For years, adults have called our generation, among other RUDE things, entitled. Entitled became the hot button issue when it came to discussing this generation (do we have a name? is it Generation Me? that's aptly done) and opinion touted psychological and sociological research that proved we were selfish, lazy, puffed up by our parents convincing us (and themselves) that we were all gifted and special and smart, puffed up by our teachers telling us that if we just wanted something enough, the world would eventually give it to us. And, in trying to find our way in the world, we vehemently tried to dispel the notion that we were selfish, lazy and entitled to the world on a string. What was the harm in having faith in ourselves? What was the harm in knowing that we were special and full of ideas?
Yet, when the economy came crashing down around us, and we graduated from our various colleges and universities, we still believed we deserved the best. Yep, that's right. The attitude of an entire new workforce is this: "I totally, like, deserve this job, because, like, my parents paid TONS of money for me to go to a really fancy school, and I dress really nice. And my teachers told me I was smart. And I'M NOT A SECRETARY, I'M NOT A SECRETARY, I STUDIED ECONOMICS!!! EFF YOU, MAKE YOUR OWN PHONECALLS, BOSSMAN/BOSSLADY. PAY ME 75K TO START, NOW!"
Do you understand now, why all adults speak so lowly of our entitlement? Everyone thinks they deserve the job, but the reality is, everyone who is employed is very lucky to have a job. I feel lucky every day. Is my job exciting? No. Is my job stimulating? No. Is it the job I want? No. But I am employed, and I intend to stay that way, and do my best. Do I deserve more? Not right now. I make mistakes. I won't pretend I don't. They're small mistakes that seem to not matter, but they do. Very, very much. And when you make little mistakes, it just further proves to everyone how incompetent you really are. A few papers that needed to be signed were accidently left on your desk for nearly a week amid other various papers? Disorganized. That email you sent that said Tuesday, January 18, 2010 instead of Tuesday, January 18, 2011? Doesn't pay close enough attention. One of the presentations was mistakenly left off the Board Meeting computer? Doesn't care about boss's reputation. Back-up files were scanned crooked the first week of your new job, before you really got the hang of the scanner? Incompetent, no regard for the importance of these backup files.
Mistakes which prompt your boss to think, what are you, stupid?
I don't know about anyone else, but my first professional job has been the most humbling experience of my life. I've learned that I'm really not the victim of adult criticism, but just the stupid (albeit lucky) kid they've decided to hire and train. Every time I make a dumb mistake, it negates nearly everything I've done right--but it makes me want to work harder. I've realized that my education and what I studied and my passions and dreams have next to nothing to do with anything that goes on in a corporate office. Having a diploma only means that you did enough school work to graduate. It doesn't guarantee that you'll understand how to work in an office, and it doesn't mean you don't have to be trained.
Rules of thumb for everyone: Don't make your boss look bad. Take on as much as you can. There will be days when you feel useful, and other days when you'll feel worthless. You, mister entitled, better get over yourself. There's always going to be learning to do. But you already knew this, didnt you? That's right. I forgot. You do deserve a better job.