I’m a Business, Man: The Glorification of the Hustle

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Somewhere during the last 15 years or so, we began redefining our view of the successful career path. High school. University. Entry-level position. Management. Retirement. They just weren’t sexy enough anymore. The ‘government job’ lost its appeal, stable became the new f-word, and the concept of sitting at someone’s desk, and answering to a boss, became a dreadful, shudder-inducing death knell. And the idea of doing it for 40 years? Why, you might as well kill us now.

We are the millenials. We are Generation Y. We are ambitious, if impatient. We are easily bored, and even more easily distracted. We want to retire early and travel around the world, but please, not in that order. And well, we want lots and lots of money. We have become convinced that these, our deepest desires, can only be realized through the doors of entrepreneurship.

Those who aren’t trying to invent the next Snuggie are flipping properties. Those who aren’t setting up shop in Silicon Valley are setting up stores or recording tracks in home studios and selling their CDs at the side of the road. But we are in need of a massive reality check. And since we like things fast, I’ll make it quick.

It’s Not for Everybody
Really. It isn’t. Most of us have probably heard Jay-Z’s now infamous homophone: “I’m not a businessman, I’m a business, man!” Yes, Jay-Z, dais de ting self.

But some of us can barely decide what to wear to work in the morning…

We want to build our brand, escape the hell that can be the climb of the corporate ladder, and retire by age 40. But some of us can barely decide what to wear to work in the morning, or which band to play with, saying nothing of running a board meeting and making decisions on marketing strategies and budgets. Look at allyuh – giving the clock bad-eye as soon as three o’clock reach, wondering if the hands stick. And you want to be a business, man?

The self-employed will often tell you that there is no harder job than working for yourself. Yeah, some of us can rise to the occasion. Others among us, though, need to question what we really want to be doing at six o’clock on a Friday evening – working on a business plan or relaxing, beer in hand, in somebody’s corner bar?

It’s not Fast Or Easy
Come on millenials, allyuh know how we like things quick. Granted, Pinterest and Dropbox, with their millions of downloads and users in mere months, would have us believing that the long, bumpy road to success is so 1975. But that’s the thing with us, the members of Generation Y. We like the success story. The glitz.

Many business owners catchin’ dey nenen, but don’t have the gall to admit it. The failures and setbacks are glossed over, if not completely ignored, and the achievements are heralded. Kind of like how we do on Facebook. And because the masses aren’t privy to our setbacks, along the way to becoming business owners, we see entrepreneurship as the quick-fire and certain way to fulfilment. The typical millenial would skim over the fact that J. K. Rowling was on welfare, depressed and suicidal before she conceived the story of the boy whose name would be known around the planet. Throw in the fact that she was rejected by 12 publishing houses. Twelve! Had that been some of us, Harry wouldna’ even see the doors of the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.

You Can Be Happy in a “Nine to Five”
And quite frankly, for Trinis, it’s more like an “eight to four” with plenty ole talk and skylarking in between. But we, the millienials, would try to guilt one another into thinking that being comfortable with being an employee means you aren’t being innovative enough, and will never find true happiness. And we’ll try to do it with our new way of showing the world that we are profound and philosophical: social media. We impress others with statuses like “Good things come to those who wait, but only what’s left by those who hustle”, and by touting #illsleepwhenimdead.

Well hear what, some of us want to sleep. Now! Some of us just don’t want to be bothered with the responsibility of being a ‘bawse’, or care to pour the contents of our fledgling savings account into inventing the next big thing. It doesn’t mean we are any less ambitious or aspirational. For some of us, the extent of our entrepreneurial endeavours is bringing back a suitcase of outlet clothes from the States, jacking up the price some, and selling to family and friends. And that’s okay!

You Can Do It
Paradoxical after all I’ve just said, right? What can I say…the reality check goes both ways. The ole people say what is for you is for you. If you have the heart of an entrepreneur, if you’re a creative genius whose talent makes you a virtual cash cow, then honour that. Be it renting out a cute two-by-four and doing nails, or building the successor to Instagram.

If is one thing I admire about this generation, it’s that we don’t know the meaning of the word impossible. We revel in naysayers telling us our dreams are too grandiose and that we hanging we hat where we hand cya reach. The next time they dare tell you that you can’t make that startup a reality, feel free to offer them a quote from the enigmatic millenial, Trinidad James, CEO of Gold Gang Records: “Don’t believe me just watch.”


Image credit: http://hustlinallday187.tumblr.com/ask

Tamika Gibson

Transitioning between law school graduate and criminal defense attorney, Tamika Gibson is striving to, as Oprah put it, live from the heart. A graduate of Howard University, and a budding writer, her most elusive goal is to make the New York Times Best-Seller list.

1 Comment

  1. Donny

    February 15, 2014 at 12:48 pm

    Only 1 comment?? Great article!

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