Do Institutions Understand what Millennial’s Need?


At my first job, I often felt ashamed of being a millennial at the workplace- trying to prove to managers that I am not one of the: “Self-obsessed, entitled, egoistic generation that was given everything for nothing” as Simon Sinek so graciously put it. In spite of my efforts to break the mold- I felt unfairly rounded  up as a short-fall of expectations who makes impulse decisions and gets bored much too often. I criticized myself every day for not learning quickly enough- repeatedly trying to fix myself because of the day to day screw ups I’d make.

After being more seasoned in my role I recognized that the problem is not my “millennial traits” or the outlook fostered by managers who assume that millennials need a trophy to be motivated. There is an opaque inter-generational understanding of millennials’ expectations and values at the workplace which resort to managers’ out-of-touch leadership styles.

It is a misconception that millennials feel they deserve a promotion without working hard- millennials have grown up in pressure- cooker environments whereby we have only known to work hard. 73% of millennials in 2016 have reported to work for more than 40 hours a week- compare that to 36 hours in 2005. Speaking from personal experience- I can attest to finishing high school completely burnt out. I was told that in order to succeed I had to be: a straight A student, captain of the netball team, first chair of the debating society, class representative and any other extra-curricular activity that would make me a more competitive student. By the time I went to University and met hundreds of other versions of myself- my hair had already started to fall out.

This is not to say that we are not or have not been a generation of 6th place medals- even as a high achiever it was frustrating to witness awards given to “most improved” or “nicest student” who, without discrediting their efforts, would de-merit the achievements of top grades. Nonetheless, recognition should not be accredited to bulk us all as a “special” case who need to be reminded that we need to work hard to be successful. We were told that if we worked hard there is nothing we couldn’t achieve. A slogan indoctrinated to us and in effect establishing limitless expectations through the notion of working beyond measures to which any other generation has ever worked.

Overlooked are the strenuous results of millennials who grow up and carry into their adult lives the leakages of trying to meet criteria’s set for us by the generation that calls us entitled. My peer group is made up of well-rounded, multi-talented individuals who are over-worked, under-challenged, over-caffeinated, under slept and still manage to be driven. Unfortunately, the workplace environment often inhabits a culture that stretches millennials by ignoring the need to create work life balance.

We are the first generation that was raised with schedules to facilitate going through the most demanding education system in history while being raised in multi-faceted environments that contributed to the immense social pressures to strive for impact and achievement. Yet the COO of the Be Wiser Insurance Group felt it was exhausting to “massage the egos of graduates” -which in itself is a condescending and patronizing mindset that shows the lack of accountability and understanding Generation X has for requiring a multi-dynamic workforce.

Perhaps there needs to be a substantial shift in perspective- an institutional approach whereby millennials are extracted as assets who reflect the need for management styles to shake off traditional structures in order to recognize how company culture needs to be shaped.

Standard recruitment procedures have to be revisited, especially for entry level jobs which have no rotational functions and (without sounding like a grungy “millennial”) are boring. Innovative institutions have made increasing efforts to digitalize day to day practices to reduce admin functions- a millennial trait which institutions need to get up to speed with. This may be a frame of reference that managers should get to terms with; maybe it’s not boring, maybe it is not innovative enough. Traditional practices need to evolve, most admin tasks can be handled by software systems and digital hardware which reduce paperwork activities and monotonous tasks.

“Task” is the other word which needs to be avoided; a go-fer term often listed in job descriptions which diminishes an employee’s capacity to a fixed cycle that discounts the importance of measurability. Millennials are driven to make impact and actively contribute to see their results. Job descriptions should be designed to create output oriented focuses and avoid task-oriented roles which remove tangibility and visible results. Objectives to generate output create a goal driven group.

Goal commonality is an effort managers need to constantly communicate with millennials by constantly and repeatedly asserting the institution’s mission and vision- a millennial who is dedicated in belief of a goal is a devoted employee. Social dynamics have changed- millennials are having families much later in their lives and have a “new normal” in their need for work- life balance. The need for workplaces to be an extension of their communities is a valuable tool that can be used to retain and mold millennials into company assets.

Millennials are individuals who value team work and the feeling of belonging- a healthy team-oriented environment that reduces the rigid and often alienating walls of departmentalization  creates spaces for shared knowledge. Recruitment should be the beginning and end of for creating a community with a unified mission- team member who are properly trained and multi-skilled will generate innovative ideas that contribute to the relevance of an institution and its external environment. Institutions should milk the benefits of having a mind frame that is global and not limited to their immediate regions; recognition of this is a bank of ideas and techniques which create learning and research relationships at the workplace.

Managers should recognize their roles as leaders and mentors as opposed to individuals who are seen to handle and delegate. Gen Y is a group of designed leaders with little official experience- creating a healthy transition process for graduates to transfer the overwhelming amount of theory into streamlined and effective practice. Leaders who recognize strengths should assign responsibilities which will help grow and excel millennials without micro-managing and under challenging them.


©Sabrina Najib

Love and then Leave Me

Breath to breath we lay in one breath,
Arm in arm we wrapped to one fault,
bone to bone we broke in one stroke,
skin to skin we latched on to lost hope
We loved as one and collapsed into plenty-

Poured into each other- we left each other empty

My lungs latching onto lust,

breaking sweat from thrust to thrust
Trusting that this will disappear
That is a reality I no longer fear
Farewell part time lover-

go on to find another,
go on by your day,

leave me wishing that someday-

love won’t only arrive to leave……..
To leave me lingering off a bitter taste,
Shivering in the heat -this was a waste.
Gone baby gone,
Left to rule on a prickled throne
Itch to scratch where he once touched
I have never hated to love this much

©Sabrina Najib + Ngasuma

Curse of In Memorium

I have wasted years daydreaming and living in retrospect……

of the memories which became a different memory- like books about books which were inspired by other books.

My quiet moments have become a murmuring library of shushing and turning pages, critiquing diaries of thought,

where my past is a row of shelves categorized : for regret or to re-live.

Am I a shadow of the giant I could’ve been?

All these voices which tell of the wrong paths I have taken-

How one lane would have taken me to a faster lane which would have taken me to a different destination.


I am becoming my mother….

a chorus of heartache of the lands lost

and the youth gone when she built a home.

Blood of my blood-

I am the extension of she who bore me and of her mother and her mother’s mother before her.

Today, I am a repentant who thinks to change the past,

like the stone which wished to be a rock- and the rock which wished to be the earth and the earth which wished to be a star.

Are these the makings of me?


These stains in my memory……

that I wear in my character- which no baptizing can rinse from the depths of my skin-

I claw from my bones which rob my nights of sleep-

I am wearing faces to cover faces which mask the faces that have become the thread of my fabric.

The fabric that sewed the hearts of all the daughters in my bloodline-

who hoard and harbor the photo albums, which are sectioned into other albums of all the pains and  all the forgotten glory…..


Is this the composition of my DNA?

The tune that creates symphonies of the lives I have lost and the lives I created.

Background music which are melodies that turn into noise and then back into melodies to become noise that is an opera weeping in memorium.

This mountain of sound- will it become the soundtrack to curse the lives of my children?….. and my children’s children?

This wailing it keeps me up at night-

I am more awake yet I am more asleep.


I have not died but I have watched myself die,

When I think of how timelines could’ve  different-

If I drowned because I couldn’t swim…..

If I crashed because I lost control of the wheel…..

Or if I knew less because I couldn’t read.

Am I overthinking…..?


I let life become a closet-

a closet closeting closets of vintage clothes worn by me and my mother-

A time warp of women who have decided for other women….

to bleed for their daughters to wear winter coats in July-

because they realize that they didn’t decide when they decided to trade winter for the Summer.


Am I the judge of my own sins?

Is my past only built of sin?

Do I drink poison made yesterday to heal the wounds here today which have only scarred in my head?

Yet here I am-

past midnight-

Whipping my own back for the choices made before me-

Choices made by me-

or by them……

or by her.


©Sabrina Najib 

Quench for Purpose

Solomon pilgrimed to Babylon in search of purpose-
Standing audience to false prophets, he read parables,
– Yet between the lines he still didn’t know a truth for certain.
His companions felt now a mare’s nest compared to the wisdom of veterans-
So he changed his company to spend Sundays with the reborn who prosper in reverence.

Besotted, he changed his routine to reflect the teachings of his new prophet-
For a leap year he remained devout to reflect his revived way of innocence….
Until Solomon reassessed to realize he was a tax payer who gave the Lord’s home a profit-
Manifested his needs by following gospels which promised heaven- if you were to make a deposit.

Now a man of his own- he spent his nights in ponder.
Now a feather in a storm he yearned to be closer to the ground-
So he returned to his hunger state of searching for a new order.
Again he would find new cults, new scripts and new trends to abide to,
Only to be disheartened when the young man would find no breakthrough.

59 years behind him he would subscribe to a more quenching channel-
No more questions need answering in the company of his best mates-
One a preacher and one a cure-Sir Jack and Daniels.

©Sabrina Najib


Alas my love you have arrived!!!!
Besieged to thee I have surrendered to you- all.
Cast on to me more – I am addicted to your spells…….
Drunk on lust- you were brewed to thirst me.
Ecstasy fuels my pupils at the sight of you,
Floods my blood to a feverish crimson…
Gathering my former self from the thorns I once swallowed-
How sweet……. How sweet it is, to stay wanting you.
I often fear I might grow green and make a mess of this……
Jaywalk on my own heartstrings- I might crash into you,
killing us both- to become remains of what was a-
Love story crafted for black and white cinema.
Maestro!!! Take the lead, conduct me your orchestra
never to stall a symphony which becalms my soul to sleep.
O what a new world this is- where to live is to dream.
Prone to fall head first for the likes of you….
Re-born and re-lived….
Somehow you made my heart deathless,
though you bring a wind that leaves me breathless.
Under and over heavens and earth,
Vie, c’est la vie- though not so to sigh.
Wars have never been so distant ever since……
X has marked his spot,
you are mine and I am for him.

Save Yourself

Do not make yourself a slumber if they do not dream at night,

Have you arrive with the stars while they yearn for less of your moonlight.

Do not abandon your float to fix a wretch on a one man raft.

Why let a thief take your breath away to pursue their own craft?

Do not make yourself an anchor if they defy your centre of gravity,

Have you hold your breath to sink while they swim in romantic tragedies.



Do not build to house a gypsie who finds their home on the run.

Why let a nomad take your temple and trade it for a caravan?

Do not make yourself a shelter if they sleep better on the roof.

Have you give refuge to be shot while they are built to be bulletproof.



Do not quench your thirst to give a river to the sea.

Why let a basin take away your motion for their passing safety?

Do not make yourself a source if they run away from beginnings.

Have you create an opening while they quest for new endings.



Do not lose the night to chase a moving sun.

Why let the sunset take your sleep while it rises in another time-zone?

Do not make yourself a slumber if they do not dream at night,

Have you arrive with the stars while they yearn for less of your moonlight.

©Sabrina Najib


“Your honour where I fought with the law and the law lost-

You’ll find sufficient evidence in this floral potion”




Farid wore a beret, woven with blue and pink hydrangeas….

He trailed his path with a floral scent to disguise that his ways were dangerous.

Attired in tastes creamy, bubbly and flavourous….

A few months shy of 16- I knew nothing of men who were venomous.



My heart skipped ropes upon receiving a rose between the fold of a letter….

Tied my heart on a string and hung it on a vine alongside the river.

I returned a bouquet of violets and tulips assembled together…..

And onwards from that day- I drew his name with ‘forever’.



Untouched and still of innocence under the buckle of my belt,

Love exchanged in words was the only touch I had ever felt.

Perhaps I lost clarity of sense because of the pollen I smelt….

He took my sanctuary and oath of purity- which the florist forced to melt.



Nobody believed me, when I said the florist raped me,

I begged the judge: “hear me… hear me,

Do not be fooled by the colors in the garden you see-

It is he who committed sin in the first degree”.

But the judge called me a liar- said he bought roses from Faridi quite frequently,

That the florist couldn’t hurt a fly- that I wanted to steal a poor man’s glee.

And so the town hissed at me while the wolf walked free.



What he took from me I could never sew or heal,

But it was my good name that day which he would also steal.

Years came and went and the truth was yet to be revealed,

Drenched in rage I made the bitch ass squeal.



I stuffed petals into his mouth and put a mute to his scream,

Turned this six year nightmare into a long awaited dream.

I blended thorns, bleach and azaelias into a poison.

“Your honour where I fought with the law and the law lost-

You’ll find sufficient evidence in this floral potion”



©Sabrina Najib