The Entitlement Generation

July 24, 2012

Warning- this may be a rant post.

There is a term that describes some of the people that I’m had the “pleasure” of coming in contact with recently; they are called the entitlement generation.

The definition of the entitlement generation is kids who’ve always been told they’re smart, and never pushed too hard. I see them everywhere.

I swear I don’t sit down and try and think of things to rant about, but I keep seeing so many different things that catch my eye and, at times, makes my blood boil.  Let’s start with the sense of entitlement that some people have these days. The beautiful and humbling part of being part of the PF world is that I am surrounded by amazing, smart, and educated individuals who are happy to share their lessons/learnings with everyone else. Just as I write here in an attempt to leave a diary so do a lot of others. Sure, some of us try and live off our blogs, but for 99% of us, blogging is more of  a hobby than a side hustle. That alone makes sure that we have a standard to upload. Our generation (Gen Y) seems to live in a cloud. We’ve lost touch with reality.

I am a newbie blogger, or whatever the term for someone younger than a newbie. I understand that, like in real life, you have to put in the work, and gain experience before you make it big.  The issue that I present to you today is with people who;

    1. Assume that 3 months of work automatically makes you qualified for roles that are 4 levels above them.
    2. Don’t understand or pay attention to their skill level


Let’s start with the first issue.

These days I work as a consultant for a few different companies. It’s primarily project management with a bit of business development thrown in. The PM role is  me hiring for positions as the companies grow. I really enjoy that part. I get to meet new people and really learn what drives them. My MSc. is in Biology; a subject completely unrelated to the sector that I worked in for the last 10 years. It took a long time to figure out what my strengths were and a lot longer to hone those skills in a professional setting. I volunteered for a lot of projects that I had no business in, but slowly, and surely things started making sense. I sat on Boards, I fundraised for Organizations, I transferred and worked with HR to hire my own team etc. The way I saw things was that since my education doesn’t open the doors I want,  I make damn sure that my experience speaks volumes.

The point I am trying to make here that we all worked some pretty awful customer service jobs just to gain the experience that will allow us to walk into an interview with our head held high and feel confident.  What really grinds my gears is the assumption that a 6 month internship is the same as 3-5 experience. Trust me, its not. If the only role that you’ve ever had is entry level, please don’t waste my time. Refusing to apply for a entry level role because you* think you have experience is a slap in the face of everyone who busted their butts to get there.

There are great examples even in the PF community. Carrie is a great example of where hard works gets you.


The second issue has to do more with ethics than anything else.

I have worked with, and heard of freelancers who, for whatever reason, take on roles that they have no way of being able to handle. Doing a skill-set audit is extremely important, and a tool in your arsenal that you should always be on top of. For example, when a company hires me to be the subject matter expert, I need/want to make sure that I fully qualified to jump in and help with the project. Thinking that I can hack it not only makes me look bad, but it also wastes the companies time and money.

I’ve come across far too many people who BS their way to having an unsuspecting client hire, and then get stuck because they don’t know how to do the work that the clients needs. Having been in school for a really long time, I know a lot of students who admit that they want to succeed with the minimal amount of effort possible. They have expectations of earning 55K salaries when they graduated, even tho they lack work experience. This, ladies and gentlemen, is the entitlement generation. I was a part of it until reality kicked in and I noticed that no one was going to hand a huge pay-check without me proving myself.

This is where desperation kicks in. Especially when people want to have “side gigs“.  I know that are times where you need that project, and money is tight, and you have to do what you have to do. The most helpful thing to do in situations like that is to have a “tribe” or a network that you can rely on. For example,if you know that you can’t design a logo, but you take a project that includes that task, find a designer that you can work with on a contingent basis. Ask for a discount in exchange for bring them more work in the future.

The most important thing that I want to stress here is that this is people’s hard earned money that you’re asking for. Would you pay someone like yourself? Would you like it if your parents dealt with someone like you? That is my ethics standard. Having worked one too many “hackjob” providers, I can assure that nothing kills your credibility faster.




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  • Lance @ Money Life and More July 24, 2012 at 10:58 am

    Entitlement can be a problem with people around my age. I don’t fall into this category but I can see how people can blame the people who raised them. Where do you think they learned these traits from… just saying.

    That said it does get annoying. I don’t think college grads should be given middle level management jobs but they should be considered for entry level positions. I can see their irritation when they’re applying for entry level jobs with a bunch of people laid off with a ton of experience applying for the same jobs yet the college grad never gets called back. It is hard times out there and it can be frustrating.

    • Marissa July 24, 2012 at 6:15 pm

      I completely understand their frustration. I’ve been there myself.

  • Jason July 24, 2012 at 12:23 pm

    It is quite crazy how entitled the younger generation is. There isn’t anybody to blame other than us and their parents though. They’ve been given everything in life and they’ve been made to believe that they can have whatever they want (as very few parents actually tell their children “NO” on a consistent basis).

    I do think there are some great kids out there, but as a whole, the future of America has never looked more dim.

    • Financial Samurai July 24, 2012 at 3:45 pm

      Don’t be so pessimistic Jason! With all the great innovations online and stuff, now has never been a BETTER time to be alive!

      Just 15-20 years ago, few could imagine retiring early and typing words on a computer and earning some income. Now it’s ubiquitous!

    • Marissa July 24, 2012 at 6:14 pm

      Heres to hoping that some of us grow up and make some cool stuff happen 😉

  • Lauren @ L Bee and the Money Tree July 24, 2012 at 1:20 pm

    As part of the generation you are talking about I can understand where you are coming from, but I think by and large most members of my generation are misunderstood. We grew up in the economic boom time with the largely held myth that things would be the same for us as they were for our parents. Then with this recession the carpet has been pulled out from under us-the largest number of unemployed are seniors and recent graduates. I can’t even GET an entry level job in my city and I am overqualified.

    I can understand your frustration, but I think most of my generation just needs to be educated. I really enjoyed your post 🙂

    • Marissa July 24, 2012 at 6:13 pm

      I’m sorry for the lack of work. I think that is whats driving the push for entrepreneurship or making your job.

      Thank you for stopping by!

  • Kurt @ Money Counselor July 24, 2012 at 1:52 pm

    Of course they expect $55k salaries on day 1 in the “real world.” How else does one pay for necessities like granite countertops, $200/month iPhone bills, $300 weekly outings ‘clubbing’ with cool friends, the largest plasma TV, and a spanking new VW! 🙂

    • Marissa July 24, 2012 at 6:11 pm

      I would buy a BMW 😉

      • James Bowen April 18, 2013 at 8:02 pm

        On 55k? Hot damn…you must have no student loans!

  • Earth and Money July 24, 2012 at 1:54 pm

    I’ve seen this a lot as well. Unfortunately, the only way to break the entitlement is often to go through a period where you don’t get anything, and then realize that what you want is not going to fall in your lap. Then you can pick yourself up and starting working towards it. That realization can be hard for people to come by though.

    • Marissa July 24, 2012 at 6:10 pm

      The sad thing is that most people are starting to realize that.

  • Financial Samurai July 24, 2012 at 2:14 pm

    “Would you pay someone like yourself?” Great question, and my answer is HELL YEAH!

    I got up before 5:30am every morning for 13 years to read the world news, check the markets, get as much blogging stuff done before catching the bus at around 7:08am to get into work by 7:30am. Used to get into work by 5:30am, but that was when I first started.

    Even though there were regularly 12 hour work days, I didn’t care b/c there was so much to learn. I wanted to never have to worry about getting laid off before I was ready.

    Hard work is easy, because it requires NO SKILL. But, once it’s done, the results last for a very long time.

    I have a friend who hated his corporate job so he “quit” after 2 years to be a lifestyle blogger and teach people how to lead his great lifestyle. He won’t show his finances b/c he’s scared.

    I know another person who quit his start-up he cofounded because he had to work every weekday. He was miserable working so much. HUH? We work harder at startups!

    I’m not worried, because everybody is rational.


    • Marissa July 24, 2012 at 5:59 pm

      Thats the difference between you and some other people. Seeing how they lack the skills needed to complete a task, yet they accept the role and wait until the last min to tell the client that they are not able to do drives me insane.

      I completely understand where you’re coming from in terms of hard work. I, also, took a leap of faith and resign after 10 years with a company that I was no longer passionate about. The other side of the coin involves a lot of hard work, discipline, and a hustler mentality that I didn’t know about. The beautiful part about working with small companies, start-ups is seeing people with passion live and breathe what they do every day.

      My rant was more about the ethics of doing things.

  • Tammy July 24, 2012 at 4:16 pm

    I feel so “Get off my lawn!” when I say this, but I never assumed someone owed me a job. Like you, I worked my butt off at jobs and at times would take anything if my bills were coming do. I didn’t have the option of living with my parents, so I made it on my own. It’s amazing how we live up to the level of expectations we have for ourselves.

    • Marissa July 24, 2012 at 6:10 pm

      Ha! I know exactly what you mean! I tried to help my brother with his schooling options and got really frustrated at the expectations that he had.

  • Bridget July 24, 2012 at 5:03 pm

    I’m so frustrated with the under-25’s I’m doing my best not to be counted amongst the traditional millenials. I still apply for jobs I think are out of my league, because sometimes it works out (hey, that’s how I got my current position). I know where my skill set is lacking and now I’m trying to find volunteer opportunities to fill the gaps in my experience.

    • Marissa July 24, 2012 at 6:09 pm

      And that I appreciate. Knowing what you’re lacking and making an effort to fill that gap.

  • Dave Hilton July 24, 2012 at 1:43 pm

    Boomers were called selfish. Gen X’ers were called slackers. Millennials (Gen Y) are labeled entitled.

    I think there are a great number of people who do not fall into the generalizations of their generational group. People who make a difference, work hard and do good. There are amazing and below average members of all generations. Unfortunately, you seem to be interacting with too many of the not-so-impressive ones.

    I used to have a difficult time working with both Boomers and Gen Y. Now that I’ve studied and researched them, I help other people learn to manage generational issues and expectations.

    So, other than unrealistic salary requests and exaggeration of skills/abilities- what other habits of your fellow Millennials get under your skin as a hiring manager?

    • Marissa July 24, 2012 at 6:12 pm

      Thats about it. I’ve some extremely smart individuals who are very humble and know exactly what they want. Those are the ones I respect as they are willing to put the work in.

  • Robert @ The College Investor July 24, 2012 at 7:23 pm

    If you’re a freelancer, all you have it your reputation, so you better not be faking it. In my work, I deal with a ton of people who think they’re qualified or entitled to much more than they really deserve. As a manager, I make sure they know this in a polite/respectful way.

    • Marissa July 24, 2012 at 7:39 pm

      I wish I could highlight this comment.

  • SavvyFinancialLatina July 24, 2012 at 7:35 pm

    I don’t know whether to agree or disagree! :/ I am 22, so yes part of the Gen Y generation. I do think the whole bunch in general is a little entitled, but I also landed a great job with a great salary (above the average for a 22 year old with an education+one of a couple offers within the same range). Am I entitled? I don’t think I am…..I worked hard, studied, worked for a start-up for pennies, did internships for pennies, etc. Basically worked for free for years.
    I realize, however, I am very lucky. Yes, I did work hard, very hard. From grade school to grad school. I, also, aligned myself with great people.
    But I don’t think the Gen Y should be underestimated.
    I try to set myself apart.I am the youngest on the team, and young in my organization is considered 27. I have to work very hard to make people think I am 27 (work experience + personality), even though I am five years younger.
    What do you think is a starting salary for an entry level job for a recent college grad?

    • Marissa July 24, 2012 at 7:41 pm

      My concern was among the freelancers. I am glad to hear that your experience was different than most, BUT I have a feeling that it had more to do with your work ethic than having something being handed to you. Most aren’t able to put the work in.

  • Michelle July 24, 2012 at 10:01 pm

    I don’t think that applying for a job well above your skill set is necessarily evident of an entitlement complex. It could definitely be, but it could also be a sign of tenacity and hard work. “Hey, I know I haven’t been here that long, but I’m willing to work my tail off to prove to you that I’m worth my salt.” If a newbie, or someone who has never held a position above entry-level, wants to work hard and take on more and greater responsibilities, I don’t think that’s an intentional slap in the face to everyone who got there through taking the more traditional route. There are a lot of very famous, very rich people who ‘made it’ overnight. I get it–it’s annoying to someone who works hard and did everything the “right” way, to watch as a young, cocky whipper-snapper takes the corner office, or get the leading role, or nab the sweet promotion you’d been working toward. I know a girl like this actually! She’s made it pretty far in her short time on this planet, all with smoke and mirrors, luck, tenacity, and a HUGE FREAKING EGO. She’s done well for herself, though. I have to give her that; she’s an amazing businesswoman…that doesn’t actually do any work. Instead of being annoyed by how little work she’s actually put in to get to where she is, I try to learn from her….and ignore her a lot. 🙂

  • eemusings July 24, 2012 at 11:39 pm

    Excellent post. I have no desire to freelance fulltime, and definitely a part of that comes down to lack of confidence that i have enough skill and experience and that I’d get in over my head.

    One thing that bugs me is people my age in their first job who cry ‘I went to university for this?! A trained monkey could do this!’

    I often get told by colleagues that I have a great attitude and work ethic and that I’m not ‘Gen Y’ at all. Really, I don’t think I’m all that special – I just believe in doing good work and doing what it takes.

    I’ll admit to often feeling underpaid when I read other PF blogs. Then I have to remind myself that I can’t really expect to make much if I stay in this field, and also remind myself that a high-powered, stressful job is not what I want.

  • Jacob @ iheartbudgets July 25, 2012 at 8:45 pm

    I have the opposite issue, where I am thrust into positions I am not necessarily qualified for. But that doesn’t motivate me to slack off, but to LEARN, LEARN, LEARN! I don’t get not wanting to learn and improve. Life is so boring when you just hit cruise control. I am part of the Y-Generation (26), but I don’t have the entitlement mentality (I hope!). It can definitely be frustrating, and cause the “how did they get THAT job” mentality, but I try to ignore it and blaze my own path.

  • Mo' Money Mo' Houses July 26, 2012 at 6:31 am

    I’ve heard a lot about Gen Y (my generation) being an entitled generation but for the most part everyone I know my age working isn’t entitled but worked hard every step of the way. But I guess that could just be the people I surround myself with. I’ve always been a hard worker and so have all my friends. Maybe it’s also that it’s so incredibly hard to find a job in Vancouver that no one can afford to be entitled when they are desperate for a job after graduation.

  • femmefrugality July 26, 2012 at 4:43 pm

    I agree that entitlement can be a problem, but so can judgement. I landed a job when I was fairly young. But I was qualified. I was really good at my job. But the people around me knew how old I was. They thought I couldn’t possibly have enough training to be doing what I was doing. It caused problems. So at my next assignment I never disclosed my age even when directly asked. No problems. And my work was recognized without qualifiers.

    In general, though, I think you’re right. People our age want to get by with the least amount of work as possible. And they ruin the reputation of those who have worked their butts off while they’re young.

  • Andy Hough July 26, 2012 at 7:28 pm

    “I see no hope for the future of our people if they are dependent on
    frivolous youth of today, for certainly all youth are reckless beyond
    words… When I was young, we were taught to be discreet and
    respectful of elders, but the present youth are exceedingly wise
    [disrespectful] and impatient of restraint” (Hesiod, 8th century BC).

    I’m sure this generation will be ok eventually.

  • Janine July 26, 2012 at 11:57 pm

    This truly is a frustrating thing. I decided to lengthen my degree by about a semester so that I could get 8-months or relevant work experience. This means when I graduate I will still be hired on at the exact same position I left at and it is absolutely entry level. A few people I know think that because they have done an 8-month work term they are considered more senior when in fact they have no more experience than the graduate that starts 5 months after.

    It’s important to stay humble because a lot of higher-ups don’t like it when people are cocky. I’ve actually seen some individuals tell managers they are wrong or go behind managements back to do something they think is right because they think they know more than Management.

    I’m 21 but I try really hard to stay humble and un-entitled.

  • Cat Alford @ July 28, 2012 at 4:23 am

    This was such an interesting post that I saw linked to on another blog, and I’m glad I came to check it out. I am 25 years old, and I’m constantly surrounded by people my age who believe they deserve so many things without doing a lick of work for it. They give our generation a bad name. They make us appear lazy. And, worse, they make people not want to hire us. I believe that if you’re going to do something, you need to do your absolute best at it whether you are writing an article or cutting the grass. Why half ass it? Often, it takes just a bit more effort for a much greater reward. I’m not sure where this lesson or this sense of entitlement came in or how to prevent it. However, it’s important to be aware of it, since I definitely don’t want to fall into that trap. It seems like an easy thing to do.

    I’m looking forward to reading more of what you write. This was a really great post.
    Budget Blonde

  • Harry @ PF Pro July 28, 2012 at 6:47 pm

    I like my job, I get paid a lot to do my job, and it comes easily to me. But at the same time, I never work more than 40 hours a week, ever. I even get paid for overtime haha but it’s just not worth it to me. I think working for a big company, I could put in 60 hours or 40 hours and I see similar results. Where as, with my blog, the more work I put in the more I get out of it. And I can directly see the results, I like that

  • louis September 11, 2012 at 4:23 am

    I call it the Obama Generation.

  • Vangile Makwakwa October 30, 2012 at 11:39 pm

    I have often been told that my generation is a generation that feel entitled to entitlement. Entitlement is just the symptom, we need to understand the underlying cause. We are a generation that has way too many student loans and we can expect higher standards of living and no income increase. I think the entitlement comes from the belief that better education leads to better opportunities. Of course that has not been the case with us. In fact better education has left us at a disadvatage – more debt. This leads to more questions like what am I doing all this for? It’s the belief that getting educated and doing the right thing will lead to better education that leads to an attitude of entitlement. That being said I think we shouldn’t be scared to take low paying jobs or even embark on the entrepreneurial journey to bail ourselves out of student loan debts.

    • Anders McNabb November 6, 2012 at 9:40 am

      The Entitlement Generation was caused by the media in general in a effort to generate even more money for themselves. I feel “Cash Cow Generation” would be more appropriate.
      No one feels the need to strive for anything anymore…why should you?
      Want to be rich? You can win the Lottery and become a Millionaire, You can get on X-Factor and become famous, don’t like the phone you got new 6 months ago? Don’t worry you can trade it in for a brand new one. Can’t afford that new car? Don’t worry take out a loan!
      We each and every one of has to go through life with these corpulent ticks sucking the money out of us.
      No wonder we’re disillusioned.
      As a resident of the UK I can say that one of the major contributors is the corruption and incompetence evident in the people that lead us. Who wants to work to support a Government that believes it’s born to lead you yet is incapable of doing so effectively?
      When I was growing up we wanted to be something interesting or useful: “Scientists, Engineers…” now all the kids want to be are Footballers and Singers.
      We let TV and the greed of companies define and encourage our wants and desires because we were so tired from working every hour to support our growing debts that we let TV bring our children up.

  • Martin LeFever May 2, 2013 at 12:35 am

    You seem to have covered all the pertinent points here, but your many spelling and grammar errors seriously detract from your credibility. In fact, the sloppiness of this blog post suggests you still have Generation Y/Entitlement Generation traits remaining in your character, as a good proofing of this post would have cost you no more than perhaps 10 minutes. Personally, I’ve had to deal with enough Gen Y members to know how miserable most of them are just under their careful facades. Further, I believe we will see mass suicides and many more unacceptable behaviors and ‘acting out’ eventually among this group, since most of them will never learn to correct these many bad behaviors, never learn to accept guidance or criticism, and straighten up and ‘fly right’. Last, I must confess how I and so many others have come to truly despise this group. Lots of luck to all of them, because they will need tons of it!

  • ell June 16, 2013 at 1:46 pm

    There are two sides to this “entitlement” coin. The first side is that there are certainly people in my generation who were always told they were special and good at everything, and expect to be treated that way forever. But the second side is that there are companies that plainly take advantage of young people who are desperate to get work, build experience and develop work skills. They pay very little (often nothing, in the case of “unpaid internships”) and ask for inappropriately high-level work in response. They outsource important tasks to the cheap labor, and then say the young people are acting “entitled” when they want to be compensated according to their responsibilities, after having proven that they can handle the work. This is unfair.