Competency versus Entitlement

I have a close friend who is going through a very difficult time. In fact, it’s been a near-constant crisis for him this last year. What further complicated matters happened about a week ago while watching the actions and inactions of some of his friends, which caused further drama, all based on ‘needless’ conflict. Watching the issues unfold I was overcome by a feeling I was watching a group of giggling and crying 14-year-old school girls. The embarrassing part was, they were all well into their mid-twenties… some even married. I was rather dumbfounded.

Learning how to resolve conflict usually requires a conscious effort to identify, confront and resolve matters, rather than relying on an instinctive reaction to confused or hurt feelings. It also requires
an objective view of people’s prejudice
and biases. This is a far more delicate issue to confront.

Some people have acquired a considerable resolve to influence a matter based on their prejudice mindset. They would rather promote one person over another based on something other than character or merit. They have created, in their own mind, a set of criteria that determines for them what is ‘just and fair’. Maybe the person they want has seniority; they financially need the promotion more than others or even work harder than their peers. Part of being objective doesn’t consider these bias or prejudice factors. In the end, a choice of promotion has to do with the person’s credibility, maturity and competence. Promotion doesn’t need to have anything to do with seniority or personal needs, or even how hard they have been working. These things are often found in a mature person but not always. Sometimes a hard-working ‘hungry/needy’ employee who has been doing their job longer than anyone else is simply not the right person (or mature enough) for the job.

Navigating crisis and drama require a disciplined and objective view of the circumstances. Often the more people advising on the situation, the less prejudice/bias can survive. Working in a diverse team setting (in theory) usually resolves the prejudice/bias element.

There is one factor in society that was not often promoted when I was growing up… ’entitlement’. There are some people who assume they are entitled to something just because they want it. It’s like they have minimal understanding of merit, maturity and earning their own way. If some people don’t get what they feel they are entitled to, they cry ‘unjust or unfair’… as if getting what THEY want at the expense of OTHERS is somehow magically ‘just and fair’. When I was growing up, we may have known people who thought that way (and sometimes expressed it), but society, in general, had much more common sense ingrained in it and we collectively looked down at that kind of behaviour. However, nowadays it’s common to hear insulting words and even false accusations slung around when people don’t get what they want. It’s like watching a four-year-old hold his breath and pound the floor in the cereal aisle because his mom won’t buy chocolate Co-Co Puffs. What’s really sad is watching a 25-year-old turn blue.

Last weekend I watched several U-tubes of Milton Friedman who was promoting his book ‘Free to Choose’ (highly recommended). He made a very stark statement… the free market isn’t fair; the free market provides equality of opportunity, not the equality of outcome. The free market isn’t prejudiced; it doesn’t recognize colour or ethnicity; it recognizes competency and results. In the real world, the free market doesn’t care about entitlement or personal feelings; it doesn’t even figure into the equation.

I hope the younger generation learns to understand the need for maturity and character soon. I think adults are tired of babysitting 25 year-olds. If someone wishes to become successful, they will have to learn this… it’s the way the world usually works.

About the Author:
Robert D. Scheper is a leading Accountant and Consultant to the Lease/Owner operator industry in Canada. His first book in the Making Your Miles Count series “taxes, taxes, taxes” was released in 2007. His firm exclusively serves Lease/Owner Operators across Canada. His second book “Choosing a Trucking company” is the most in-depth analysis of the operator industry available today. He has a Master degree (MBA) in financial management and has been serving the industry since he and his wife came off the road in 1993. His dedication, commitment and strong opinions can be read and heard in many articles and seminars.

You can find him and his books at or 1-877-987-9787. You can also e-mail him at

About Robert Scheper

Robert D Scheper operates an accounting and consulting firm in Steinbach, Manitoba. He has a Masters Degree in Business Administration and is the author of the Book “Making Your Miles Count: taxes, taxes, taxes” (now available on CD). You can find him at and or at 1-877-987-9787. You can e-mail him at: