It’s understandable for college grads to be disappointed in today’s competitive job market. Though education is important, many college grads are lacking the professional experience needed to gain a place in the working world. College students spend about four years mastering a subject, knowing the ins and outs of it, its history and its future.
However, feeling like you deserve a position that takes years of working experience to get isn’t healthy, and it’s this kind of sense of entitlement that hurts a lot of new grads in their job search.
According to a recent study reported in the Daily Mail, psychologist Jean Twenge and her partners found that there’s been a high increase in overly-confident students in: the academic arena, their will to achieve, mathematical abilities, and self-love over the past four decades. It was also found that these high opinions of themselves did not correlate with their actual abilities – which, as you can already guess, explains why many college grads aren’t suited for a lot of positions.
The article went on to note that this “ambition inflation” in college students can result in depression later in life due to “unrealistic expectations.”
But where does this feeling come from? How does it develop? According to Psychology Today, a sense of entitlement can happen as early as one’s adolescence. The article states that when a child becomes “strong-willed,” a mindset coined “the conditional shift” happens.
In an interview with psychologist and author of, Surviving Your Child’s Adolescence: How to Understand, and Even Enjoy, the Rocky Road To Independence, Carl Pickhardt, says that ‘the conditional shift’ happens when a person, usually a strong-willed one, believes their wants to be entitlements. “The shift occurs when ‘It’s what I want’ is shifted into a condition ‘It’s what I should get.’” said Pickhardt. “So when denied, the person doesn’t get disappointed, they get angry.”
This may be why some college students end up depressed or with anxiety issues in their adulthood. Not having those particular wants, in this case professional wants, could also explain why some college students feel like some jobs are beneath them, because they’ve spent years trying to earn their degree, but have no professional experience.
This only makes the job seeking process more stressful. If you’ve graduated and you have to make ends meet somehow, it’s okay to take the waitress job or the cashier job. It isn’t a reflection of what you studied in college, it just means this is what you have to do for awhile until better opportunities come along. Taking these jobs and feeling underemployed only strengthens your sense of entitlement and we all know where those types of feelings lead.
Steven Rothberg, President and Founder of CollegeRecruiter.com, believes that very few college students have a sense of entitlement. However, for the college students or graduates who do have an unrealistic ambition inflation, a way to help potential employers see that they don’t have inflated egos, is for the college graduate to accept the fact that there are plenty benefits in entry-level positions and make it a point to express the understanding of those benefits to employers during interviews.
“A student who is offered an internship should understand that a good internship will provide them with significant practical experience and that student should tell the potential employer that part of the reason they want that internship is that it will help that student do better work for that employer not just during the internship but in the years after graduation,” said Rothberg.
While completing your goals of having a higher education are important and better in the long-run for a career, it’s not the ultimate guarantee to landing your dream job. You’ve exited a world that not a lot of people are privileged to enter, and at the same time you’re also entering a different world after you’ve graduated college–one that takes a lot of hard work, time, and humility to master.
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