We are living in an era of entitlement which is becoming increasingly evident in media and pop culture. There is a reality show for everyone. If I am a gamer, I can via Twitch find amateur fame there (and ironically, without having any ounce of gaming experience or interest.) If I have a wifi connection and a smartphone, I can have my own reality show also anytime I want to, thanks to platforms such as YouTube, Snapchat, Instagram and probably countless of other social sites that I am not cool enough to know about.  
This degree of entitlement has literally spilled over into the “real world” and unfortunately into the work force.   No one wants entry-level pay; everyone in every position demands to “get paid” regardless of the job he or she has, or the skill set this individual brings into the job market. Everyone deserves to be a Highly Compensated Employee for possessing undefined and unspecified qualifications.    I’m not a compensation expert but I do have experience in compensation related matters, thanks to my experience working in Human Resources.  

Generally speaking, employers pay their employees based upon the job description and skill level involved to successfully perform the essential job requirements.  Because this is not a piece about Compensation, I won’t go into all of the components of how pay ranges and scales are determined.  There are many companies that major corporations consult with to help them administer their pay and benefit programs.  These HR consulting firms provide scientific data based upon the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics information.  The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics provides extensive demographic information on just about all quantifiable metrics based upon geography, job industries, as well occupational outlooks, etc.  

I provided the aforementioned information to demonstrate that compensation is no longer decided by one person.  In today’s job force, your direct supervisor or Manager often has minimal decision making or direct control of your rate of pay.  At best, these individuals can decide or influence yearly pay raises, performance -based incentives; beyond this, your pay is what it is.  Unless you work in the private sector or for a business owner who makes the day-to-day operating decisions for that company.  Quick sidebar, I am not minimizing a member of management having influence over performance-merit reviews and/or compensatory incentive programs.  Working for a “stingy” boss who treats incentive dollars as if they were self-funded, can create major financial setbacks for his or her direct reports that are far-reaching and often difficult to recover from. 

Now back to the mindset of many American workers today.  I appreciate that everyone wants to be paid.  I understand that we all have bills to pay, commitments and personal responsibilities. This is called being an adult.  Being an adult and having responsibilities there of, does not automatically dictate nor entitle any of us to assign an esoteric compensatory value to how much an employer “should” pay us.  

No one can pay you for what you’re worth. I definitely cannot assess a financial value to how much I am worth as a “unique, unrepeatable, Spiritual being.”  I can however, as a mature adult, take a critical assessment of my educational level, professional skill sets, credentials, qualifications, professional/career experience, certifications, training,volunteer history, internship experience, time-in position, and come up with a salary equivalent based upon these credentials.  At issue is many, if not most of us are incapable of doing or blatantly refuse to do the same.  

I am not pro employer or pro corporate greed.  I am well aware that there are pay disparities among men and women and in 2015, there remains a huge delta between how much people of color are paid versus our white counterparts. Proverty is a legitimate crisis that affects us all as a human race; hunger, illness, a lack of access to quality education, jobs, housing and other basic quality of life concerns do not discriminate.  The rising cost of health care, namely the cost for life-sustaining prescription drugs is shameful and disgusting. 

However beyond these key issues that we have no direct control over, I am frustrated that there is an overwhelming mindset of zero personal responsibility.  My employer does not dictate how or where I live. My employer does not decide how many children I have; the cost of child care, how much my rent or car payment is; how much it costs for public transportation, or how much it cost to shop at Whole Foods and Trader Joes.   These are personal and individual decisions.   These are not the equivalent of transferable skills that require or support a raise.   I have a black belt in shopping therefore if pay was determined by how much money I spend or feel that I need to live my life, I’d be the highest paid person in the world.  I’m just saying.  

It’s ridiculous to demand a six-figure salary because someone else is earning six-figures.  Are your skill sets and educational level identical? I am a proud graduate of Columbia College; I am not going to insult your intelligence or mine arguing that my esteemed arts and media college is the same as Columbia University in terms of academic prestige.  I don’t make the rules and more than likely you don’t either.  I don’t think that my quality of education from Columbia College is diminished in any meaningful way to me.  I went to and graduated from the college that I chose. If I wanted to attend Columbia University I’m fairly certain that I could have. 

It’s about being real and stop thinking that people owe us for showing up to the same job everyday-the equivalent of doing the world a favor.  You, me going to work helps you and the company we chose to work for, further our individual objectives.  This is business, not personal.  If you want (I want) to earn more money, figure out a way to leverage your (my) marketable skills and assign a fair market value for it.  If you have minimal job or business skills, change that and do your work to gain more skills.  Relocate, do consultant work, go back to school, take an online course or a professional certification program.  Do an internship if you can’t afford to pay for school or take out student loans. There are options and resources available if you seek them out. 

The entitlement mindset believes that someone else is supposed to do something to make his or her life better. The adult reality is, being and living better is an inside job. No one will or should do it for you.  


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