of my new company, and see that it is likely I would have experienced a non-hierarchical entity in any event. But I have been impressed at the adaptability and strength of relationships and culture, particularly at this early stage of my employment.

As days roll into nights, into weeks, months, years… we are prone to changes at the core of our existence as humans, having to adapt as life evolves. Society at large is not immune to this evolution and the world of work is vastly different from the way it was introduced to me from a spectator’s point of view.

What does it all mean?

Flexibility in today’s world of work for me is indicative of an ability to structure my life in the way that I see fit. For instance, I have been able to dabble in online courses in between my breaks, learning new skills on YouTube or just spend time reading a book.

A flexible work structure takes away the notion of surveillance, and with that, an ability to accurately measure productivity in its traditional sense. As a millennial, I feel like a CEO of my own job, where flexibility has given me the ability to take responsibility and become the ‘boss’ of myself. My pay is influenced by everything I do every day; my job satisfaction is up to me; my learning and development is in my own hands.

Accessibility as an element of my ‘genetic make-up’ is experienced in the way that the communication lines between myself, my superiors and my colleagues have opened up, replacing the hierarchy I expected with a harmonious openness and access to other team members.

Eskom is in a ‘death spiral’

This is a week that the beleaguered power utility would rather forget.

Net losses
Yesterday the state-owned enterprise posted net losses after tax of R20.7-billion.
These losses were due to:

  • Municipal debt rising to R20-billion
  • NERSA only granting a 5.23% tariff increase
  • Sales declining by 1.82%
  • Wage settlements with unions that were above inflation

Soweto residents demand flat fee
The residents of Soweto, who combined owe Eskom more than R18-billion in unpaid fees, have demanded that prices for unlimited electricity be capped at R100 for each resident:

  • Soweto residents demand that their debt be written off
  • Of the estimated residents in Soweto, Eskom currently supplies 135 000 with legally connected power
  • Only 12% (16 2200) of these customers pay for electricity
  • Debt from the area has risen from R3.6 billion in 2014 to its current level of R18-billion
  • Eskom is threatening to disconnect non-paying customers, remove illegal connections, and move more houses to prepaid electricity
  • Soweto residents are fighting back, launching Operation Khanyisa which sees trained local members illegally reconnecting houses for no charge

Kusile in crisis
Construction on the coal-fire power station Kusile began 11 years ago, in 2008. However, not one unit is currently working:

  • All six 800 MW generator units are offline
  • Five years behind schedule, only Unit 1 at Kusile has been handed over for commercial service
  • Units 2 and 3 are still undergoing testing and commissioning
  • Major design, execution and operational problems are being experienced

Load-shedding looms
Based on the factors mentioned above, a number of industry experts believe load-shedding will reappear towards the end of August:

  • Major issues with Eskom’s new power plants haven’t been resolved
  • Debt is mounting
  • Generation remains a massive challenge for Eskom, and capacity is limited
  • Operational issues have not been addressed

 

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My Office News Ⓒ 2017 - Designed by A Collective


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