Recently, I and others have observed, with a mild sense of bafflement – and subsequently, bemusement – a certain pattern of behaviour that seems to be increasingly pervasive among the new Generations Y and M, who feel they are entitled to things which others have had to work very hard (and smart) for.
How shall I put this across? Perhaps, in the form of a story. Almost 10 years ago in a very different place, I knew a younger person who felt she had been short-changed by her organisation. It didn’t help that she would complain about it openly – to coworkers and sometimes her bosses. Her work was very good, and she was a bright girl with lots of potential. However, she would sometimes vent out her frustrations on others whom she felt were getting better benefits – including myself.
While we got along socially and even became best buddies, her tendency to compare the workloads and the rankings we received made things awkward at work. She always felt she deserved better. Yet, when given more responsibilities, she would comment that she was not being compensated enough. She felt that she had to be paid more and promoted before she took on a steady increase in work, and advised me to do the same.
Being new to the working world, and relatively idealistic, I decided to disregard that piece of advice, and immerse myself in the projects I was given. My focus was on contributing all my creative talents to the organisation’s work, and I don’t recall ever complaining to my boss doing my performance review about not getting a good deal. I even felt that I could see myself working in this place for a long time. Also, I made it clear from the start that I was capable of doing many more things for the organisation than what was in my official job description.
Within my first year, before I knew it, I was given assignments way outside of my scope as a web designer – writing full-page columns and getting my bylines, producing music for video clips. I also got along with my bosses. One day, I was called up to undergo training to be a multimedia producer. My colleague remained as she was. There’s more to the story but that’s besides the point.
The point of this story being: You usually have to make the first step yourself, before others are willing to move you up. No two situations are exactly the same, so you cannot calculate and make comparisons between one success case and your own personal situation (frankly, if you did, you’d probably go mad – there are many who have forged ahead, and many others who have been left behind). Also, there could be things going on above and around us that we aren’t privy to, and have little control over.
Don’t take your frustrations out on other people who have a different outlook, and don’t spend so much energy calculating and thinking of what could have been. Instead, channel these efforts into something more productive for the team and the organisation.