I recently had a conversation with a friend who was unhappy with his job. Over drinks he explained in great detail how he felt that he had been passed over for a promotion, wasn’t being paid enough, and didn’t see the opportunities on the horizon that he felt he deserved.
I was actively listening, trying hard to only acknowledge and ask questions—not agree, disagree, or offer advice. After all, he didn’t come to me asking me to solve his problems. He came to complain, and that’s ok. We all need to exhale once in a while.
I’ll admit, it wasn’t easy. In truth, I had a number of thoughts on how he could improve his situation. I’m rarely without at least one opinion on a subject. However, Dale Carnegie teaches us that it’s one thing to politely offer constructive criticism when it’s asked for; it’s another thing to correct someone (even when they’re wrong!) if they didn’t ask for your opinion in the first place.
The conversation did get me thinking though, mainly about the subject of entitlement. So many people feel that they deserve things in life. Why? The universe owes us nothing. The fact that we are alive, here, and able to think about these things at all is spectacularly amazing. We really aren’t entitled to any sort of success. Anything we receive in life without working very hard for it is a gift and should be truly appreciated. Anything we earn in life as a result of our own hard work should be appreciate even more, because more often than not, hard work often goes completely unrecognized and unrewarded.
Very few people get the round of applause, the big fat check, or the simple “thank you” that they so richly deserve. Honestly, if you do find yourself with enough time to complain about the fact that you’re not being adequately recognized or rewarded, couldn’t that time be better spent working even harder toward your own success?