Are Uganda’s Youths Self entitled and Lazy?

They have mastered the art of crying out to anyone that cares to listen about how jobs are unavailable and even the very few that are, require Technical Know Who. Most of their time is spent on Social Media ranting the entire day while taking breaks off to beg for a few shillings here and there to buy data bundles. It’s actually shocking that this whole talk of no jobs has cemented itself into their mindsets rendering many of them into mental resignation. Others have opted to simply enjoy the ever present facilities of their parents’ homes while they still can.

Since 2001, I have actively been involved in employing youths in different business ventures. My observation has been one of a gradual deterioration in the level of focus they have for work while simultaneously exhibiting a marked increase in the desire for money.

Today’s youth has the luxury of judging the suitability of a job based upon how much is being offered. Even without a family, they will tell you that a job of UGX 400,000/ is not worth it.

Today’s youth has the luxury of wanting very flexible times of work and this should not see them arrive in office before 8am or later than 5pm. Waking up early just to go to work isn’t their kind of thing.

Today’s youth is expecting to miraculously land on a well paying job that offers them perks like medical cover, lunch, transport among others. They want to see themselves buying a car within 6 months of being on that job.

Since 2016, I had this young man (let’s call him Jimmy) hounding me to help him get a job. He took every opportunity on Facebook and WhatsApp to show me how desperate he was to get work. As usual, I didn’t rush because I wanted to see his level of desperacy. Having dealt with youths a lot, I had learnt a thing or two.

After over a year of being hounded, I managed to land Jimmy an opportunity to work in a friend’s company.

Upon being notified of his admission, he was informed about the reporting day. To my surprise and that of my friend, this young man sauntered into office very late for work on his first day. By doing so, he had even missed the induction training that had been done for all the new staff. This training was conducted by an external consultant. When I was notified of this, I recall telling my friend to consider offloading him, something which he opted against in the spirit of a second chance.

Fast forward, littered with days of absenteeism from work, Jimmy wondered why when it came to time for him to get paid, the net amount was less than what he expected. He was reminded of the terms of employment which were clear that he gets paid based upon work done. Feeling aggrieved, he made a decision to quit the job. This is what he shared with me when I reached out to him, I quit the job due to terms and conditions: The time of reporting and departure was 7:30am – 6pm Monday to Saturday and I was coming from Mukono so time management was an issue; Money issues, I was told to be paid 400k per month then was surprised to get 320k reason being I missed some few days minus working but I communicated to them and they told me it’s okay; Finally I had gotten a loan to facilitate my transport issue but then when I received that 320k I remained with few coins so it was hard for me to continue …” I nearly shed a tear upon reading this gibberish. He not only failed to communicate his challenges to his supervisor but also couldn’t share with me (the recommender) yet he was fully aware that I had used my personal influence to get him that placement.

As I regurgitated what this young man had shared with me, my mind went down memory lane to 1997 when as a student at Makerere University, I opted to work for free with a technology company in order to not only gain skills but position myself for a job thereafter. Together with a close buddy of mine, we used to walk to and from work on a daily basis and relied on handouts from office staff for lunch. It was after months of working that they eventually begun giving us a commission on each assignment executed. The money was miniscule but we persevered. This went on until a time when we were eventually given a fixed salary. Despite the challenging circumstances we worked in, our perseverance paid off since we educated ourselves through utilising the free office internet and our next jobs gave us offers that were multiples of our previous salaries.

Today, even a student on internship is likely to complain about not being given transport and lunch at work. Shame! What a shame!

I am sure for those reading this article, some of you have been in my situation. While I await your feedback in the comments section, you probably associate with the feeling of being let down plus the possibility of a broken relationship with someone you have known for years.

For those that want to always be recommended for opportunities, please put in mind the fact that your recommenders have a past filled with credibility that you shouldn’t trample upon with your careless attitude towards life and work.

Unless something changes, I foresee the majority of the current generation of youths leading very lousy lives of non achievement once their parents get out of the way.

While I do not want to put the entire blame of the status-quo on them, it is crucial to point out the bad parenting that has led to this. Today’s parent hardly wants to see the child go through any form of struggle and prefers to provide each and everything that the child cares to place a finger upon. Others do not cultivate the working culture preferring to have workers do each and every task in the home as the kids are appraising themselves with the latest episode of The Kardashians. Matters are made worse by the Fathers who are hardly present in their children’s lives preferring to focus on paying School fees, rent and buying food.

As for the victims (the youths), there is a need for you to get out of your slumber. Your dad and mom shall not be here forever, a time will come for them to die and even while you might be putting faith in the properties they have amassed, a lack of good work ethics shall see you eat through whatever fortune that is left behind. There are examples galore to augment this observation.

While not all youths behave like Jimmy, and I applaud those that have taken the bull by the horn to steer their lives for the better, it is my hope that this article speaks to the numerous Jimmys out there. You know yourselves and it is about time you changed.

James Wire is a Business and Technology Consultant based in Kampala, Uganda
Follow @wirejames on Twitter.
Email lunghabo [at] gmail [dot] com

4 responses to “Are Uganda’s Youths Self entitled and Lazy?

  1. A fish starts rotting from the head. The behavior of today’s youth is a representation of this countries top most leadership. No way you except youth to work hard when they have grown up watching politicians and civil servants amass wealth through thuggery in the shortest time in the history of man.


  2. stephen ojara

    Refer those youth they can work with me.and they will never look for salary job all their lives.0784227093/0751132203


  3. These is a very important advice for the youth outside there including me my self.
    There are many ways of killing a rat, meaning that some of us might have failed parents advice but thru such wise quotes one can easily learn. Thnx a lot brother for the wisdom of life today


  4. As always insightful James. Much as I don’t condone the laziness, and sense of entitlement displayed by some of today’s youth, I must say they are victims of the current environment they have been unfortunate or fortunate enough to grow up in.
    Usually social changes are gradual, but posy millennium, the change has been abrupt, the internet and changes in technology have meant that there has not been the gradual change we, or our parents went through. Poor things are victims of this abruptness, which we, as parents are also struggling with… So it is the blind leading the blind in this case. We are getting to grips with technology and the speed it is advancing, the youth are doing the same. I guess, good governance will go a long way in helping, we as employers need to accommodate the value that someone who bounces into office at 10:00AM has…Give youth a chance I say. 😉


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