Entitlement is NOT a Four-Letter Word
08/iStock_000019477435XSmall-300×237.jpg” alt=”" width=”300″ height=”237″ />Do you honor the success you achieve from all of your hard work?
Working at Skadden, a major New York based law firm, was the first time I was ever in the position to give raises. I created the budget and evaluated the managers who reported
to me. I decided the percentage of salary increase each manager would receive and their bonuses. Then, I would meet with them individually to share their raises and/or bonuses. I put thought into the individual efforts of each manager and tried to consistently match their efforts and achievements with their raise.
Every year at review time, the same process would take place.
I would meet with the female managers and we would review their achievements and accomplishments as I saw them, and then set goals for the coming year. I would then outline their increases based on what I felt reflected their achievements from the previous year. The women would gush and express complete gratitude for their raise. Some of them even seemed surprised that they received such a “generous” amount.
The men? Not so much. I would start each meeting with the male managers in the same way I handled the women. Afterward, I would share their salary increases. Their reaction were much different than the women’s. Instead of surprise, the men would pause, analyze the increase, then review with me their achievements and contributions.
The men would tell me the raise amount they expected, then they asked for more money. It happened every time. I had to learn to start the raise conversation with men at a lower rate so that they could negotiate to a number we could feel good about. And sometimes, I would completely agree with them and give them more money than I planned.
What was at play? I believe that the men had a healthy sense of entitlement.
I started to teach the women managers how to negotiate. Before meeting with them, I would tell them to review their accomplishments over the last year and research the salary market for their positions. When it came time for our meetings, I expected them to give me a number. I didn’t want them to wait to be grateful for whatever I gave out.
I had to teach them the difference between reflexive gratitude and gracious appreciation.
I believe in gratitude; however, when it is a reflexive response, we don’t really take in the reward. We hear the recognition, bounce it right back to the giver, and eclipse our value and hard work in the process.
True appreciation means understanding the value and basking in the enjoyment of the recognition.
If you find yourself bubbling over with effusive gratitude instead of gracious appreciation when you get a promotion for all of your hard work, you are doing yourself a disservice.
So what is entitlement, really?
Entitlement is often construed as a behavior demonstrated by someone whose ego and personal interest have created the illusion that they have the right to what they have. But what if it isn’t an illusion? What if you really do have the right to what you want?
The dictionary doesn’t add emotional baggage to the definition of entitlement. Entitlement is having a right to something; it is the amount to which someone has a right. It could be the amount of money, recognition, or responsibility. The fact is, if you work hard and produce, you have a right to be recognized for your effort.
Oh, and by the way, you have the right to feel entitled at work and at home.
I invite you to embrace a healthy sense of entitlement to honor the life that you have chosen to create and the accomplishments you have made. I invite you to
think about what you deserve. It does require that you expect, and at times, ask for what you want.
The next time something good happens to you, don’t dismiss it as good luck. PAUSE and engage with it. Think about it, feel it, bask in it and honor what you did to bring it to you.
And if what you get isn’t good enough, take a deep breath and ask for more.