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Saturday, February 24, 2024

Nobody Owes you a Pay Rise (or anything else)

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Waiting for a handout? How about doing something more useful

There is an inbuilt sense of entitlement that pervades many young lawyers today.  I’d like to say that it’s probably not your fault – but it is.  It’s your fault because you’ve allowed yourself to fall into the habit of expecting things to be done for you.

It comes out in a number of ways, and is always untrue.

You’re Not Entitled to Anything

You’re not entitled to a pay rise.

Your firm does not owe you better quality work.

You shouldn’t expect to work in a different work group, or for a different partner.

You’re not even owed a thank you for a job well done.

These things might be desirable, but you are not entitled to them as a matter of course.  It’s the process of waiting for these handouts which prevents many young lawyers from stepping up to the plate early in their careers.

Instead of taking bold action, calculated risks and taking advantage of opportunity, the result is that we spend our time and energy wondering how we can maneuver ourselves into a position to get the next handout.  In effect – we’re just waiting for permission to do anything, ever.

I know it was me.  And I suspect it’s you too.

That Doesn’t Mean you get Stepped On

So what does that mean?  Should we put up with sub standard treatment?  Should we give up on our aspirations?


But neither should we let negative or non existent provision from others be the driving force behind our decisions and our careers.  Instead we should change the question, and in doing so raise the bar.

Change your Sense of Entitlement into Something Better

Flip the sense of entitlement on its head – instead of you being entitled, trying thinking about this: you owe the world something.

You have been graced with life, a brain, a body.  You breath air that you did not create.  You consume water and food that was put here for you.  What are you going to give back?

Once you are focused outwards, not inwards – your sense of entitlement will disappear and you will find yourself able to do more.  To take risks.  To stop complaining.  To emotionally engage with your work.

I don’t owe you anything.

But I’m happy to give to you what I can.

What are you going to give?

Happy Lawyering!

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