What happened to responsibility?

"So maybe I don't have all the qualifications, I'm perfect for that job! I don't understand why that stupid company won't give me an interview!"
"I've been here over 10 years. I should be promoted!"
"I should be given a raise, too. I've been here longer."
"Why can't the company give me money for tuition and let me take some classes on company time. Don't they want me to better myself?"
"I'm not getting ahead because I won't play this company's foolish political games."

Lately, I've been reminded of the "e" word, whenever I hear comments like these. Entitlement. What ever happened to the other "e" word- "Earn"?

Somehow, we have begun to lose track of whose responsibility it is to achieve our own goals. There's a lot of finger pointing going on and none of it seems to be pointed at our own chests.

In the June 18, 1990 "U.S. News and World Report," author John Leo writes about this age of excuses in his article "The It's-Not-My-Fault Syndrome." He sites examples of former role models such as Pete Rose, who blames pathological gambling and Marion Barry, who blames his disease- and the government for persecuting him. In the courts, he says we have the "Twinkie defense (sugar made him kill)...anabolic-steroid defense (a bodybuilder was suffering from "organic personality syndrome" when he burned down three homes and stole cash and jewelry.)...We have computer addiction, caffeinism, inhalant dependence." all of which made these hapless victims of their own addictions blameless for their crimes.

What's going on here? This madness is spreading to the workplace. Those of us who take responsibility for our own weaknesses and screw-ups are getting tired of those who don't.

To make sure you aren't a victim of It's-not-my fault Syndrome, take stock of yourself:

·        When you apply for jobs within the company, do you jump at every job that is available, without giving much thought to how you qualify or what your goal is? If you don't know what you want, you can't blame others for not being able to figure it out for you.

·        Do you feel that you deserve a raise because you've been there "long enough"? Or, have you analyzed what you do, how well you do it and what your contribution is, and determined that your worth to the company has gone up?

·        If you're applying for jobs with other companies, do you have one resume and one cover letter that you send to every company? Or, do you take time to research these companies, tailor your approach and then network to make inside contacts?

·        Do you blame your company for your lack of advancement or do you ask your boss for honest performance feedback and advice about how to be more promotable in your organization?

·        When you interview for a new job, do you wait for the interviewer to ask the right questions, or are you prepared with examples of your accomplishments and questions of your own?

·        If you are fired, do you complain bitterly for months about the unfairness of your situation and then blame your continuing unemployment on your age, your weight, your former boss, your location? Or, do you put the situation behind you, identify your barriers, play up your strengths and take steps to create a new future?

It's easy to be seduced by this blame game but you will end up the loser. Taking responsibility for your own performance and career takes character and maturity...exactly the traits that will help you move ahead.

Joan Lloyd is a Milwaukee based executive coach and organizational & leadership development strategist. She is known for her ability to help leaders and their teams achieve measurable, lasting improvements. Joan Lloyd & Associates, specializes in leadership development, organizational change and teambuilding, providing: executive coaching, CEO coaching & leader team coaching, 360-degree feedback processes, retreat facilitation and presentation skill coaching and small group labs. Contact Joan Lloyd & Associates at (414) 573-1616, mailto:info@joanlloyd.com, or www.JoanLloyd.com 
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