Monday, February 18, 2008

Does nepotism work? Discuss.

Over on The Urban Woo (see link in blogroll), there's a raging discussion about nepotism.

What are your feelings on this matter?

Personally, I think if you've got contacts, you should use them, and don't be ashamed of it. But if you discover you're unsuited to a particular industry, then get out sharpish.

I know this because it happend to me.

When I very first moved to London, I got a commission-only job in the financial services sector for a bunch of charlatans who basically kept all your money for 13 months, knowing it was unlikely you could survive that long without any cash coming in. And that was if you'd sold anything at all. Needless to say, I lasted about five weeks.

So my Dad stepped into help me out of a hole. He worked abroad, but there was a London office. And guess what? He got me a job selling classified ad space to farmers. I didn't want it, but instead of going out and getting a shop job or something else entirely, I just blithely went along with it, knowing it wasn't for me, but too idle to do anything about it.

There were only three other people in the office - my boss, his deputy and the PA. Apart from the PA, the other two were foul to me. They treated me like I was a spy, accusing me of feeding back everything to my dad. I wasn't of course, and I hated the job with every fibre of my being. I was off sick loads, watching 15-to-1 as the sun went down.

I was not cut out for sales. I sold one tiny ad in three months. I couldn't tell my dad because he did his best to encourage me, while badgering me to buck up and sell more. By December, news came that the office was closing. It was a huge relief.

But also by this time I'd won my workmates round, and were all good friends, bitching about the same people in our sister offices and all on the same side. So when the time came, we were all ready to move on.

After this, Dad kept putting me in touch with people for careers in banking or insurance. I had zero interest in either sector and in the end I just had to tell him, thanks but no thanks. I got a job in a bookshop instead, and from thereon, my life changed for the better. And I did it under my own steam.

So what I'm saying is, if you think you want to do what dad does, then go for it. But if it's a lazy means to an end, think again!


Roman Empress said...

I think it makes a mockery of the term 'meritocracy' which we've been sold as a bit of a lie. Of course nobody believes in 'meritocracy' anymore which is largely due to the fact it doesn't often exist. People do do well under their own steam but it can be tough out there if your father is a policeman and your Mum is a nurse. It can be a long, contactless ride to get to where you're going after 4 years in university.

office pest said...

I've posted to AC's blog on this F-C so I won't repeat myself here (unless he mods it into the bin), except to say that media nepotism and undeserved patronage in general sickens me to my core and makes my head ache.

Now I'll stop, before my veins pop out again.

Matthew Rudd said...

After leaving college, I briefly worked at the same chemical company as my dad and was largely trated okay, even though the work wasn't for me (mixing oil).

One guy reckoned my dad has asked him to "make a man" of me, which was plainly bollocks. No, it was...