December 11, 2014 HR and Recruiting Cangrade
Young people these days.

They’re arrogant and self-absorbed—with each new generation, researchers have found higher and higher scores on measures of narcissism.

The American Psychiatric Association “officially confirmed” that taking selfies (a common behavior among young people) reflects a serious mental disorder…

…ok, the one about selfies was definitely a hoax. But many people were inclined to believe it at first.

This can’t be healthy.

Perhaps the most bemoaned attribute of younger generations is their sense of entitlement.

Entitlement has created a generation of lazy, unambitious, and disloyal workers…or has it? In this post, we explore 3 surprising upsides of the Millennial mindset.

1. Focus on the future
Some people are legitimately delusional about their strengths and weaknesses.

But what might look like an inflated ego or overly positive self-image is often something quite different: optimism.

People don’t have just one single idea of who they are. We each have numerous mental representations of the self: who we were in the past, who we are right now, who we will be in the future.

The most ambitious people don’t spend all that much time thinking about the past or present—they persistently focus on their goals for the future. Many successful people legitimately strive to be their ideal (future) self every day, until the dream eventually becomes reality.

In other words, “fake it ‘til you make it” really works.

2. Expertise and adaptability
Entitled young people might be ungrateful for opportunities they have been given. This might make them less loyal to employers—the result is a new generation of “job-hoppers.”

This is bad, right? A recent study by CareerBuilder found that employers are evenly split on this issue. About half don’t hire job-hoppers. The other half readily hire job-hoppers, and 32% simply consider it to be inevitable.

Now the interesting part: job-hoppers tend to be great employees.

Employers report that job-hoppers possess a wide range of useful expertise, and can adapt quickly to meet the demands of changing situations.

Job-hoppers are also surprisingly loyal. Nearly 60% of employers say that their job-hopper employees stay with them for at least 2 years. The ones that actually leave after a short time are clearly in the minority.

3. Uniqueness and creativity
Feeling entitled certainly can have negative consequences: it can make us less likely to help others, more willing to break rules, and less willing to apologize for it.

But a sense of entitlement is still quite different from a sense of accomplishment. It often leaves us feeling unsatisfied.

After all—much of what you deserve, everyone else deserves too.

Feeling entitled actually stimulates the need to be a unique person.

Those darn youngsters.

A recent series of experiments confirmed that feeling entitled causes an increased need for uniqueness. But even more interestingly, feeling entitled also boosted performance on a variety of creativity tasks (such as drawing, word associations, and finding unique uses for everyday objects).

Given the importance that many employers place on innovation, perhaps a little bit of entitlement is exactly what we are hoping for.