ENTITLED DEPENDENCE

June 25, 2017


I’m generally a little behind the curve relative to changes in social phenomena.  I suspect this is due to my age and the fact that I’m just not that savvy with Social Media such as Face Book, Instagram, Snap Chat, etc etc.  I do have a Face Book account and LinkedIn account but do not spend that much time on either.  Social Media can be a “black hole” time-wise so I try to avoid sitting behind my computer hour-after-hour telling people I don’t even know what’s “shaking”.  It’s just me.  (Please note: I’m not critical of those who choose to participate.  That’s their deal and who am I to tell anyone what to do?  I do acknowledge is great to communicate and I do so with a limited number of friends and family.)  With that being the case, I came upon a new “trend” in social activity called the “Peter Pan” Syndrome or “entitled dependence”.

In many countries, the phenomenon is so widespread that other new terms have developed to describe it: bamboccioni [literally, big babies] in Italy, [living at] “hotel mama” in Germany, boomerang children in Australia, parasaito shinguru [single parasite] in Japan. These young men and women don’t leave home and don’t get married, because they only want to buy brand names and enjoy themselves and to live, as an ideology, at their parents’ expense. It’s nothing less than a pandemic.  My generation always said, “I can’t wait till the kids leave home and the dog dies”.  Maybe that’s not always the case anymore.

Psychologist Professor Haim Omer describes the world-wide phenomenon of a dependence on parents that doesn’t stop.  For the past few years psychologists have been dealing with a new social phenomenon, they sometimes call “entitled dependence.” Instead of leaving home to embark on an independent life, young adults remain dependent on their parents, not only asking for but actually demanding benefits from them.  Please note: the term “young adults” is used to describe this trend in living.  We are talking about twenty to early thirties age wise.  If we look at the manifestations, we see the following:

  • An unwillingness to get working or stay working when you’re not motivated. If you’re only willing to work hard when you feel like it, you won’t feel like it often enough. Working hard must be something you do; it’s not a decision to make. It’s foundational. The American work ethic is legendary.  We work hard in this country to the point that sometimes we are criticized for being “workaholics”.
  • Dabbling:being unwilling to stay focused on becoming sufficiently expert at anything. Brilliant people can achieve excellence in many areas but most people can’t. (This also is a new term to me.  I’m sure it’s in the Oxford Dictionary of the English Language 😊.)
  • Networking aversion. Not having taken the time to develop the deep connections with the right people that, alas, often are needed to land and succeed at a good job. You must admit, having a good, if not great, network of professional people and friends can be the key to landing a good if not great job.  That’s just the way it works.
  • Betting on longshot dreams: becoming a self-supporting actor, artist, documentary filmmaker, sports marketer, environmental activist, fashion executive, etc. Yes, obviously, some people have achieved such goals but unless you are unusually talented and driven (ideally with great connections,) your chances are small. Yet some people cling to their longshot dream, sometimes as an excuse for not doing the work required to launch a more realistic career.  I came to the conclusion some time ago that I’m not Jack Welch, Bill Gates, Jeff Bezos, Mark Zuckerberg, etc. I’m a blue-collar engineer—a worker.
  • Abusing alcohol or drugs. Enough said on this one.
  • Blaming your failure on something your parents, spouse, or former employer did to you. Many people who were terribly abused–including, for example, many survivors of the Holocaust or of Japanese internment camps–did just fine. You’ve probably suffered a lot less. Unless you suffer from a severe physiologically caused mental illness, you too can probably triumph over your past. You can look at politicians, both Republicans, Democrats and Independents to see the “blame game” is in full flower.  (OK, I do not know why Hillary is not president.)
  • Doing an insufficiently thorough job search.Here’s what a thorough job search looks like: identifying 50 people not advertising an on-target job but with the power to hire you for your target job or create one for you, and you not only pitch yourself to them but make the effort to build a relationship with them over months. You must also regularly contact your extended personal network to get leads and build the relationship, have a good LinkedIn profile, craft many top-of-the-heap job applications, including collateral material such as a white paper, a portfolio, and substantive follow-ups after job interviews, for example, a mini business plan describing what you’d do if hired.

Now, let’s face facts—things in life are sometimes uncontrollable.  We just do not know when issues arise that need to be handled by caring parents or grandparents.  Our family is now a case in point.  Our oldest son recently had a very serious medical condition.  We are taking care of our oldest grandson and will be taking care of our oldest son when he leaves therapy.  His care will continue the remainder of this year and into the 2018 year.  As parents and grandparents, we DID sign up for this.  This is what families do.  What I’m talking about here is a child’s unwillingness to engage society. Wanting to live a life of relative ease with no vision for the future with minimum stress and anxiety.  If you work for a living, no matter what the job, that life is not available to you on an on-going basis.  It ain’t going to happen.  Stress can certainly be a good thing in moderation.  It motivates us to succeed although too much can even be life-threatening.

As always, I welcome your comments.

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