Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Do You Have An Entitlement Mentality? - You'd Be Surprised

Beware of the Entitlement Mentality - It Will Kill Your Progress

Editor's Comments: I can guarantee you that many people in the workforce (and those reading this post) would think that they would never have an "entitlement" mentality. That's for other kinds of workers - but not me! 

And yet, our guest blogger Janine Truitt eloquently reveals that the entitlement mentality can be acquired and reflected in very subtle ways and those subtleties can very much undermine career success. Her message, "Beware of the subtle encroachment of entitlement. "
Read on...

According to Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary entitlement is defined as “a belief that one is deserving of or entitled to certain privileges.” The definition of entitlement sounds haughty. It reeks of privilege and sentiments that one is owed something regardless of facts, common sense and anything else reasonable.

There are some employees who believe they are entitled to certain things. There’s nothing wrong with entitlement as it provides some context regarding what a person is worth and deserving of. However, there is a fine line between entitlement and obnoxious. 

As an employee, you have to be extremely careful not to rub management the wrong way if you want to get ahead.  For example, you may know that you are underpaid and overworked, but it may not be prudent for you to send weekly e-mails to the CEO bypassing your immediate supervisor to complain about this injustice.

In addition, you may think you are uniquely qualified for that new position that was posted in your department and so you apply accordingly. Don’t start writing and calling the recruiter’s boss before calling the recruiter for an explanation as to why you were disqualified. There may be a legitimate reason why the recruiter disqualified you or perhaps you left a lot to be desired in your application. Either way going above the recruiter’s head to complain makes you seem obnoxious or unlike someone that is “entitled” to courtesy.

Entitlement comes - is constructively built -  when you demonstrate diplomacy and all other things align like good performance, collegial respect, critical knowledge, skills and abilities etc. Diplomacy is the common denominator. 

People have an inclination to do what they can for you as an employee when you are diplomatic in your interactions... that is you aren’t trying to get them in trouble, fired, or you are not a consistent complainer. If you’re any of these things no one wants to deal with you and if they must they will do the bare minimum to help you. 

Don’t get me wrong, if you are being discriminated against or harassed- by all means blow that whistle until you’re blue in the face. However, outside of those specific instances you should weigh the risks and benefits before you step on the toes of people that can help you succeed.

Here are some pitfalls to avoid when trying to advance yourself in your company:

1)     “I have been here for twenty years- I should be considered for a promotion.” (entitlement statement)  “I have been here for twenty years and I am looking for the next step in my career- what can I improve to get to the next level?” (diplomatic statement)   

Just because you have been somewhere for a long time does not entitle you to a promotion. Have you furthered your education? Are you keeping abreast of new trends in your industry? Have you taken on projects or new roles to learn new skill sets? If the answer is no, you have a lot to improve upon before you can dream about that promotion.

2)     “I know Jane is making $75,000 per year and has a degree but I am making $60,000 and I trained her. I demand a raise or else!” (entitlement statement

While I will never understand why people discuss their salaries, we know it happens. If you feel you are underpaid, put together a summary of your contributions along with the going rates in your industry for your position and make a case for your increase based on your merits. Complaining and talking about someone else’s salary will not help you.

3)     “I keep applying to jobs and I know I am qualified, but I haven’t been called for an interview.  I’ll call and schedule an interview?” (entitlement statement) I hate to break it to you all, but this statement is not okay

Candidates do not schedule interviews they wait to be called for an interview based on the company’s interest in your application. This is not being proactive it is obnoxious and pushy.  Perhaps, you are applying for the wrong opportunities. Maybe there are people better qualified for the position. Either way, you don’t set interviews. It is not likely that the recruiter or hiring managers will have the warm and fuzzies for you when you do this.

Moral of the story: There is nothing wrong with advocating for yourself in an effort to push your career forward. However, you have to be careful about who you push and with what force. 

Generally, we HR kinds and management want to see our employees shine and succeed. Don’t give decision makers any reason to believe that you are a nuisance rather than an asset to the company. 

Exercise diplomacy in your interactions and always project a willingness to learn and improve. It is not just your credentials and experience that get you ahead but the entire mix-up of personality, social, knowledge, skills and abilities that will get you to the next level.

About our Guest Blogger: Janine N. Truitt
Janine N. Truitt is an HR Professional based in Long Island, NY. She holds a B.A. in Psychology from Hofstra University and five human resources certifications from Cornell University’s School of Industrial and Labor Relations. Her career in HR/Recruitment spans eight years in industries such as pharmaceuticals, scientific and healthcare. Her expertise is in Recruitment, HR Technology, Talent Management, Employee Relations, and HR Policy/Compliance. Over the course of her career she has hired, coached, and mentored hundreds of candidates. In 2011, she launched a blog called “The Aristocracy of HR”, an HR blog that was created to discuss Talent Management triumphs, blunders, and best practices. She is a regular contributor for ERE.net , an online go-to source for corporate recruiters. In 2012, she is due to launch, an HR consulting firm specializing in Talent Management and HR Technology consulting/advisory services. Follow her blog "The Aristocracy of HR" at http://hr.toolbox.com/blogs/aristocracy-hr/ . Connect with her on LinkedIn and Google+. Follow her tweets on Twitter @CzarinaofHR.  You can find other contributions by Janine on this site. To locate just use the search box.


  1. Great post! Diplomacy invites not only invites collaboration but also gets us both focused on a solution instead of demanding what's rightfully mine (or yours!)

  2. Alli, Thanks for reading and commenting. I am big on collaboration and teaming. There is no "I" in team.