A letter to the young African professional

Hey all 🙂

I hope you are enjoying your week-end whatever your plans are. Someone I admire once said, “when there is an elephant in the room, you must introduce it”…Today’s post is something we all know about especially in Joburg i.e. the social pressure to

Photo taken from FundsforNGOs (https://www2.fundsforngos.org)

“try keep up with the Joneses”, be seen, constantly be and/or have more… I see too many people drowning in debt (and sometimes even depression)-this age of social media does not help either where we tend to compare ourselves to people’s best angles/moments…This phenomenon is not only applicable to South Africa, I have seen it with the Congolese/Angolan/Namibian/Nigerian community as well…but at what cost and when/how does one stop it?

  • It’s okay to be you and progress at your own pace
  • It’s okay to purposely choose an entry level car to maximize your savings. A bigger car does not mean success: most of the time it is just a bigger debt
  • It’s okay to skip the Friday drinks at that fancy pub if trying to cut down on your own expenses
  • It’s okay to bootstrap your bonus and/or savings and invest this into a degree and/or side hustle/business
  • It’s okay to re-evaluate your friendships if you feel the need to constantly keep up appearances to fit-in
  • It’s okay to skip the latest/hottest festivals in town
  • It’s okay to split the bills as guys/girls friends especially if everyone is working (unless of course it’s the first date: then guy must pay, i’m old school like that…lol!)
  • It’s okay to live below your means (& not incur extra debt) to finish paying off a bond/help with your parents with your siblings’ school fees and/or buy your parents a house (depending on your family financial status)
  • It’s okay not to wear designer clothes and skip the latest trends
  • It’s okay not to be the boss (just yet) and learn as much as you can while still young
  • It’s perfectly okay to be content pursuing a career in the private/public sector and not be an entrepreneur
  • It’s okay to fail a number of times (and go through financial difficulties) before establishing your company (most successful entrepreneurs failed at least once in their lives)
  • It’s okay to skip the holidays to Paris/London/Dubai/Thailand/Zanzibar if you cannot afford it
  • It’s okay to ask for help (included mental) when not coping
Photo taken from Jobberman (http://blog.jobberman.com.gh)

What sometimes helps me is that I come from a country whose economy collapsed a number of times, and saving for rainy days (when you had a bit extra) became a way of life for us as loans from the bank were just not an option. This has stopped me from taking unnecessary debts such as clothing account stores, etc. The other reality check is always being grateful for what I have/where I am wrt to the rest of the continent.

To conclude, never be ashamed to live within your means & stop the comparison game.

Until my next post



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