Co-workers say these divas take over the office

Publication: Cincinnati Enquirer (OH)

Section: Careers - The Daily Grind

May 30, 2007

John Eckberg - Cincinnati Enquirer

Princesses star in the animated film "Shrek the Third," which took in $122 million in box office revenues on the first weekend of its release.

But the big screen is not the only place where princesses rule.

Half of all offices and workplaces have them - people who feel entitled to special projects, entitled to their own timetable, entitled to almost everything anytime they want it."

Princesses of both genders have quite a grip on the American workplace in 2007.

A survey earlier this year from Rachelle Canter, author of the executive career handbook "Make the Right Career Move," (Wiley; 2007), found that just under half of American workers -- 48 percent -- say there is a Workplace Princess at their job site.

And what exactly is a Workplace Princess? Essentially, it's a co-worker with an inflated sense of privilege or entitlement.

According to the survey of 506 adults, which is accurate to plus or minus 5 percentage points, 48 percent of Workplace Princesses expect special favors from employers; 47 percent believe they are being treated unfairly; 35 percent make other people do their work for them.

Women do not have a monopoly on job entitlement either, according to the survey.

One of every six workers, about 16 percent, believes that the Workplace Princess on their job is a man.

"The question becomes: What's in our culture that enables princesses to thrive?" said Canter, a San Francisco-based executive and career coach.

"To me, the princess, whether male or female, is a narcissist. They think it's all about me. It's always how great am I, and what have you done for me lately."

To find out if you are one, answer these questions:

  • Do most of your questions begin with "I want" or "I need"?
  • When things go wrong, do you blame the situation and other people?
  • Do you know the career goals of your friends and co-workers or only your own?

"You see workplace princesses in the C-Suite and on the factory floor," said Canter, a San Francisco-based executive and career coach.

The poll was conducted through Opinion Research Inc. of Princeton, N.J., in March.

Those who recognize themselves as workplace princesses can take steps to change their ways:

  • Listen carefully to others in order to understand - not to respond. "A world of Me First deteriorates the quality of life for everybody," Canter said.
  • Do something that does not lead to personal gain.
  • Increase the number of times you say in a week these five simple words: How can I help you?

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