Entitlement: What It Means For the Next Generation of Employees

When a person is entitled or behaves in an entitled manner, they believe that he/she deserves certain privileges or special treatment (often in an arrogant way). The term “Culture of Entitlement” suggests that a rising number of youths today have a highly unreasonable expectation about what they are entitled to and deserve in the workplace.

Entitlement is one of the biggest issues and challenges faced by employers and parents of youth that fall into the Generation Y age bracket: They can be unmotivated, unhelpful and self-absorbed. When it comes to work, entitled youth don’t think they should start on low/apprentice wages, they typically don’t want to work with fast food or other undesirable positions, and are often wanting more despite everything they are given.

Does this sound like anyone you know?

In the Employment First Aid (EFA) program, there is a distinct separation of two typical types of clients: Entitled Gen Y youth and extremely disadvantaged youth. The former generally do not know how to keep a job because up until now have had a relatively “easy” home life, education and childhood. After having everything given to them without having to work for it and receiving constant parental reassurance that they are “special” or “above the average”, they typically lack resilience and do not take well to criticism. This causes them to give up easily and outwardly blame other circumstances for their failures. Meanwhile, the disadvantaged youth tend to come from a child safety background, in and out of foster care, with little to no family support, and numerous mental health issues.

The wants and needs of these two types of youth are on two completely different wave lengths. While the disadvantaged youth are happy just to have bare necessities (food, a birth certificate and a roof over their heads), their entitled job competitors are rarely satisfied with the many things they already have. Most of the time, entitled youth have trouble differentiating “want” with “need”, alleging they “need” the latest technology or unnecessary item to feel fulfilled.

Entitled youth are becoming more and more common with our Gen Y youth due to changes in parenting over the years. As having two working parents in the household has increased, there has been a significant change in parenting direction and priorities. When both parents work, they tend to become very busy and “time-poor”, and are buying their child’s love instead of earning it (often out of guilt or to bypass real duties of parenting).

There are nine major areas that have changed in parenting priorities over the years thus leading to youth developing entitlement issues. As a result, this affects youth’s resilience and coping strategies, and can lead to multiple employment issues (falling in and out of employment, unrealistic expectations of pay, etc).

Parents of entitled youth tend to;

  • Reward bad behaviour
  • Empower a bad attitude in youth
  • Rescue their youth (don’t let them learn from their mistakes)
  • Confuse necessities with privileges
  • Don’t set or enforce boundaries
  • Don’t encourage positive change
  • Don’t offer new opportunities
  • Be inconsistent with punishments, attention, time and rewards
  • Have little to no consequences for actions (blame everyone else when something goes wrong)

These problems with entitled youth can make it difficult for them further down the line as entitlement is not accepted in the workforce. Entitled Gen Y youth often have not developed coping strategies and they expect to be rewarded for everything they do in their job.

EFA has implemented the Tuckman’s tool, a team development model that brings awareness of the stages in the workforce; forming, storming, norming, and performing. It is important for youth to be able to identify when a certain stage is happening in their workforce team and build certain strategies to cope with it. Not everything at work is going to be sunshine and rainbows, there are different stages with different situations and personality types.

The team at EFA have also helped youth with identifying the distinct difference in what is a “want” and what is a “need” in life. It brings the youth back down to earth and helps them see that you must work for what you have, it is not given to you. Entitlement in youth is going to be an ongoing battle in society and the workplace but with programs like EFA adding extra support, hopefully the entitled youth will learn to be grateful and that not everything comes easy.

0 replies

Leave a Reply

Want to join the discussion?
Feel free to contribute!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *