Its not your right.

Few things are more amusing and persistent as the American insistence on non-existent rights. Unlike my friends across the water workers in America have precious few rights guaranteed by the state.

Good or bad is up to you, but the truth is we are easily confused about rights. And then someone like me has to explain reality.

For example, you do not have the right for a cigarette break, or a place to take that break. Or to use our computer network for your Amazon or other less benign pleasure. Or the right to decide you won’t do your work. Or don’t like your hours. Or, etc., etc., etc.

And no – precious few things at work are a violation of the Constitution (or the Bill of Rights) and it might really behoove you to go read these ground-breaking documents before you perversely twist them to protect your own sense of entitlement in the workplace as you argue about your rights.

Ah, entitlement, that salve that says I get what I want when I want it because, well, I just do.

No you don’t.

You are not entitled to a merit increase. That’s why we call it merit. You are not entitled to a promotion. You have the right to vie for same. You are not entitled to certain benefits, holidays or work hours. These vary by job, geography and the company itself.

It is not a “right” to get what you want. It is an option you’ll work for.

Few things make managers cringe as much as employees who confuse right with opportunity and entitlement with avenue.

A friend of mine used to say that none of us “had” jobs, we simply borrowed them for a while. And when the real holder of that job – the company who payrolled it – decided it would be better occupied by someone else, they would re-assign it. A crude metaphor? Perhaps. But true.

Sometimes I hear peers complain that [the] younger generation has an entitlement option, but the advantage of age is that I can recognize bullshit when I hear it and call it for what it is: bullshit. Plenty of people my age and even older (yes Virginia, there a few people older than me…) have the entitlement disease: it is age independent.

So how to prevent the onset of this unsightly blight in your own career?

Take my friend’s suggestion and think about your job as a rental: one day you will give it back. Now, maybe that day is around the corner, and maybe it’s years off, but thinking about the reality of just borrowing it for a while may stop you from becoming too full of yourself. You see, in the workforce it’s all about what have you done for me lately – or more aptly, what have you done for your employer.

No one is entitled to anything but a chance. You take that chance and you make everything you can of it, and then enjoy the rewards and results of same.

But don’t ever kid yourself: in commerce and labor you’re not entitled to anything but a chance. That’s your right.


2 thoughts on “Entitled

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