May
27

A Gen Yer’s Take on Entitlement

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Guest Post by Alex Shippee, 2010 Marist College graduate

As I prepared to graduate this spring, I heard my fair share about how my generation, Generation Y, has a dangerous sense of entitlement. This may be true for some, but I’ve known a lot of exceptions that make me question this wisdom.

When I left Marist College this past week I said ‘goodbye’ to a lot of remarkable friends. Some are attending graduate schools in Madrid or Florence, teaching English in China, or working for Top Five accounting firms. They have more creativity, enthusiasm, and dedication than I can imagine in any one place. So where does this notion of entitlement come from?

It comes from the rest of us. Those of us who can’t point to something we’ve done or a skill that we excel at to justify a high sense of self. Feeling entitled makes it difficult to build something we can feel legitimately proud of so we often simply procrastinate or slack off.

We not only think that we are innately qualified and prepared for whatever comes our way but, more than that, we are owed it. We deserve attendance at a great school, the best opportunities, and the job of our dreams because, quite simply, it’s our right for showing up and being ourselves.

This couldn’t be a more incorrect assumption.

In this weird state of traction, nobody would like to hire us, nor could we handle the position if we got it. But it’s not an indelible character trait that cannot be reversed. What we need is the challenge to our talent and to our drive to prove that we can apply ourselves and achieve something.

Finding professional employment is certainly a tough process but, ultimately, a necessary and rewarding one. Sending out resumes, researching employers, using social media like Twitter and LinkedIn, building relationships and networking, facing rejection and getting back up…that will help break any sense of entitlement we may have.

In the end, as long as employers remain discerning, this will produce applicants willing to work hard for a position they truly want. Employers, likewise, will see the benefit of hiring those that overcame difficult odds and bypassed their careless competitors.

And the harder we have to work to get something the more likely we’ll want to keep it. We’ll have built a foundation that will last. If some members of Generation Y still feel entitled then they won’t for much longer. The current job market is our proving ground to catch up to our already exceptional classmates.

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