Why are youth disillusioned, stressed in the work place?

Career coach Mpho Makube gives her take on why young professionals struggle to navigate the working world.

Coach Mpho Makube. Picture: Supplied

JOHANNESBURG - While unemployment remains a burden for most young South Africans, those who do secure a job, especially in corporate, will most likely feel ill-equipped and unable to confidently navigate the working world at times.

This according to career coach Mpho Makube, who has set out to give young professionals the necessary tools to build resilience in the work place.

As a June 16 initiative, Makube plans to host a small scale workshop near the Maboneng precinct in Jo'burg, titled 'Young, gifted and disillusioned in the work place'.

She says while there is focus on coaching and empowering executives and senior managers, very little attention is given to managers at the lower levels, general employees and their personal career development.

"The clients I am coaching are always complaining about the struggles they encounter in the workplace such as racism, sexism, ageism and bullying by senior managers in the workplace, and most of them are burnt out."

Speaking on her career in banking, Makube says her experience at times left her disheartened so much that it affected her health.

"The reason why I left was because I was tired of dealing with the injustices of the work place and I also got sick. By the time I left corporate, I was so burnt out and had a strain of fatigue. People think it's normal - you get sick and get a pill, but it's not addressing the real issue."

The 31-year-old insists that job-hopping is not a solution.

"While most do want to leave, there is a component of fear because they have responsibilities. You work with difficult people in all environments and unfortunately us black people, I can't speak for white people, but in my conversation with black professionals - most of us are first generation corporate workers and when you complain about these things at home your parents don't understand you. It's a multitude of factors."

She also adds, "The reason a lot of people are stressed in the workplace is because they are not happy with their career choices; we are conforming to society. And when you are not happy internally, it's easy to blame external factors, they become pronounced when you yourself are not clear about what is it that you want."

Her advice?

"Do some deep introspection and ask yourself what it is that you really want is. Its two-pronged, because yes I recognise not everyone can up and leave. Sometimes it's a mind-set shift to say 'look at what's going right in your business or career' or 'could you move to another department where you could feel better.'"

Makube says managers can also do their bit by taking responsibility and being more alert to their own behaviours and issues of bullying in the workplace.

The programme consists of skills exercises such as how to address issues with management and some of the warning signs you can look out for if you are battling stress.