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Before you read this, please keep in mind the following caveats. I have two degrees, loved university and believe it can be incredibly powerful. I also know that depending on your ethnicity, gender and beliefs, the world can be a very different place than it is for me, a middle class white Christian male.

Now. Stop blaming everyone for everything. Nobody owes you anything.

Do you know, I mean REALLY know, what an employer owes you? An employer owes you an agreed upon amount of money ASSUMING you perform the duties that have been laid out for you, to the best of your abilities, in a timely fashion. YOU owe your employer your best work. They owe you compensation for your best work. That’s it.

If there is some vital piece of info that I would like to pass on to the generation nipping at my professional heels, it is this. In general, especially for white males, where you are is a result of the choices you have made and the effort you’ve put forth. Shit happens. People get sick, get took, get stuck, fall in love, have a kid, get divorced, like the movie Gigli, fail at school, develop a drug habit. These things happen and in some cases, they’re not all on us. I’m not talking about that situation. I’m talking about entitled, whiny idiots.

I’m talking about people with no experience who are pissed that an agency won’t hire them even though “they’re a really great writer.” I’m talking about people who say they can’t find a job, get given a job and don’t show up for work because they don’t like their job. I’m talking about people who think they DESERVE 70-100k because they have their MBA.

It’s entirely possible that each of these people is an incredibly talented individual, but here’s the lesson; no one…owes you…anything.

One of my last gigs was helping run a computer store. It was a pretty cushy gig. We got paid pretty well for what we did, had solid benefits and were generally left to our own devices. One day our owner was coming for a visit and one of the guys spent all morning complaining that if the owner gave him a hard time again for being late, he was going to tell him where to go. Think about that for a second. Think of how many times you’ve heard that, or similar things, from a coworker. The sense of entitlement in many workplaces is incredible. And I’m not saying young people are the only culprits. The guy I told you about was a grown ass man. But I will say that I see the sense of entitlement much more when I’m working with individuals breaking into the work force rather than those navigating it.

There’s nothing wrong understanding your value. As an entrepreneur, I think constantly about what I’m worth, what my time is worth, what my advice is worth. That’s fine. That’s you understanding your value. That’s not what I’m talking about. I’m talking about thinking that your employer owes you an extra weeks vacation because you really want to go to a concert or that a potential employer owes you a job because you’ve got a great twitter following.

No one…owes you…anything.

The real kicker to me is people that talk trash about companies that didn’t hire them, or didn’t give them a job interview. “I sent them a bunch of emails.” So what? They don’t OWE you a job interview. They don’t OWE you a job, even if you’re qualified. There are a lot of qualified people that are out job hunting. Especially in the private sector, you need to impress somebody if you want to get hired. So assume that your skills set, your resume, or YOU specifically just weren’t that impressive.

The number of times I’ve heard people mouthing off about companies over these sorts of situations just baffles me. Especially in a small, incestuous city like Halifax. There’s a pretty good chance that the people you’re mouthing off TO know the people you’re mouthing off ABOUT. I get asked once a week to recommend people for any number of positions or gigs. There are a lot of people who have burned their bridges with me based on their attitude, their performance or something they’ve said.

The lesson in all this, in case you hadn’t figured it out by now, is that no one…owes you…anything. If you want a great job, be prepared to give everything that you are to getting that job and keeping that job. If you want a raise, impress the shit out of your boss so that they have no recourse but to give you one. If you want that interview, blow them away with the resume, the call, the meeting.

No one…owes you…anything.