#3.3 Preparing to be a High Performer: Leave your Entitlement Mentality at the Door – Exchange it for Humility

Do you feel entitled to receive various benefits at work such as promotions, bigger raises, and larger bonuses? This mentality needs to be handled carefully, and I caution you that it can cause more harm than good in certain circumstances. To clarify: there are instances when an employee is entitled to a reward but does not receive it; this is an entirely different situation than the one I’m looking to discuss here.


The entitlement mentality I’m concerned about is when someone feels they have earned a reward and in reality:

  • They have not met the expectations required to receive the reward
  • They have become impatient with the natural process and quit, or they have become unpleasant to work with and ultimately upset management

The entitlement mentality doesn’t go over well with the older generations (i.e., Baby Boomers, Gen X)— the ones who are most likely in the management roles and in control of the benefits.

This blog about Workplace Warfare goes into detail about each workplace age group (X, Y, Z, and Boomers) and discusses each group’s strengths and weaknesses. Entitlement is a core area where there is a clash between age groups.

So where are the older generations coming from on this?

I think the root of it is understanding expectations. For example, are you familiar with the requirements needed for the promotion you want, and have you met them? Have you taken the classes, logged the project hours, accumulated the hands-on experience? If you haven’t, you can make a list of what you need to earn yourself that reward.

Once you have that list and understand expectations, it takes humility and patience to travel the sometimes trying, difficult, and often long road to eventually receiving those rewards. Humility will help you do all that is required—not all of the work will be glamorous; some may be tedious, some may seem like nothing more than grunt work. All jobs tend to have their not-so-fun parts, and it takes a certain humbleness to power through the boring parts with as much enthusiasm as the exciting parts.




Patience will be necessary as you work your way through all those items on your checklist. It can help get you safely to the other side of a looming “I want it now!” breakdown. You may think no one else has ever had to work so hard for that promotion / raise / bonus / recognition, but I can guarantee you aren’t the first—and you won’t be the last. Aside from needing patience while you propel yourself through earning your reward (which could take you years, depending on what reward you’re aiming for), you might also require it when you discover that in the real world, obtaining approvals for promotions and raises can take a whole lot longer than expected. Does that make it acceptable? Not necessarily, but I’ve seen it firsthand many times. Keep in mind that as long as you work as hard as you can and do the best job possible, your reward will come to you in time.

In closing, it’s important to fully grasp all of the expectations and know the typical timeline for obtaining that next desired benefit. It’s not a “Right Now” kind of thing . Unfortunately, the truth is it takes:

  • Doing the entire job well, even the tedious or hard parts
  • Spending time being patient in the role itself—it can take several years of service
  • Waiting for the promotion, raise, desired benefit to obtain upper-level approval


Once you have humility and patience as your launching points, you are another step closer to being a High Performer.

True Story: Do you have one on the subject of entitlement?

Do you think having an entitlement mentality hurts folks or not?

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

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