Monday, May 15, 2017

Millennial Tension?

I heard about Simon Sinek's video on Millennials from my friend Jarvis. He was the first of my friends to post it on a social media profile - just as it was going viral. It's a clip that seemed to capture strength of feeling across my friendship group. Even Sinek seemed surprised at how much attention it got as he recorded a follow-up.

Put it this way - even the Principal of the school in which I teach had seen it - and mentioned it to me in school.

I then showed the video to my Sixth Form at school. The tutors thought it was great. The reaction from the students was somewhat subdued: here was another pressure, another thing to worry about, another reason to bury heads in the sand. It was a resistant consideration. (They have moaned that my assemblies are overly negative; I say I'm being truthful. Perhaps brutally so). The tutors, in contrast, really liked it. Playing the clip in an assembly like that highlighted the stark differences age groups in the room. And so it shall be: Baby-boomers, Gen X, Gen Y, Millennials, etc. terminology may vary, but differences remain.

Who would be a teenager nowadays anyway? Things seemed so different when I was in Sixth Form. No-one was chasing a six-pack. Nobody went to the gym. There were no mobile phones - and there was no Internet - yes I'm that old. That meant no Facebook, no Instagram, no Snapchat and no pressure. Or at least the pressures were different. I had the weight of expectation to deal with (Asian pressure anyone?) I read books and watched TV during Sixth Form. My dad limited the time I spent on our computer (with 64 kilobytes of memory). But in my late teens I had discovered guitar and played a lot at home (mostly) by myself.

These differences inspired Jarvis and I. We hadn't seen each other for years until I received an unexpectedly uplifting and surprisingly gracious email from him. Him and his wife are expecting a baby - and he took the time to contact me to let me know. Davina and I have had (and are still having) a challenging journey on our way to create a family. Jarvis' email was an acknowledgement of emails I'd sent, and articles I'd posted about our difficulties with fertility. He found my thoughts, ideas and tips a source of encouragement. He told me how he kept referring to my writing.

It was the perfect message and the perfect time. I was drowning myself in frustration and mild anger. It was the end of 2016 - and I'm always reflective at this time. I start thinking about the previous twelve months: what did I achieve, what should I have done - but also thinking about the year ahead. It was a natural suggestion for us to meet up, so we set a date in January.

We agreed to meet at Monmouth. I'd never experienced their coffee. I was cynical - but the sheer number of people at the branch in Borough market made an impression on me. Needless to say, I loved the coffee, but enjoyed the conversation more. It was wonderful catching up with Jarvis - old friends, old conversations yes, but we were older too. We are at different life-stages now from when we first met. I remember we were talking about freelancing. I was mentioning that I felt I was coming to the end of my time in teaching, but I had no idea what I wanted to do next. Jarvis was saying how going freelance was one of the best choices he ever made - even with the concerns that immigrant parents have about security and future. I was enjoying a hot drink from another coffee place (we'd moved on by then) when Jarvis said (out of nowhere) "I think we should start a business together". I thought he was joking.

But he wasn't.

So we just starting thinking of ideas. Sinek's video had inspired us both and we knew we wanted to do something that looked forward; created a new future.

Our idea is to support millennials in their transition from university to job, or in the initial stages of their career. Specifically, Millennial Goans. Yes, we're focusing on our cultural community - because we've both been previously involved in making things happen in our youth. Perhaps companies would want to invest - especially given the research about millennials at work, but our community is a nicer place to start.

We're testing the idea. And the first thing we chose to do was record a YouTube video about our experiences moving from studying to career. Where we go next is uncertain, but we're creating...

Jarvis and James having a chat...