The Pryor Times

Opinion

August 24, 2013

The entitlement generation

There's a lot of talk about being a 20-something today.

A lot of it is motivational; this is the best time of your life, do something great, be an inspiration! And a lot of it is sympathetic: this is the decade of the quarter-life crisis, never before in history has so much been expected of a generation.

In the midst of all the talking I've noticed something mystifying — not much is getting done.

This age group, the 20-somethings, think a whole lot of themselves. True, I belong to this “gimme generation” but I don't subscribe to their popular way of thinking.

They think the world should stand up and applaud their every move. We're the kids that all got participation trophies no matter what place we finished. They believe recognition is owed them for simply performing their day to day responsibilities.

Growing up, I did not receive an allowance. See, I was raised primarily by my grandparents who did not subscribe to the child-rearing concept of rewarding a child for something they should be doing in the first place.

I understood there were chores that were my responsibility and it never occurred to me to ask for money for doing them. Sure, I could look back on it and feel as if I had been slighted somehow, or I could imagine the variety of lectures that could have been generated from the topic.

More than that, my generation feels they should be rewarded for doing nothing. They start new jobs thinking they are due a promotion, entry level is far beneath them and bosses simply don't understand their value.

These “adults” have been out of college approximately five minutes and have no life experience to speak of, but are quite certain they are an asset to any company.

Somehow, 20-somethings have missed the memo that they have to earn their place in the world and work their way to the top.

The way they see it, why go above and beyond to set yourself apart when everyone receives the same trophy in the end whether they were first or last place?

I know there are people who disagree with me on this, mostly people my age or younger. Sure, reminding your child that they are wonderfully gifted, extrordinary beings capable of anything in the world is warm and fuzzy. But if you keep telling your child they can be a ballerina even if they never take a ballet class, then it may never occur to them they might be cut out to be a doctor.

Somehow encouraging a child's every whim has become crucial to avoid damaging their self-esteem.

Anyone who knows me will tell you my self-esteem is just fine and no one ever told me I could grow up and be a pretty pretty princess. Not once.

My grandparents raised me to be polite and taught me the value of being able to hold a conversation. They said it's as important to be interesting as it is to be attentive.

If I ever hear the word networking again I might scream. Lets call it what it is, normal human interaction. Stop making profiles on social media sites that are supposed to network for you and set you apart in the workforce, and go talk to people. Introduce yourself, shake hands, find out who they are and what their story is. It's that simple.

I am of the opinion that a sense of entitlement doesn't get anyone very far. I am entitled to basic human rights, that's about it. I am not entitled to respect or praise or recognition no matter how much I want it or how wonderfully unique I am.

So, fellow 20-somethings, consider replacing “entitlement” with “drive.”

Find what you are passionate about and do everything you can to get there. Learn everything you can, appreciate your resources and get your foot in the door. Once you're in, work like hell to make a place for yourself, work night and day to prove you deserve to stay.

Then and only then can you truly do something remarkable.

Yea, it sounds hard but the thing is, it's your  dream so why would anyone do the work for you?

Go do something remarkable and start by inspiring yourself.

 

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