Let’s start at the end, shall we?

I started work right out of university, a skinny, dishevelled runt, a pale shadow of my future self. I walked with a nervous shuffle, too shy to look anyone in the face, and the little talking I did was potholed prolifically with my stutter. I was a shy boy, timid and unsure of everything in the world except my keyboard. That was when I crossed town from Makerere University to the head offices of the New Vision Print and Publishing Corporation. The Corporation is where I had done my internship, where I submitted my Campus Eye column every week, and when I was done with campus, I asked it, “Now what?” 

The Corporation replied, “Sit down in that corner and type into me.”

And that is what I proceeded to do. For twenty years.

I never experienced any real youth unemployment. I never felt the angst and the anxiety that young people go through in the interim between school and success.   

You could say I had not paid my dues, so when I left the Corporation, aged 40, I found those dues, in mounting arrears, waiting to claim.

Many people change careers in middle-age, but mine was different. Mine was not just unemployment, but was much-delayed youth unemployment.

This is why I think it was similar in some ways to what some of you are going through, or are going to go through: I didn’t know jack.

I had a vague notion of what success I desired, yes,  but dreams are not plans, and desires are not targets. I knew nothing about getting work, less about getting a job, and most of all, utter zilch about how abysmal my ignorance was in those two regards. If anything is the certificate stamp of youth, it is that you don’t know what you don’t know.

I had needed someone to come and tell me those nine words every youth needs to hear when they find themselves thrust into the merciless storm of adulthood: a saying of such immutable, absolute authority it might as well be scripture somewhere, this phrase: “But unfortunately that is not how the world works”.

Let me tell you all about it. Here is the first post. Click here.

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