I recall when I was laid off from my job, there was an air of bitterness. Human beings typically don’t like when their livelihood is being messed with.
When I was brought into a room with my boss and the HR lady – I said something to him that even surprised me:
“Thank you for giving me this opportunity to work here. I needed this job badly as I just came out of my startup and blew all my money. So I really appreciate you taking a chance with me and for all I learned while I was here.”
I ended up giving my (former) boss a hug as I walked out of the room.
The Problem with Entitlement
A LOT of young professionals have an unhealthy sense of entitlement. They think that their employer owes them something BIG for their presence. Yet this sort of entitlement is exactly what pushes your boss away.
When your boss, your co-worker, or anyone else feels that you have a superiority complex, they DON’T want to help you. You can count on that.
I’ve met countless people who were VERY smart – but that smartness repelled others (and me) miles away.
Working in a company requires you to work as a TEAM. You need to create a “WE” environment, not a “ME” environment.
So why do some many young professionals have this attitude?
Part of it is attitude, and part of it is culture. Youth culture understands that corporations are factories – and they have been coddled from a young age to think they deserve the best.
The History of “Intellectual” – Young Professional – Labor
There’s great book by Seth Godin called Linchpin. In it, Godin talks about how prior to factory life – people used to work as business owners.
The farmer sold his goods and bought from the cobbler. The blacksmith charged for doing his work. The milkman milked the cow and sold the milk. You get the idea.
But with the industrialization age, factories came in. Ford came up with the idea of “separation of parts”.
No longer did one person had to create, sell, market, and manage a business (no matter how small). They just had to focus on ONE part of the entire process.
So people quit their businesses and went to factories. Factories provided benefits, consistent paycheck, and stable work.
So what? Well, this was the end of the freedom-loving entrepreneur. In exchange for the TOUGH job of running a business – a person would get the safety and security of working in factory.
Nowadays, professionals don’t really work in factories – they work in corporations. These are the modern day factories. “Intellectual” labor is what runs corporations.
Why Young Professionals think Working for Someone is like Modern-Day Slavery
Due to the “industrial tradeoff” – young professionals often think that an employer is TAKING something from them.
Not only that, college tends to be this fairy-tale land for many students where they have a blast.
To make matters worse, they are told by their parents at a young age that they deserve to be #1 and that they can get anything they want (which isn’t bad advice, but cultivates an unhealthy sense of entitlement).
From college to joining a corporation – life is different. Each company has its different culture. To someone who is a young professional, the corporation can appear to be like a very “old school” factory.
“I am way better than this,” the arrogant young professional thinks.
Fitting Back In
Some of you may be wondering how I am presuming to know so much. Well, I speak from experience. I WAS that cocky young professional kid. haha However, I had to make a major attitude adjustment to fit back in and become a team player.
While the “industrial tradeoff” happened, parents do coddle their kids, and colleges really are fairytale magic land where anything can happen — arrogant young professional can be rehabilitated.
Here are 4 tips to help young professionals can develop a better relationship to corporation, their boss, and working life:
Tip 1. Own YOUR choice to be working at a corporation.
Having your own business is tough. A job is much easier. We all make the choice to sacrifice our time and energy into a job. Once we’re there, BE HAPPY. You have made a choice. Don’t act like anyone forced you to be there.
Tip 2. Develop Compassion.
Working in a corporation requires you to work as team. Understanding what OTHERS are going through, requires you to go beyond yourself. If you think your ideas are so special – that’s not how leaders think. Leaders bring out the best in others – not just in themselves.
Develop compassion – feel what others are feeling and cultivate understanding at work.
Tip 3. Help others selflessly.
Some corporate cultures are cuttthroat some are not. Either way, how are you going to play the game? Are you going to make yourself #1? Leaders don’t do that either. Leaders help others. Don’t be someone who is conditional at work – I’ll scratch your back if you scratch mine. Habits like that seep into your personal life and cause more harm than good.
Tip 4. Don’t seek to just get value — GIVE value instead.
Don’t go to your boss expecting he’s going to GIVE you everything. Be a value giver- not a taker. Expecting others to treat you a certain way – is the wrong focus. Focus on how to make others lives better. How they want to live is up to them. But leaders seek to give value rather than expect or take value.
What do you think of the above advice? Do you think I was too harsh on young professionals? Do you believe that entitlement is rampant these days? I want to hear from YOU.
Share your thoughts and ideas below in the comment section below. Til next time…