self-entitlement: is that, like, an epidemic?

Read this from Entrepreneur (emphasis mine):

Jobstreet.com Philippines country manager Philip A. Gioca said on Tuesday, March 15 that based on the survey’s findings, a greater number of respondent-employers think that PUP graduates possess the most traits that they are looking for in fresh graduate applicants.

“The companies state that PUP graduates are generally very hard-working and often go the extra mile in their job,” said Gioca. Additionally, those respondent-employers also observed that PUP graduates generally do not complain about tasks, do not easily give up on assignments, and are genuinely having the drive to learn and uplift their lives, which in turn tend to make them work harder.”

Read this from Cosmopolitan (emphasis mine):

“PUP graduates display three distinct characteristics that is (sic) needed in their business,” Gioca said. “One, PUP graduates display a drive to succeed and are very hardworking. Second, they have reasonable demands and they don’t usually display an attitude of self-entitlement. And third, they tend to stay longer in a company and they don’t leave at the slightest difficulty,” he added.

Read this from Inquirer (emphasis mine):

“Why have employers warmed up to PUP graduates? They have the drive to succeed and are very hardworking. They have reasonable demands and they don’t usually display an attitude of self-entitlement. They also tend to stay longer in a company and they don’t leave at the slightest difficulty,” Gioca said in a press briefing on Tuesday.

“…Most importantly, they want candidates who have the right attitude on being trained. Primadonnas and newbies who think they don’t need training won’t get hired. Where a fresh graduate got his or her diploma won’t matter as much as his or her eagerness to learn and showing the ability to absorb concepts and apply them in the office setting.”

My reaction:

* Good for PUP. I’m sure you guys deserve the accolades. And I hope you get rewarded for going that extra mile (your employers should feel lucky to have you and try their best to keep you happy or at the very least acknowledge your good work).

* I don’t really know what the actual survey answers were or how the questions were posed, but it’s alarming that the impression we get is that kids today make unreasonable demands (such as?), are unwilling to be trained (why not?), and act like entitled primadonnas (how so?)–and, it is implied, that these traits generally characterize the Big 4 graduates (how pervasively?).

* I also don’t know whether or not these employers have delved deeper into what the kids want, what kind of difficulties they find intolerable deal-breakers, and why there is such a disparity in expectations between employers and fresh grads (which, IMHO, is the more interesting question, rather than where the most desirable/preferred hires hail from).

* My two cents: Cut the Big 4 graduates some slack. They’re under tremendous pressure to do well. Given the investment poured on them, juxtaposed with the starting salaries afforded any fresh hire, of course there is a degree of anxiety over whether they’re “meeting their potential.” The message we send out is that coming from a good school will help secure (if not guarantee) your child’s “better” future. This is something they’ve been taught to expect and that has been reinforced all their lives–it is no wonder then that they feel “entitled” to something.

However, do we really have the jobs that will absorb these graduates and fulfill these expectations? When it’s their turn to send their own kids to school or contribute to their family, will they be able to do so? At the same level as how they themselves were raised? Also, some of these kids are scholars and do not come from well-to-do families (which is a whole different kind of pressure). They also feel a sense of obligation to the school itself. Will they be able to give back a portion of their salary to pay-it-forward to the new scholars of the school, or can they barely make rent?

Before we speak of entitlement, perhaps we should look at what these kids can afford on their very first salary. Never mind what mom and dad can provide on the side. Perhaps we should look at the kind of lifestyle they lead, and how many hours they put in on the job. Perhaps their demands are really unmet needs?

* I am curious as to what these kids’ demands are, actually, and their response to training. But you don’t call them “fresh” for nothing. Overconfidence, I’ve found, is a trait that many young people do have–it’s actually something that makes them fearless, that allows them to take risks. It also goes hand in hand with ambition, and yes, combined, that allows them to leave what they would consider a “stepping stone” for the next challenge.

“Why do they go so fast?” is a question that can be turned on its head: “Why aren’t they convinced or enticed to stay?” In some industries, for example, job security is now precarious. The youth find little incentive to stay. They would seize an opportunity that comes their way, and who can blame them? They see older, more established employees getting laid off, for example, which does not encourage them to follow the same track.

The workplace is changing. The kids are growing up. This generation may seem impatient, they probably are, but then I can’t very well say the older generation wasn’t. This generation is also pretty self-aware, and almost trained from birth to assess themselves and their environment. The fact that they feel they can accomplish more, deserve more, be able to contribute more, ought to be harnessed–that energy, that drive, that passion, is also the reason why they’re preferred employees, right?

My point, I guess, is that it’s a two-way street. These aren’t kids, really, they’re young adults trying to secure their place in society. It is also to our benefit that we reach out, rather than be closed off, to them. And rather than always expecting them to adjust to our old ways, perhaps we can try understanding them first, and find our common ground…however hard we have to break it apart when we bury the hatchet.

Just a thought.

~ Written by a former scholar of ADMU, born in 1981, who is currently a freelance worker after staying for as long as eight years and as few as three years in regular jobs

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