You Ain’t Hear? Gimme Got Shot: My Generation And Our Odd Sense Of Entitlement

December 6, 2012  |  

I remember when my younger brother woke up one morning feeling that because he had his driver’s license, he deserved a new car. He first went to my parents and petitioned for his own vehicle. Of course, they looked at him sideways and asked him such reasonable questions as, “Do you plan on getting a job to pay your car insurance?” or “Gas prices are rising. How do you intend to keep gas in the car?” and even, “Your grades aren’t showing that you deserve a car. How do you plan on proving that you are ready to take on this responsibility?”

I suppose my brother didn’t feel like he should have to prove to my parents that he was deserving of his own car. Not only was he convinced that he was deserving of a car but also entitled to one. His next target was our grandmother. After badgering her and going on and on about how much he wanted a car and felt he should have one, she caved and brought him a fairly new BMW.

What should be noted most about this story is not how absurd it was that my grandmother decided to buy my little brother a BMW, but the fact that he truly believed that he was entitled to this car. He was in no position to financially keep the car up, put gas in it or do damn near anything for it, yet he was convinced that because he had his driver’s license, someone was obligated to provide him with his own vehicle. While this story may be a bit on the extreme side, many young adults within this generation seem to share a similar false sense of entitlement when it comes to things in life that should be earned.

I recently had a conversation with one of my classmates who happens to be a seasoned media professional in his forties with many years of industry experience under his belt. In an effort to pick his brain and get an idea of what employers are looking for from new graduates such as myself, I asked him what stands out the most to him when interviewing potential employees. He shared that his biggest problem with recent graduates in the job market is that many of them give off the vibe that says they believe that their potential employer somehow owes them something. “They walk in feeling as if they’re entitled to the job their interviewing for as opposed to realizing that they are competing for it and trying make the best impression.” He also shared that many are not willing to work their way from the bottom up. They come in fresh out of college turning their noses up at the work being offered, expecting to fall into some grandiose position and do all of this glamorous and fun work in their industry when the truth of the matter is that it just doesn’t work that way.

I for one, found his statements difficult to believe considering the state that our economy is currently in and knowing as a recent graduate how challenging it is to find work in your field. However, before I could even argue with him about it, I thought of other young adults like my brother or former classmates who merely made appearances during the semester and barely turned in assigned work, but expected to receive grades worth bragging about once the semester was over. I even thought of former co-workers who happened to fall in my age group who didn’t even put forth an effort to carry their weight as regular employees but felt they should be promoted to supervising positions.

In an interview with the CBS Early Show, Jason Dorsey, author of Y-Size Your Business, shared that in his experience working with millennials and interviewing them, “they would rather be unemployed than to take a job they believe is beneath them.” He also shared that some Gen Y’ers are lazy, but that they also “have a different work preference.” For example, many won’t show up to work on time, but are “willing to stay late. They’re also sending e-mails at 2 am. They just work differently.”

He also urged young adults seeking to enter the work force to take the jobs that they can get because staying unemployed for years and years after college graduation will only make entering the workforce more difficult. “You’ve got to take the jobs you can get now and get the experience, build your network, do these things that give you more options rather than holding out,” says Dorsey.

Do you believe that Generation Y suffer from entitlement mentality or simply just have higher standards?

Check out Jason Dorsey’s discussion of Gen Y in the workplace in a video after the jump…

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