Beware Of The Red Carpet Syndrome
November 21, 2023
“I’m really smart. I’m talented. I work hard. And I’m graduating from a top university. So why shouldn’t I get the best breaks? And why do you keep pushing me as if I am not doing enough?” My son sometimes snaps at me when I challenge him to take on some real-life projects.
Unfortunately, many of us grow up believing that if we score well in our school/college, we’ll have a promising career. Then, we think that if we do good work, we’ll rise to the top automatically.
There is a funky term to describe this attitude. It’s called the Red Carpet Syndrome, which represents the sense of entitlement that comes not from wealth or lineage but from merit. Yes, even merit can lead to entitlement—I deserve the breaks because I am so smart !!
Here’s what I remind my son often (whenever I feel he is under the influence of the red carpet syndrome 🙂
Look beyond academics:Your academic merit is merely a signaling device that will help you get access to the right people. It will not get you the break you seek. For you to get the right breaks what matters more is how you have applied your theoretical knowledge to do some practical stuff. So, commit time to pursue practical projects.
Experiment, try new stuff, and don’t be afraid of failing: The job you like is not waiting for you. You will discover what you like only through trial and error—try different fields, learn about new subjects, and find your space. In this process, you will fail many times. It’s ok.
Don’t just work hard; work smart too: Competition is intense everywhere. If you desire the best breaks, you must demonstrate how you can be a valuable asset for anyone looking to hire you. Your value is not in your knowledge but in your overall personality- your work ethic, communication skills, problem-solving mindset, attitude, etc. So get out of books and develop a personality that screams value.