You and I might’ve been wrong about everything
For a while now, a colleague and I have noticed a behavioral pattern among fresh graduates and new-to-the-workforce job seekers. They all seem to speak from a this-is-what-I-deserve perspective because they came from good schools, interned for big-name companies for three months and attended a few seminars. That’s great, you and your family have invested in your future. But do you deserve an entry-level salary that is 70% higher than the minimum? Maybe with a postgraduate education? It’s likely a no, at least not yet, especially if you have zero to little experience working in the real world, with real circumstances involved.
I specifically didn’t want this article to be about entitlement, but later found it important to touch on to understand the concepts ‘what I deserve’ and ‘what I’ve earned’ better. What does it mean to be or feel entitled exactly? According to the Internet:
It’s believing that you are deserving of certain privileges or special treatment forever, like it were your birthright.
But “Life, reality, doesn’t concern itself with your sentiments of being entitled of being deserving: it gives you what it gives you and takes away what it takes away, regardless of your feelings… and no matter who you are. Life, reality is not a meritocracy: where you ‘earned' what you expect to get with skills or education. Life, largely, is unconcerned with all that human b.s.,” wrote Sophie Benshitta Maven.
Maven continues to explain that deserve doesn’t exist in reality and therefore, entitlement doesn’t either. But in a hypothetical conversation I had with her in my head, I wanted to ask, don’t you think that to earn (your place, your keep, etc.) is to deserve? After all, billionaire Charlie Munger, did say that the “safest way to try and get what you want is to try and deserve what you want.”
Earn to Deserve
My own theory of what you earn to deserve seems, in my own head and in a few others who share the same mindset, quantifiable in the workplace. If I wanted to move up to a higher level, I’d have to work for it, meaning do more than just the bare minimum of what is on my job description, attend ~certificate~ courses to keep learning about the ever-evolving industry I’m in, network within and outside the workplace, ensure that the right people are aware of my efforts, the list goes on. If I earn my place in the company, I’ll deserve that promotion…right?
I would like to meet Maven or chat with her because in nine minutes, my theory was shattered into tiny confusing pieces, especially when intangible concepts, like love and respect were thrown in the mix.
As children, we were told that we deserve everything the world has to offer, that if we’re good, we’ll get what we want, if we go to and finish school, we’ll get a job that will support our future family and that if we want something bad enough, you will attract it towards you. But what our parents, teachers, peers, mentors failed to tell us is that nothing in life is automatic or guaranteed.
Getting into a prestigious university or graduating with a double degree doesn’t guarantee you a job immediately after college. Me working towards a higher rank doesn’t actually guarantee me a promotion because there is no agreement made between my immediate boss or the company and myself that doing A will get me to B, C, D or E.
But perhaps the most jarring (but not really) “truth” of all is how this applies to love and relationships, too.“We live as if parents are supposed to love their children…but the parents never agreed to love their children.” Love, after all, is not something we’re entitled to; it isn’t earned or even deserved. In its purest form, it is given without expectation.
The Answer is Simple
Now knowing that we are not entitled to anything and that my earn to deserve theory is flawed, I (and maybe you, too?) am encouraged to see life from a different lens: to live without expectation of say, a promotion, love or respect that was never agreed to or promised (unless written in contract and legalized by a notary).
Sure, invest in your education, take that extra course to help you further your career, love and get your heart broken then fall in love again. Don’t be afraid to ask for what you want and the steps needed to get it or there. Do it all with complete sincerity and commitment, and again, do it without expectation.
Results just not guaranteed.
Art Alexandra Lara