As a trio, they’re entirely unpleasant. These are human qualities that often show up together. People with strong feelings of entitlement expect everyone else to smooth the way for them. They underestimate the scale and value of work other people do, tending to only see their own role, or their entitlement to have that done for them. Often they do not understand what’s involved in getting a job done and they do not care to find out, leaving it to others to work out how to round up their unicorns for them.
There’s a great deal of this visible in British politics at the moment. Especially around Brexit. Little things like not really grasping we’re an island, or the importance of lorries bringing food from abroad. But when you’re rich enough not to have to worry whether you can afford to eat, why would that matter? Being ignorant of the harm done to people doesn’t worry those who consider themselves more important and entitled to better than average.
What can we do? Most of us can only consider such issues on the personal scale. Check yourself first – because that’s always the right place to start. Are you properly aware of who is working on your behalf? Especially unpaid work in the domestic sphere. How do you treat the people who work for you? The waiting staff, the bus drivers, the receptionists and all the other working people you might encounter regularly? Do you treat them with respect? Do you trust them to know what’s possible and what isn’t? Do you hide behind ignorance when that’s convenient to you or do you square up to learning from other people?
If you’re dealing with someone who is arrogant, entitled and ignorant, what do you do? It may be worth trying to educate them – they won’t thank you for it and they may become hostile but if you’ve got the resources, it is worth a go. In some situations a work to rule approach is best. Do exactly what’s in your job description and contract, and nothing more. Do exactly what they tell you to do – but get it in writing first. If they ask you to work longer, tell them you are expecting overtime. It isn’t always easy to resist being used and bullied, but it is worth a go, and entitled people will use you remorselessly if they can get away with it. It can be helpful to remember that if something isn’t ethical, it isn’t ethical having it done to you, and that saying no is about more than protecting your own wellbeing. If you are the kind of person who finds it hard to hold boundaries and protect yourself, doing it as an ethical choice to also try and protect others can feel easier.
And don’t vote them back into positions of power come election time.