Millennials: they’re not “entitled.”

That’s the word I see everywhere. Millennials are “entitled.” That’s a complete misnomer. We have to admit today that our own irritation and jealousy got us to call them “entitled,” but that’s not really true. We have to own up, or there will be no improvement.

“Entitled” definitely has the sound of it being by choice. A choice where the accountability of that attitude lies with the person who’s feeling entitled. At least that’s how it feels in today’s vernacular when combined with the verb “feel.”

Let me demonstrate this difference. You’re at the airport, waiting for your luggage to come out of the chute. Someone says “You feel entitled to your luggage, don’t you?”
You’d be so dumbfounded. “Well, it’s mine, isn’t it? I don’t feel ‘entitled’ to my own luggage. It’s just… mine.” That’s the difference here. We think they feel entitled. They don’t. They don’t even know that the luggage coming out of the chute constitutes a sense of entitlement. They certainly don’t “feel” entitled. They were just sitting at the chute their entire lives, and everything, even a university diploma, came flying down at them.

Now, don’t worry, parents. We aren’t going to do any blame assigning.

My point is that, due to various social situations, the Millennials grew up without the important stimuli in self-concept formation that the previous generations took for granted. Like delayed gratification, hard work, defining their own happiness, living within the means, and even the concept of “the means.” Humans are animals without proper socialization and learning, and those qualities I listed above are definitely human qualities that need to be taught and learned.

The answer? They need to learn them.

What this means is that the adults around them and their bosses have to be kind to them, not angry at them, for not knowing the basics of the society. Like “if you don’t make the deadline, we won’t accept your application at all,” “if you spill something, no one else will clean it even if it’s moldy 20 days later,” and “you don’t get paid for the hours you don’t work.”

Their age 25 may know as much about working in the society as your age 10. But that’s not their making. Being angry at them doesn’t bring in another candidate with a completely different attitude.

Yes, it’s unfair to you and your generation. You were provided with age-appropriate stimuli and had proper life-stage life-space development at each phase. They didn’t receive it because you didn’t give it to them… wait… maybe we, baby boomers and Gen X, do live in the world of our own making. Maybe we do owe it to them to help fix it.

 

 

 

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