The title of this post is taken from an advertisement for Dr. Pepper’s zero sugar soft drink and is a nifty introduction to the topic of entitlement.
One of my minor pet peeves is advertisements that tell me that I “deserve” things. How do people trying to sell me stuff know what I deserve? On the other hand, one of my major pet peeves is people who actually believe that they deserve stuff – especially when they have not worked to earn it.
We have all come across professionals whose worldview goes something like this:
- I was born lucky enough to have an easy route through school.
- I was smart enough to succeed at school (sometimes using tutors that my family was able to afford.)
- Now I am a (fill in the blank: doctor, dentist, lawyer, etc.) and I deserve to earn some multiple of a hundred thousand dollars a year.
- I therefore am a more successful person than others who are not as fortunate as I am and will prove that by my conspicuous consumption.
- I have no compassion for people who have not achieved what I have (in my mind) earned.
Of course there are others who worked for everything that they have and sometimes conquered significant obstacles to success. I respect them way too much to be writing about them today.
I have never really understood the whole entitlement thing. For example, I understand why someone who comes to Canada or the United States from a war-torn company with nothing, works incredibly hard, takes risks, and ends up filthy rich, feels successful. I cannot comprehend why their children, or more likely, grandchildren, who were born with every advantage and coasted to a professional position think that they are somehow better than the next person.
Entitled people vex me, and I deserve not to be vexed because I am a professional with a healthy bank account.
Steve Maraboli said, “A sense of entitlement is a cancerous thought process that is devoid of gratitude and can be deadly to our relationships.”
There are more than a few entitled people in the legal profession. Want to build a law firm with a positive culture? Root them out. Even if they have family connections which can bring in a tonne of business. Replace them with people who are grateful for what they have. As Stephen Furtick said, “Gratitude begins where my sense of entitlement ends.”
This article was originally published by Law360 Canada, part of LexisNexis Canada Inc.