The Wrong ‘Feeling of Entitlement’

Arjun R Pillai
Dec 18, 2016 · 4 min read
courtesy: pearlsofprofundity

People say that ‘millennials have the sense of entitlement’. I don’t know whether that is true or not. But over time, I have seen people who have the feeling of entitlement. Sometimes, it is just for a brief period of time until they are told, in some cases, they are just so.

Entitlement by definition means — ‘the belief that one is inherently deserving of privileges or special treatment’

One of the most common ones I could think of is during recruiting people. I hear this familiar dialogue ‘I’m getting/being offered X Lakhs INR from Y’. I think to myself — ‘Well, someone is willing to give you just doesn’t make you deserving or entitled to that’. In some cases, I have told this openly too. It is fine to tell a competing offer, that is part of any negotiation (which I appreciate). But please don’t tell like you DESERVE that much, because somebody is ready to pay.

I have felt that the surroundings and community create this entitlement. For eg; the flurry of investments that flowed into the Indian startup community is the reason for the above familiar conversation. Some company X would have raised piles of money. They want to hire to show growth and are offered 20 Lakhs INR for a 1 year experienced person which slowly starts getting into him as his entitlement. (Fortunately, that funding has stopped almost completely and the correction is brutal).

The second reason for entitlement, I feel, is the short term successes or ‘feeling of successes’ that people get. In the Facebook/Twitter/Instagram/Snapchat world, it is rather simple to get to the quick euphoria with not that spectacular achievement. For eg; getting a 15 seconds of fame through a media might feel like a huge success with everybody around you congratulating you (especially in a community like India). This is a good example of ‘feeling of success’, not even a simple success. This drives up the sense of achievement, self esteem (both are good) and then it crosses over to the negative as arrogance and entitlement.

As yet another result of ‘entitlement’, people forget their past. It is obvious, right? ‘I <totally, fully, entirely> deserve what I’m getting. I’m a self made man/woman’. Slowly or suddenly, people stop mattering or new people start mattering a lot more than the old ‘small’ guys.

I had an instance when someone asked me years back— ‘After climbing the stairs, would anyone look back to see whether there is dust on the stairs?’

To me, whatever has happened in my life is a big jackpot. I didn’t expect half of what I got. I don’t even believe that I deserve half (or more) of what I got. It was just because of a lot of people who helped me. After my startup acquisition, I have written about it here (Stay Humble, Stay Focused).

For those who are reading this —

There was a stranger in 2009 who opened his closed office at 9.45pm , got my resume printed for me and gave me a lift back while I was attending Wipro interview. He told me with a smile ‘go and get the job’ and I did get that job. (2009 recession — 32 people got selected from some 5000 people). I would never have got the job if it weren’t for that one person and I don’t even know who that person is.

I don’t think anybody can be self made. There always will be a bunch of people maybe starting from parents, relatives, friends, colleagues, teams and even strangers who have helped you on your way. There were strokes of luck along the way where you got more than what you deserved. Re-calibrate yourself.

Don’t feel arrogant, don’t feel entitled. Acknowledge your past, embrace the future with openness and love.

Edit: I saw this video now where Simon Sinek talks about Entitlement. Pls do watch.

Arjun was the founder and CEO of Profoundis which recently got acquired by FullContact and he joined FullContact as the Head of Data Strategy. If you have countless contacts over multiple devices+accounts, try FullContact for Free.

Arjun R Pillai

Written by

Founder & CEO at (| fmr Head of Data Strategy@FullContact | fmr Founder/CEO at Profoundis (Sold to FullContact)