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Why I'm Proud to be An Entitled Millennial

Why I'm proud to be an entitled Millennial

I’ve been told I have a tendency toward being blunt.

“It’s a good thing,” my family and friends will say. “You tell it how it is.”

But we all know honesty can get a little ugly. It’s like poor old Uncle Ed’s dance moves at your cousin’s wedding; everyone wants to join in during The Twist, but as soon as Amazed by Lonestar comes on, you’re either grabbing your handsome date or a large glass of wine and the chair in the corner.

Then, before you know it, the lyrics take you right back to that time you asked your first crush to dance in grade school, and suddenly you find yourself back at the bar, ordering another glass of merlot.

I digress.

There’s a subject I think we, as millennials, have been “giving the Uncle Ed” for a while now. And in continuing with my apparent reputation, I thought I’d address it head on:

I am an entitled millennial.

If you are also a member of the Gen-Y cohort, the word “entitled” is nothing new to you. You’ve read it in media headlines. You’ve probably heard it spoken a few too many times by the professor of your “Law and Society” class in college. And there’s a good chance you’ve even witnessed it spill from the lips of an employer or two throughout your early career.

It’s often paired with a shameful finger shaking, or maybe even the job postings page from the local newspaper.

And the truth is, you’ve probably spent at least a few dinner conversations defending yourself from its accusatory glare. Because we all know it’s not being served up as a compliment.

No, if you’re entitled, you’re probably also lazy. You think the world owes you something. You expect the dream job (and the new company car that comes with it). You deserve a raise after three months spent doing the job you were hired to do.

But what if the word “entitled” had a different meaning?

What if it meant refusing to work a job you hate for 10 years, despite being told repeatedly you need to “pay your dues?” What if it meant declining to spend decades of your life driving in rush hour traffic everyday, and sitting at a desk from 9 to 5 for no clear reason other than the fact your boss told you to do it? What if it meant refusing to believe freedom is something you only achieve upon retirement?

What if it meant you simply demanded something better? A better approach. A better career. A better life.  

The truth is, being an entitled millennial is not so bad.

Yes, you believe you deserve that raise. But you find a way to earn it. You work extra hard, you build relationships, you bring new ideas to the table. And if your boss doesn’t recognize your efforts, you quit your job and go get that raise yourself, as an entrepreneur.

I’m not saying you don’t have to work hard to find success. But you don’t need to feel miserable for years, putting in your time so you can finally buy some freedom (and happiness).

I know this firsthand. Almost one year ago, I quit my job with the steady paycheck in order to explore my passion full-time. It has been far from easy. But I also haven’t once regretted my decision to take ownership of my life.

Mondays are no longer something to dread; they’re something to look forward to. I wake up everyday knowing I get to do work I love, with people who inspire me.

I’m not suggesting you walk up to your boss tomorrow and quit your job. I’m just saying you shouldn’t be afraid to feel a little entitled every now and then.

Here’s how I define an entitled millennial:

  1. You understand the importance of being present.

You’re not working for a life you’ll achieve 10 years from now, you’re working so you can live it – and enjoy it – right now.  

  1. You understand the YOLO mentality doesn’t have to mean maxing out your credit card on a night at the bar. Instead, it could mean eating Kraft Dinner for a month (or six) so you can build your career around your life instead of building your life around your career.
  1. You aren’t going to let anyone else tell you how to live your life. You’re tired of conforming to the rigid boundaries of the traditional corporate world. You want something more. And you understand the only person who can make the change is you.



5 Responses

  1. Really appreciated this insight. I was getting tired of the past generation calling us “entitled.” They fail to see how the political and social realities of the 60s to the 90s (in which they were agents of) has created a large burden on us, including amounting national debt, climate change and change in employment landscape (full time positions turning into part time positions) to name a few. So thank you for this piece Ms. Ottaway 🙂

    1. Thanks for the comment Surinder! I figured it was time to turn the name-calling stereotypes around and create something positive out of it. What’s so wrong with going after what we want (and what we feel we deserve)? The difference between our perspective and the negative judgments reported in the media is that we’re absolutely willing to do the work required for making our dreams come true.

  2. What I gage from belonging to this generation is an increased self-awareness with regards to time. I would argue that we do in some ways still think for the future, building our lives and careers, but we also merge this with an increasing spontaneity, an insistence to still stay within the present by enjoying our life each day at a time. There is less of a reliance on planning in the modern era, perhaps this is because we are able to arrange things whenever we like at a quicker time, through the power of social media and the digital age. Perhaps our biggest downfall however is our tendency to stay within the past, to constantly share Buzzfeed Articles about our nostalgia from the 90s, to whine and complain about those who came before us. Are we truly building on the past in the best way, or are we limiting ourselves and refusing to grow up?

  3. I’ve read this with a grin on my face – not because I’m dismissive of your feelings – but because all through my life, I and my peers have had the same finger-wagging for being ‘one of those baby-boomers who’ve never had it so good’…
    So by all means go for it. Life your life as you would want to, so long as you are mindful of other folks and ensure your choices don’t injure anyone else. But don’t be surprised if down the line, the generation below you are berating you and your contemporaries for being down on them for wanting to do things their own way. Happy New Year, by the way…

  4. Kudos! I enjoyed reading your article. I am a baby-boomer. I am also a life coach. I support people who want to live out their values. I think it’s great to stop allowing corporations to run your life. So many are completely unhappy and even miserable
    in their work but won’t take the leap into the unknown. I have “friends ” who have never understood decisions I have made to leave unhealthy environments after trying to improve things. I do not regret my moves. I got freer and freer with each transition. I applaud you and like-minded millenials. I pray that each coming generations steps up to improve/change systems of the previous generation.

    I am co-author of a life-changing book -THE CHANGE: Insights into self empowerment BOOK 3. see Amazon

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