Belief that one is deserving of certain privileges.
Growing up, I was taught – not always intentionally – that I didn’t deserve much of anything. I felt alone, unwanted, and unloved for most of my life. I’ve struggled with asking for help because I shouldn’t need it, and I’ve struggled with receiving (gifts, compliments, help, love…) because I feel so undeserving. Over the past few years, my confidence has grown, and I have learned a lot about myself. I still struggle from time to time with feeling undeserving, but I have gotten much better at receiving. The sense of entitlement, however, is still a foreign concept – and, honestly, I hope it stays that way.
I was recently promoted at work. It was actually considered a job change by the company rather than just a promotion. Because of that, everything had to be handled ‘properly’ through HR. So my supervisor had to actually post the job listing on our website. Due to the nature of the job, she was allowed to only post on the internal website. I then had to officially apply for the position and go through the interview process so my supervisor could turn her notes into HR to prove that I was indeed qualified for the position. Only when I was officially offered the position could she remove the job posting from the website. This process took a week to complete. So the job posting was open on the website for at least six business days.
There are people in our company – at least on our floor – that look at the job postings on a daily basis. Some are looking for more money, some are not happy in their current positions, and some just want a better ‘title’. Whatever the reason is, I was fully expecting there to be other people applying for this position. Even though I knew the position was mine – it was created specifically for me because I was already doing the job – I started to question whether I really deserved the job in light of how many other people could apply.
Not only was this a job that was created for me, I kept feeling that God wanted me in this position. I even stepped outside of my comfort zone and approached my supervisor to ask if creating this position would be a possibility. Once everything became official, I learned that no one else had applied for the position. I was really surprised since so many people look for these types of job postings on a daily basis. It was pretty clear to me that God wanted me to have this job. I’m sure he knew what my response would have been if anyone else had applied. I would have never fully believed that I deserved the position.
A few days after I was officially hired in this position, my supervisor informed me that there were a few people from another department who were upset that they didn’t have a chance to apply for the position. The supervisor of that team asked if my supervisor had actually posted for the position or if the job had been just handed to me. My supervisor did everything by the book, and she had no explanation as to why no one noticed the posting during the six days it was open. I know the answer to that, but it’s not something I will share with my supervisor or those who wanted to apply for the position.
Apparently, those who wanted to apply have been at the company longer than I have, and they feel a sense of entitlement to a position of higher title and pay. It was not surprising to hear that because we have people on our own team who have the same sense of entitlement. They believe that since they have been here for the longest, and they do the minimum (bare minimum) of what is required of them, they should be promoted. I have been promoted fairly quickly in the time that I’ve been here. Within our department, we have three levels of employees (associate, intermediate, senior); then the team leads (my current position); then the supervisor. We have a lot of intermediate employees who literally are demanding to be promoted to senior. I have a really hard time listening to them talk about it because that is such a foreign concept to me. I can barely believe that I deserve the position I have much less demand to be in a higher position.
But that sense of entitlement is so strong in our culture. What surprises me even more is how strong it is even among Christians. If Jesus didn’t have a sense of entitlement (which is a given considering he gave up his place in heaven to become one of us, suffering on the cross to die for us), how can we ever believe that we deserve more than what we have right now?
On the other side of that is where I struggle and need to grow – if God gives me something (and all things come from him), who am I to argue that I am not deserving? That has been a major point of emphasis in my journey of faith. I know that it will probably be a lifelong point for me, but I have hope in knowing that I have come so far in the last few years.