Ask Dr. Job’s chief contributor, Sandra Pesmen, is a member of the Chicago Journalism Hall of Fame and author of “DR. JOB’s Complete Career Guide.”

Winner of several journalism awards, Pesmen is a graduate of the University of Illinois Media College at Urbana, and is listed in several Who’s Who editions. She also has been Corporate Features Editor of Crain Communications Inc., founding Features Editor of Crain’s Chicago Business and a reporter/features writer for The Chicago Daily News.

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Hey--You're Not Entitled

If there’s one clear message in Brian Russell’s new book,, “Stop Moaning, Start Owning: How entitlement is Ruining America and How Personal Responsibility Can Fix It,” it’s that our society has gone off track, and his ideas can help fix it.  

The host of Fatal Vows on Investigation Discovery, Russell contends we have reached an “age of entitlement” and in many ways Americans lack personal responsibility and that must change in order to be happy, emotionally and psychologically healthy.

He claims forms of moaning prevalent in American culture today are moaning about unhappiness, moaning about unfulfilled material wants, and moaning about accountability for behavior. These moans stem from the idea that pursuit of happiness allows someone to search for happiness in spite of  others' feelings. This mindset leads to addictions, suicides, divorce, and even extreme violence. By addressing the common excuses "But I'm not happy!”, "But I want ___!”, "But it's not my fault!” Russell is able to portray the darker side of American society. This is crucial to understanding how society in America is crumbling. He also claims Americans have grown to believe they are entitled to anything and everything they want, as well as feeling that such desires are owed to them. Ultimately, Russell traces the origins of moaning in all its forms to Americans being self-centered and self-entitled. Before embarking upon this literary adventure, the very title of the book, Stop Moaning, Start Owning foreshadows the conclusion that moaning is a terrible trait and that Americans ought to “own” instead.

He defines  "own” as assuming personal responsibility. That means Americans need to own their happiness, the fulfillment of their material needs and wants, and their behavior in this life rather than projecting that responsibility outward. To "own” is to realize that changing our lives for the better generally begins with changing ourselves. This change is broken down into two steps:


First there needs to be personal responsibility for the things happening in one's life. Second,  feel gratitude.


The power of gratitude can have astonishing effects, Russell, a clinical psychologist and lawyer, believes. He says those two steps will allow Americans to get back on track and discover happiness without causing damaging effects to society.


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