Entitlement, whether by a dog, a grandchild, or an employee, all depends on where you stand. Entitlement seems to get a bad wrap from most, but most people feel it at some level. From a political perspective there may be those libertarian and conservative values that stand against public entitlements, but still feel entitled to their freedoms and family values.
Leona’s grandchildren felt entitled to their share of the family riches, but must have done something to piss grandma off. Her dog may be living in the lap of luxury, but there are those who would believe that those in more need would be entitled to this money.
I’ve been considering entitlement as I begin the process of writing my will for the first time. Despite not having enough to fight over (but what is enough to fight over?) heading off to a place like Afghanistan warrants thinking about such issues. Whether or not anyone else feels entitled the what I do have has not been the question, but rather what I feel others are entitled to. Certainly the supportive and loving relationship that I have with James warrants most of what I have, as we’ve worked together in getting where we are today. In the event of the worst happening, James would certainly have enough to live off and finish his PhD with no problems on my life insurance (covered by work) alone. At the same time, I have also begun to consider what I might want to leave to other family members. My folks certainly aren’t set up with when it comes to retirement and I can’t imagine leaving my twin sis with nothing. Thus, this brings the question of who would be most entitled to what I have. Obviously in the long run I’d prefer that James & leave what we have to our children, but that isn’t the case today.
I’m also dealing with entitlement at the office. Working with overseas staff I’m continually faced with the challenges of what staff feel they are entitled to. Often overseas practices are much more friendly to the employee, excluding those cases of poor labor practices, and thus great sums of severance are more and more customary, if not required. Those working in international development know that the donor has money and most often what to milk the system to the last drop. My job is handle this fairly and legally to ensure that all is handled in the most equitable manner. Not always as easy as it sounds.
In a recent study I worked on it also seems that the boomer generation also feels that young people today have a greater sense of entitlement in the work place. Certainly salaries are not what they once were, but taking the rungs of the ladder two by two is preferred to the process of paying your dues.
My challenge to our readers is two fold:
1) If you feel that you are against entitlements, consider where in your life you might feel a sense of entitlement. Most people would be hard pressed not to find some area in life. Americans in general have a high sense of entitlement but my travels abroad certainly haven’t demonstrated a lack of this feeling elsewhere.
2) In those areas that you do feel a sense of entitlement, why is that? Why do you think you are owed more at the work place, from mom and dad, or Uncle Sam?
I’d be interested to hear what others come up with.