Over at Simple Justice, Scott Greenfield has a post titled Yes You Are Entitled, where without much comment, he posts the Entitlement Creed, the creation of Eric Chester, which tells college students and young grads that they've a bunch of worthless pieces of shit and need to learn to lick the boots of anyone who bears the title Employer if they're going to get ahead in life. SHG has the video, if you want to see it read by a bunch of people who can take Brian Lieter in a competition to see who can say "insolent" the most chillingly. Or you can just read the text below:
Being positive and energetic is your responsibility. You're now the company morale officer. Projecting the right image to the world is also your responsibility. You're now in the marketing department. You must account for every penny that crosses your path, because you are also the company comptroller. And of course, in addition to the job you are paid to do, you must pick up a number of duties, unpaid, and find ways to add value to the company any time the slightest opportunity presents itself, because as an entry-level employee you are expected to have the responsibilities of a manager and principal. Don't expect to be compensated like someone who has those responsibilities though, because like Entitlement Eric says, that's not what you're being paid to do, it's the "and then some" that you're required to do on top of your bargained-for-agreement, because you work for (and now imagine Charles Kingsfield's voice here) an employer.
...Maybe some jazz hands and someone going "ooooo!" in the background would really get across the full majesty of what it means to be (Kingsfield again) an employer.
I'm not sure what gesture and sound effects gets across the appropriate meaning of what it is to be a asswagon like Entitlement Eric. Take for instance this blog post where he laments college graduates moving back in with their parents:
If you find this unsettling and want to assign blame, you may be tempted to heap it all on the shoulders of your young cohort. Scores of them are coming out of college saddled with gargantuan student loans and feel the need to rely on someone else to take care of their basic needs while they struggle to get out of debt. Others just want to free up the cash it takes to support the entertainment-rich, techno gadget-filled, bling-bling lifestyles they’ve grown accustomed to.
But don’t put it all on the kid.
Much of the reason for the delayed emancipation of our nation’s youth can be attributed to the rise of the helicopter parents; parents who hover over their adult children’s lives and refuse to let go. Some of these chopper-pilot moms and dads are obviously afraid of the old-age feeling of being empty nesters while others are simply trying to compensate for the lack of quality time spent with their children during their adolescence.
Helicopter parents might welcome their children back home, but a 21 or 22 year old college grad is in no rush to take them up on the offer. Helicopter parents are especially likely to make their kids want to move out. No one wants to in that sort of household after 4 years of relative freedom in college. And they aren't living bling-bling lifestyles either when they sleep in bunkbeds and have to wear flipflops to take a shower for fear of catching an infectious fungus from one of the other 200 people who used the shower stall earlier that day.
The only reason college grads are moving in with their parents is because they can't afford it, and at least Entitlement Eric pays lipservice to student debt, but he definitely doesn't understand it. His blog has a tag for spoiled kids, but not one for education debt, which currently averages about $28,000 for college graduates. Entitlement Eric has a post where he mentions being able to pay for college (the site makes no mention of his degree) by selling fertilizer during the summer. That's a pretty good gig. In 1980 if you were earning minimum wage you'd have to work 40 hours each week during the summer and 9 hours a week during the school year, so Entitlement Eric was earning somewhere around 50% over minimum wage. These days to pay for tuition, even at an in state school, you need to work 40 hours a week, 48 weeks of the year. (At the University of Denver, that puts you just $600 over tuition.) To pay for $14,000 in tuition with just a 40/hr 12 week summer job, you'd need to earn $29.16 an hour, more than 4x minimum wage. Licensed attorneys are lucky to make that much money.
Back in 1980, you'd have to work 1,600 hours at minimum wage to buy a Ford Mustang. Now you need to work about 3,100. An hour at minimum wage would get you between 2.6 and 3 gallons of gas. Now it gets you just under 2. If you want to understand why your low level employees aren't busting ass to raise your profit margins, that's why. Because they're getting screwed, and they know you're part of what's screwing them:
Since 1970, employee productivity has increased by 150%. Hourly compensation has increased by 13%. That new employee you're whining about is more than twice as productive as you were in your first job, and yet he's getting paid about the same amount. And on top of not having his wages reflect how much more he's doing, he's starting life $28,000 in the hole. It takes him more than 2 months worth of earnings just to pay his student loans for the year.
No one who is offering a good job, with a good salary, good benefits, and the chance to advance is having any trouble finding employees who will do the job well and with a good attitude. People like Entitlement Eric and the Shitboomers he sells his tripe to aren't looking to help their employees grow. They're engaged in labor strip mining.
On the job training is now a thing of the past. You're expected to know exactly how to do your job (which is going to be a highly specialized niche) the moment you show up. On top of that, you'll need to know how to do someone else's job, because there used to be two jobs and they're now merged into one, and you'll need at least 5 years experience doing the first job, 3 years experience doing the second job, and you'd better be damned thankful you're being offered $35,000 a year to do it, because the alternatives are turning your job into a part-time position to get around laws requiring the company to offer benefits, and you'll still have to do the same work, just in less time and for $18,000; or it can be turned into a private contractor position which still pays the same, but since you're now self-employed your benefits are gone and your payroll taxes have just doubled, meaning at $35,000 you have a higher tax rate than your boss who's earning $250,000.
You don't have to look past the law firm layoffs of 2008-09 to see labor strip mining in action. Thousands of attorneys, largely first and second year associates, were laid off. The reason was supposed to be a lack of billable work. Yet, under the 1/3-1/3-1/3 model, where an associate is expected to bring in 3x his salary (the other 2xes are overhead and partner profits), a first year earning $160,000 and billing at $300/hr needed to only bill 1,067 hours to cover his salary and share of overhead. Most, if not all the associates let go had billed or were on target to bill well above that number. The profit margin for partners just wasn't high enough. Sack an associate, spread his 1,500 hours over two remaining associates, give them each a $5000 bonus for the increased workload, and the firm's profits jump $120,000.
And that's what happened. As heads were rolling right and left, profits were on the rise. Law firms would say they needed to shore up profits to attract and retain partners with large books of business, but that's just the point. Those mercenary partners (which is almost every BigLaw rainmaker whose name isn't on the door) said it's more important to get their salary above $1 million or $2 million a year than it is to keep junior associates on the job, learning skills, and becoming productive members of the profession, because after all, there'll be a new crop next year to replace them.
Now I know the realist position. That in this economy where you can be replaced at the drop of a Craigslist ad, you'd better show up early, stay late, pick up extra tasks, and smile while doing it. There isn't a member of Gen Y who hasn't gotten that message. It's the Shitboomers who need a lesson on attitude, and if I may paraphrase Leo McGarry:
Now, we have an economy, and it is tough and it has to be taken advantage of its and right to take advantage of it. But we do not strut ever.