by Ruth Aine - 01 August 2015
Tugume, a 33-year old Ugandan gentleman, is a budding entrepreneur. His typical day starts with going to his ‘day job’ in the morning like everyone else. He is working in the banking sector in Kampala,Uganda. He has been doing this job since he left university and because of his great work ethic, he was able to rise and get promoted sooner than most.
When he was 28 he had to embark on further studies. That meant getting a post- graduate degree at a reputable university. He chose to take a weekend course to enable him to continue working while studying. So, every Friday evening from 5–9pm, he was in class studying. He did that for the whole of Saturday and Sunday as well. Within two years, he finished his course and graduated. “It was very hectic,” he said, “but I had to continue working no matter what. Otherwise, how would I be able to pay for my education?”
At least once or twice a week, he meets his business partner for lunch to ‘catch up’. About a year ago he started to pursue farming. He wanted to do this to create an extra income but also because everyone was doing it. The weekends are reserved for the farm. He will travel there early Saturday morning, to do the routine check-up on his far-off crops and livestock, which is about 90 minutes’ drive from the city. If there isn’t much to attend to, he will be back in the city by 4:00pm. Tugume is also passionate about helping other farmers access the markets. So, he is working with his business partner to create a social innovation kind of application that farmers will be able to use regardless whether they are familiar with English or not - by just the use of a basic knowledge of a mobile phone. This he devotes time to – all the time, whenever and wherever – because it is his baby and he sees its potential. He hopes that once the application has taken root, he will be able to resign from his ‘day job’ and then concentrate on the farm and develop that application further, which in a way is likely to translate to yet another job in itself. So for him, if he is not at office, or the farm, he is busy doing research on this application. He goes to the gym at least three times a week to keep in shape and is also the secretary of an investment club that meets monthly. This is his work-life.
He tries as much as possible to find time for his family. And so, occasionally, he will have Sunday lunch at home with his mother who many a times will remind him or tell him that he needs to get married because ‘time is running out’.
Tugume represents what we call the Millennials of this world and their ideal work situation. The kind of work that is not the traditional setting where one has only one job, working 8:00am to 5:00pm daily and then leave for home. No, the Millennials are forever glued to a computer working on something, their work not only confined to office hours and not measured by that kind of output. This means that they will have business lunch meetings at their favorite bistro or restaurant, or meet colleagues for drinks after work. That would be considered normal and even though it is supposed to be ‘social’, half the conversation is about work. “Did you see my email about ….”, or “Actually we are working on that, can we exchange notes later this week?”
The Millennial will have a smartphone or sometimes a Blackberry to be able to always receive and exchange work emails or just take note as they arrive. And that to me is the future of work. It continues to be defined by the pace and availability of the person to work. The Millennial continues to fight really hard to be relevant in the workstream but they also recognize that the conventional 8-5 job is not what they are wired for. So, they invest their time in as many things as possible, so as to be satisfied and feel that they are on top of their game.