… the HR Minion. Because even minions have opinions. And giggles.


Usually one of my biggest complaints about high maintenance employees is that they have a sense of entitlement. They expect the world to bend to their needs and get whiny when it doesn’t. They expect to be treated like superstars for simply doing their jobs, never mind going above and beyond. And no, I’m not ragging on Gen Y. I’ve meet many Gen X and Baby Boomers who fall into this mentality as well. The worst offenders are the ones who actually do good work most of the time, which unfortunately only reinforces their perception of being special.

As you can imagine, this drives me nuts as an HR Pro because these are usually the people who cause extra work for me. Either I have to sit in on disciplinary action because they don’t think the rules apply to them, or I have to investigate their special requests because, well, they are special dammit! Makes me want to carry around a special whacking stick or something.

However, while I was reading Malcolm Gladwell’s newest book, Outliers, I found myself changing my mind, just a little. Gladwell makes a great point in the book that children who grew up with a sense of entitlement are learning how to interact with their environment in ways that will enable them to succeed later in life. They learn to ask questions, not be intimidated by authority, respect their own needs and ideas, and be willing stand on their own.

Good points all and very true. When it comes to succeeding in life, I would rather have employees who know how to take ownership over their own careers than passive employees who grumble but never do anything. So, to all you entitled punk monkeys out there, I’ll cut you a little slack. But only a little.

7 Responses | Add your Own

  • 1 Anonymous :

    Great Post!

  • 2 Anonymous :

    I’m glad to see that you’ve changed your mind a bit.

    I think it’s important to understand the difference between whining (entitlement) and true self confidence in what you do.

    In the beginning of my career I never felt I had the right to speak up or “ask” the right questions. It was my responsibility to listen and take direction. Did that well..unquestioning and learned a lot.

    I also got taken advantage of a lot in ways…that were not only demoralizing…sometimes they were downright abusive and harassing.

    I hope that as an HR professional you will see that your role is often one of the Crusader for Good! I just cringed at the thought that for one minute you felt people filing complaints were causing you more work.

    Be careful with flippant comments around a very serious reality in the workplace. Bullies, Haters, Hostile Intimidation, Sexual Harassment. These are VERY serious issues that many of those who you may have mistakenly called “entitled” fought very hard to push out in to the light of day. It took everything they had to bring a very embarrassing and challenging situation to you for help.

    Be careful with confusing entitlement with downright “sick” employees. These are not people who have the right to dominate…they need some professional help.

    HR used to be the heart of the organization…the protector of the dedicated…hard working, engaging employee. As well as an advocate for those who needed to seek help for their social issues causing them to harm others.

    It seems today that HR is only about processing people through the layoff and bringing behind them “kids” with no experience willing to be paid sub standard wages. And from your comment…they better not speak up and demand their rights as a valued human being…cause HR might be tasked with their original purpose…protecting that employee and their rights.

    I’m glad the book changed your mind…you sit in a place of honor with a very noble cause at the core of what you do. Please Be careful how you conduct yourself with what should be seen as an awesome responsibility.

  • 3 HR Good_Witch :

    Good post, Minion.

    I hear what Anonymous is saying – yes, we should not be complacent and allow our heavy workloads to distract us from the important stuff.

    Having said that, it is hard to deal with the entitlement-types. And, this is distinctly different from the serious issues that Anon mentions like harassment and bullying. I’m sure you weren’t referring to these situations.

    I’m thinking of the type that don’t see why they need to come in to work if traffic is bad. Or, why they can’t stay home with pay everytime their child is sick – even if that is every couple of weeks.

    I like your point – we need to step back and keep an open mind.

  • 4 talentedapps :

    I also really enjoyed the book and I agree with your point that in some cases these are skills that get people ahead. I also know that you are right that in a lot of cases these people are just over the top.

    One thing I wonder though is if there is something in *you* that needs to get in touch with her more assertive/demanding side to get more what she wants professionally?

    Just a guess, probably wrong.


  • 5 HR Minion :

    GenXpert – Thanks! 🙂

    Anon – Wow, thanks for the detailed response! That was a post itself. 🙂

    HR Good Witch – My mind is totally open, like way open. Except when people piss me off. Oh, wait…

    Talented Apps – That is an interesting idea and I think it’s dead on.

  • 6 Hayli @ Transition Concierge :

    Terrific post! I do think it’s important to keep an open mind because, like talentedapps said, you need to at least assess the person’s motives. If you really listen, their complaint may actually be less about them and more about the well-being of the organization as a whole.

  • 7 HR Minion :

    Hayli – Good point, thanks!