The Mid-Career GPS Podcast

179: Combating Workplace Entitlement: What You Need to Know

August 29, 2023 John Neral Season 3
The Mid-Career GPS Podcast
179: Combating Workplace Entitlement: What You Need to Know
Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

Click here to sign up for a free webinar on Thursday, September 7th at Noon Eastern called, "Three Strategic Steps to Land Your Dream Job Before the Year Ends."

Ever been on an Alaskan cruise? I have, and amidst the breathtaking glaciers and captivating wildlife, one thing stood out - entitlement. Do you know that narcissistic trait that makes people think the world owes them? We'll be taking a hard look at that, recognizing its presence in ourselves and others. My personal experience with an entitlement-induced situation on the cruise will leave you stunned!

But let's not stop there! Entitlement isn't just a vacation issue, it's an everyday struggle in our workplaces too. Ever felt you deserved more - a promotion, a salary hike, flexible work arrangements? We're confronting this entitlement mentality and how it shapes our professional lives. You'll learn about how company policies and procedures can influence employee entitlement and why an open talk with your supervisor may just be the solution for a better work-life balance. Trust me, this is a conversation you won't want to miss!

Support the show

Thank you for listening to The Mid-Career GPS Podcast.
Please leave a rating and review on Apple Podcasts here.

Visit to download your free "Mid-Career Job Seekers Checklist." Plus, check out other leadership and career resources at

Connect with John on LinkedIn here.
Follow John on Instagram & Threads @johnneralcoaching.
Subscribe to John's YouTube Channel here.

Speaker 1:

Hey friends, I'm doing a live webinar on Thursday, september 7th, at noon Eastern, called Three Strategic Steps to Lend your Dream Job Before the Year Ends. This is a free webinar for anyone looking to find a new job, whether inside your organization or in a new company. The three steps I'll share will help you have greater intention and clarity as you navigate this ever-changing job market. To position you more strategically, increase your visibility and leverage these three strategies I know work. You can visit johnnarrellcom forward slash webinar. You can check my LinkedIn or check the show notes to secure your spot today. And if you can't attend live, register anyway, as a replay will be available for all registrants. See you, then. I've been thinking a lot about entitlement lately. The truth is, I just got back from a wonderful Alaskan cruise and I saw a lot of entitled people behaving badly. According to WebMD, the entitlement mentality is defined as a sense of deservingness or being owed a favor when little or nothing has been done to deserve special treatment. It's the quote unquote you owe me attitude, and entitlement is a narcissistic personality trait. So it got me thinking. Where do we see this entitlement mentality in our careers? Who do we see it from and when are we guilty of feeling or being entitled. Brace yourself. It's about to get real. Let's get started. Hello my friends, this is episode 179 of the mid career GPS podcast. I'm your host, john Narrell. I help mid career professionals who feel stuck, undervalued and underutilized show up to find a job they love, or love the job they have, using my proven four step formula. Now, as I shared in the intro, this whole idea about entitlement is springboarding off of a fantastic vacation my husband and I just got back from. We took a seven day cruise to Alaska. It was absolutely amazing. We had planned to do this trip back in 2020 and, of course, the pandemic happened, and so what happened on our part was that we planned to do the trip in 2021. It got put on hold again, and the cruise line with whom we booked with gave us some extra bonuses and incentives, and so, when we booked this cruise, we actually upgraded ourselves, and so we upgraded ourselves to what was called Aqua class, which one of the benefits of that was we had our own private dining room for anybody that was part of Aqua class. And this is where this whole idea about entitlement started coming up, because on day three of the cruise, something happened that left Richard and me both kind of staring at each other and kind of shaking our heads. So here's what happened. We had changed time zones going into Alaska and so the clocks moved back an hour and, for whatever reason, the dining room that morning for breakfast was exceptionally busy. So we get there, they sat us towards the back of the restaurant, not a problem, and we sat there, and so you know how you pick up on energy from people. There was a couple sitting next to us and you could just tell there was a lot of tension and a lot of anger, if you will. So we're sitting there with our menus, we're trying to figure out what we want, we're waiting for our server to come by, and at one point this woman gets up and she goes over to the mater day and she chews him out like tears him a new one. And we're kind of listening, but we're trying not to be too obvious. And then she went and got the hostess and chewed her out and the husband's just kind of sitting there and didn't really want to make eye contact. But at one point we heard this phrase we're in aqua class and we expect to be treated better. Listen, hurt For it. So we kind of let the dust settle a little bit. We're not making eye contact with them at all, we're just trying to like stare at our menus and look at each other and make some small talk. Meanwhile, we're trying to like follow the story that's going on on the table next to us. So about 30 minutes in, after we had been seated, nobody had come by. Now, if you've been following the podcast for a while, you know that one of my favorite words to use when you are interviewing is the word help. You share how you can help this new organization based on your skill set. Well, here's another way I like to use the word help. I walked up to the hostess and said to her I said hi, can you help us with something please? She said sure. I said we didn't see it for about 30 minutes. Nobody has come by to take our order. Would you help us get a server to come to the table? She profusely apologized and I said no, no, I know you're busy, it's okay, we're in no rush. I think it was actually a day at sea or we weren't getting into Port Till later that night. So where are we going? She says totally fine. She said no, no, no, I'm going to get somebody. We heard her approach a server and the server said it's not my station. And she said everybody is your station, get over there. And then a few minutes later, the Mater D came over and he profusely apologized Gentlemen, I'm so sorry, I didn't want you to have to wait. Please accept my apologies. And I remember hearing this from someone I knew years ago and I looked at him and I said look, I appreciate your concern and your attention to this. I said but we're not the problem. And I said we understand there's been a situation because the couple next to us had already left. And I said we're not those people. I said this is not terminal cancer. I'm going to get my French toast, it's totally fine. He laughed, appreciated, you know, and they came by one more time to apologize and everything. Two hours later we had a bottle of champagne in our room and a note expressing their apologies for what we went through at breakfast. You can show up in a variety of situations. I never felt like they owed us. Yes, we paid for a service and we were getting an exchange for that service, but there was a circumstance that clearly was out of the norm for them. So my thought was how do you want to show up? So for me, I wanted to show up, first and foremost by asking the person who was one of the leaders in the room how can you help me? We got the help. What also happened was, every time we went back to that restaurant, we were acknowledged, we were welcomed when we could sit by the window, we were, we did, and we had the most amazing wait staff while we were on this cruise. So, again, it's how you handle the situation. So now we get off the boat, we plan to spend the day in Seattle before returning home, and I had gone over to the CBS to pick up a few things and I'm in the store and we were downtown Seattle. So I don't know Seattle very well, but I'm kind of walking around the store and going this isn't like my CBS and there are four women in the store I'm going to guess they were from the South just by based on their accent and this one woman she was rather loud and she goes. This is ridiculous. My apologies for my Southern accent, but I'm just going to go with it. This is ridiculous. $12 for two razors and they're locked behind glass. This is stupid, this is ridiculous. And she's getting allowed because she now has to go get a customer service rep to open up the case. And there was an African American woman behind the counter and she goes ma'am, you are in my neighborhood and this is a high crime area. You will do as I say that point. I wanted to run up to the counter in high five or I thought, wow, I've never seen anybody get shut down like that in a long time, but again entitled because I can't get what I want Right. Well, in this neighborhood, as I came to find out, it is a high crime neighborhood and even though it is 10, 10, 30 in the morning, you play by their rules. See, believing or thinking you are entitled can show up in a variety of different places in our lives and careers and, admittedly, people who show up as being entitled is an absolute pet peeve of mine. But I want to be clear in what we're going to talk about today. This isn't about shaming anyone. This is an opportunity to increase awareness and see where we know people who are doing this or where we might be showing up as being or feeling entitled to certain things at work, just to figure out how we want to play these situations out a little bit differently Now. I also want to offer a disclaimer. This is very different than providing accommodations or safe spaces for people at work. These are things that under the law, they and everyone are entitled to. What we are talking about today is an entitlement mentality. So here's a few examples promotions and advancements. Some employees might feel entitled to promotions or career advancements based on their tenure or the belief that they deserve to be in a higher position, without necessarily demonstrating the required skills, experience, performance or competencies because they have been with the company for a certain number of years. Let me be clear Time in role is not a factor for being promoted. Simply because you've been in a role for a certain number of years does not mean you are automatically entitled to a promotion. If an employee believes they are entitled to a promotion because of the length of time of service in that role, that is a management problem. That is a problem that I will always go back to the manager and say where are you setting clear expectations around promotions and advancement with your team? Because if that belief is out there with one person, that belief is out there with others. So time in role does not mean that you get promoted. I have worked with people who have thought that I have managed, people who have thought that that's why I say this is a management problem. You have to set those clear expectations. Another area where this entitlement, belief or mindset may come up may come up around salary and compensation. Individuals may feel entitled to higher salaries or compensation packages than what is standard for their role or experience, often because they're comparing their compensation with peers, their perceived market value or their own personal financial needs. If you can get paid more, great. I'm always going to advocate for getting paid more. When I was teaching, I worked in a school district where, contractually, we were only paid for 10 months and, as head of the local union, every single year I would have people come back to me and say we should be paid 12 months because I can't manage my finances and I need to go get a second job over the summer. I am not responsible for your budget. I am responsible for mine and my budget alone. If you are paid 12-month salary over 10 months, you need to figure out a way to be better with your finances, because that was something we were not going back to negotiate with the board on in terms of our contract, but they felt entitled that they should be paid over 12 months. Another area where this comes up is around flexible working arrangements, and let me offer you here that this is a big one and it will continue to be a big one as more and more companies talk about what a return to the work site is going to look like, especially as we head into 2024. So some individuals may feel entitled to flexible work arrangements without necessarily meeting the organization's criteria or job requirements for such arrangements. Keep in mind that, with the exception of two states, pretty much everybody is an at-will employee, meaning that the employer gets to determine. You can be let go at any point in time. Now, yes, there are some standards and protocols that typically happen around that, but your employer gets to determine what that arrangement is, unless there is a collective bargaining agreement between you and the union or between your employer and the union and they are agreeing contractually what that agreement looks like. But for the majority of us, the employer is going to set what that arrangement is. If the employer says I want you back in the office three days a week and you don't like it, tough Like I understand, that can be really, really hard to hear, but if you don't like it you can leave. Now you can have a conversation with your supervisor. You may be able to work out an arrangement. But I have heard things from people, things like well, you know, I got a dog during the pandemic and I really can't be at work five days a week because then I have to pay for doggy daycare. That's your responsibility. You find a way to take care of your beloved fur baby. That is not the employer's responsibility. These are the things where that employment mentality starts to come up almost to the point of where they're asking for special treatment. Look, everybody on some level gets treated special. I get that. You get an extra day to work from home, you get to leave early or there's a pass on, like whatever. That is right, like. So we just know that's part of the organizational politics. Okay, but it's special, air quoted. It is special for a reason. It is not the norm. Employees who take advantage of special treatments oftentimes find themselves in trouble, especially when it comes to entitlement issues, because now the boss has had to tighten the reins or you get a new boss and they're not willing to make those same kind of agreements for you, and these are things we have to be considerate of here. As an employee, let's remember that your working arrangement is an agreement between you and your employer. You have agency in terms of determining whether or not you want to continue to work there. I have had people come to me for coaching and they will talk about how they need better work life balance. The conversations that they get coached on are getting very clear about what that work life balance is and how they approach that conversation with their employer to see if it is viable and, if it is not, what the next steps are. Thank you, what you desire here is a leader who's going to be accommodating, an understanding of your situation, and in return, you will make up that accommodated time without pushback or reservation. Think of the employee and you may be in this situation who has an aging parent. You are responsible for their medical care. You are taking them to doctor's appointments. You need flexibility during the day. You may have a supervisor that says absolutely take care of your family, just make up the time. Whether you make up that time later that day, on the weekends or whatever, that is completely understandable. I think those relationships are great and more and more. We're going to see those. And if you're in a leadership role, you have to decide within the parameters of your organization how much you can offer that kind of flexibility to your team members. When I was leading teams, one of the things I would always ask my team is okay, when it comes time to celebrate and recognize do you want money or do you want time? A lot of them ask for time. So we would work out flex working agreements, but sometimes, especially when it was all hands on deck, those flex working agreements weren't viable. Well, you promised I did, but we also have to work within the constructs of the project. Right now I can't offer that to you. How you deal with this entitlement mentality is everything and I want to offer that. There have been times in my career where I have absolutely felt entitled. Absolutely. I felt entitled because I was in my 20s or my 30s or my 40s and I thought, well, look, you got to give me something here. They don't Right. And then, when you get into a leadership role and you're managing people and developing talent, it's another thing where you're dealing with a lot of things. I remember people talk, so if you do one thing for one, they have to do it for everybody else. When I was leading a local union, the phrase we used all the time was past precedent. There was a past precedent for something that meant you could give it to one. You could give it to all. So, whether you're on the employee side or you're in a leadership role managing staff and still an employee of the organization, here are some things I want to offer you to consider about dealing with entitlementality, whether for people on your team, colleagues or yourself. The first thing is set ground rules and expectations. If you're making an agreement about an accommodation or an arrangement, make sure those ground rules are very clear. That is absolutely important as you move forward because those ground rules allow you to play. In some cases you may want to follow up and document that in an email or not depends on what the arrangement is, but make sure you have a clear ground rule and understanding about what that accommodation is. The second thing is have an intentional conversation with your leadership. One of my show up six strategies is about having an intentional conversation and doing that in a way where you move the relationship forward. If you need to leave early one day, have an intentional conversation with your supervisor about it. I would offer you, don't go into the meeting and say, hey, I need to leave three hours early every Wednesday. What you might say is, hey, I've got a personal situation, I'm asking to leave three hours early on Wednesday. Here's how I'm going to make up the time. Is that okay? When you think about this entitlement mentality, I want you to reflect on where you yourself might be demonstrating that, and it is okay, in my opinion, to call out people on your team if they're demonstrating that entitlement mentality as well. Is it a thought that they're having? Is it a feeling that they're having In a leadership role? As you build an effective team, you may have to have these kinds of conversations. And, lastly, communicate clearly and remember that if you're asking for something at work that you are not entitled to under the law, what I want to offer you is it is a give and take. Don't be the employee that's always going and taking everything from the organization. Every two weeks, there is an exchange of services. You do the job, the company pays you, and if you decide to continue working there and the company decides to continue paying you, that's another two weeks of agreement. It is a give and take, so remember that. Remember that as you figure out exactly where you want them to give a little, where you need to give a little. But by all means, check yourself. When it comes to this entitlement mentality, where you say it's surfacing for people on your team or even for yourself, do some self-reflection and decide how you want to show up moving forward. All right, well, I will tell you this, my friends, if you have never taken a cruise to Alaska, I highly, highly, highly recommend it. It was some of the most beautiful and picturesque scenery we have ever seen. We are so glad we got a chance to do it. We did meet some wonderful people on the cruise, so excited to have some new friends in our life as well. And before we wrap up, I just wanna remind you of this, I am hosting a live webinar on Thursday, september 7th at noon, called Three Strategic Steps to Lend your Dream Job before the year ends. Go to my website at johnnarrowcom forward slash webinar, check the show notes or my LinkedIn to secure your spot. And remember, if you can't attend live, register anyway, as a replay will be available for all registrants. Okay, my friends, thanks for spending some time with me today. Remember this we build our mid-career GPS one mile or one step at a time, and how we show up matters. Make it a great rest of your day. Thank you for listening to the Mid-Career GPS podcast. Make sure to follow on your favorite listening platform and, if you have a moment, I'd love to hear your comments on Apple podcasts. Visit johnnarrowcom for more information about how I can help you build your mid-career GPS or how I can help you and your organization with your next workshop or public speaking event. Don't forget to connect with me on LinkedIn and follow me on social at John Narrow coaching. I look forward to being back with you next week. Until then, take care and remember how we show up matters.

Navigating Entitlement in Our Careers
Addressing Entitlement in the Workplace