Labeling people is usually wrong, labeling large groups of people is nearly always wrong. There are no entitled generations.

My daughter posted a link to this article on Facebook. I find it interesting. First off because in the end the Millennials are not the most entitled generation, it is the generation after them. Oh and by the way there will come a time when that transitions to the next generation.

Let’s first off argue the reality of the world entitled. What are we in effect saying? Are we saving life is easier for entitled people or rather that they believe it should be easier. The first one isn’t true. Regardless of your skills and station in life there are things that cause pain. Those things don’t hurt less or more they hurt the same. If in the end it is the second piece, that life owes them something then you may have an argument.

My father was much better with tools and his hands than I ever was. My grandfather was better with tools than my father ever was. My great-grandfather was better than either of the next two generations. He was a finish carpenter his entire life. As our society has evolved we have moved away from as many people doing manual labor. Therefore if we simply take the reality of digging a ditch as a measure in fact every generation for the past two hundred years is more entitled than the last.

The article argues that in fact there are fewer jobs. Actually that is why the Millennial’s are considered to be entitled. There are jobs they just don’t pay as well. It is a sad reality of our economy that we have a multi-tier system. The system has a number of injustices in it, one of which is the value and need for experience. Millennial’s are starting business’ and seeking that get rich quick scheme. There are many more Millennial’s I work with when I help Kickstarter and Indiegogo campaigns. Crowd funded innovation is really something that the Millennial generation has embraced and well effectively driven. The average age of people I work with when I help campaigns is 25.

So in looking at that desire to be “better than minimal wage jobs” the older folks consider that entitled. As an older folk, I can say I did take the minimum wage job. But I always knew I was better than the job I had. It was the impetus for me to strive for more and do better. I left a guaranteed job once so that I could make a better life for my family. So in the end I understand that push and drive. I don’t think the Millennial Generation is entitled. I think the economy and the world has changed around us and we are still applying old rules.

Based on the old rules my generation (baby boomers barely) Gen Y, Gen X and Millennial’s are all entitled. Based on the new economy where people are paid for what they know and how they can apply what they know to solve problems for other people we aren’t entitled we simply live and work in a different time and economy.

Entitlement was originally used to describe someone who believes the world owes them a free ride. I don’t see that in any generation. I don’t see people of the age Millennial sitting in parks waiting for handouts and demanding that the world pay for them to relax. I see them in crowd funding campaigns trying to do things differently. The story of Horatio Alger is as much an American Dream as the freedoms guaranteed in our constitution. In the end they are no different than any generation that preceded and any that follows. They live within the box we have created and are headed towards.

No more or less entitled than anyone else.


Scott Andersen

IASA Fellow.