The Thing About Entitlement.
As Gladwell proudly states in “Outlier,” people who succeed in life understand the importance of entitlement – that one is given certain rights that one can wield by virtue of existence. Entitlement reinforces confidence and celebrates that “go to” attitude our society so eagerly applauds. It is, however, more than simply ‘asking’ for something, it is ‘expecting.’ And it is here that the central problem of this terrific quality is found – expectation.
While I do believe having a sense of entitlement is essential, I think, as with most things in life, there should be a cap on the amount of emotional entitlement we hold to ourselves. Think for a moment. You’re 26, you just went through a 4 year education at some fancy top tiered college, you finished your master’s degree and you were a straight A student. You walk through those familiar gates and out into the world and you think, “ah, my degree should get me a job, no sweat!” And then BANG you get shut down. hard. Why? because you feel entitled to a job – and not just any job, a good job – one that should match your expensive college degree.
So what exactly is the problem here? The problem is that we are NOT, under any circumstances, entitled to anything in life – especially, a job. I feel that this is the problem (or, one of the many problems) with our generation today. Of course, to disclaim, I too often walk through life thinking I am entitled to certain privileges – like being good at math, for example (because I’m Asian…). Or even something smaller, like entitled for good service when I go to a restaurant – why not, right? I am paying for the meal.
But the truth is, I’m not entitled to either of those things. We’re not entitled to anything. Other people have no obligations to us, we don’t own them – and even if we did, I don’t think we’re entitled to their service/offers…they’d probably assassinate us in today’s world – and they don’t owe us anything.
I feel the idea that a certain degree should equal a certain job or salary or respect or benefits… (the list goes on) is ridiculous. Let’s face it, if you want your degree to be super appreciated and honored… stay in academia. In the real world, as I see it, when you go to a job interview or when you start an internship, whatever company that hires you knows nothing about you apart from your good-looking face (always a bonus!) some exaggerated self-reported accounts of your achievements/experiences in black n’ white and some references. The fact of the matter is, aside from those surface evidences, the executives at these companies do not know how you would work in their workforce, your attitude in their office, your reactions under pressure in their work environment… and so forth. I think you get the message, they don’t know you on a practical level. On their level of practicality.
And yet people who walk out of college expect to get respect and whatnot because of their shiny degree. Isn’t it funny? It’s funnier still, when we expect, and oftentimes, demand of these entitlements. Sure, you could argue that those fortunate enough to inherit a family company were ‘entitled’ to their position – but remember this, even for them, in the long-run, they still need to prove their worth – to their employees, and especially, those employees who were already in the office long before the successor took the throne.
While graduating college is still a while away for me, I am trying to push myself away from the idea of entitling things. In fact, I’d like to think that when or if I get a job after I graduate, it would be an opportunity for gratitude – a chance to thank those who’ve helped me get that job – and of course, since we all know that the goal is just the end point of a very long road; those who walked that road with me.