When did who you know become more important than what you know?

I’m not naive. 

I understand that in the world there were those who were born to do great things, discover amazing oddities, travel into outer space, and there are those who were born to be nothing special at all. That’s not uncommon. There is always a flaw in the process, a chink in the armour or a weak point in the chain. In truth it doesn’t matter at all, all the parts come together and function as a whole, because even the weak link has a purpose.  

There was a time in the history of mankind when all you needed to be successful in life, was to be born into the right family. The only prerequisite to ruling a kingdom was a royal parent and a couple basic lessons in backstabbing and tyranny. Nepotism was, at the time, the only real means of getting of job security. 

In this ‘modern’ and ‘enlightened’ age shouldn’t we be past that? Shouldn’t the choice of who is more important to society be determined by their usefulness to society as a whole? Shouldn’t the man, or woman, with the best CV and resume get the job? I think so.

But apparently, I am wrong…

In my article about Honouring Nelson Mandela, I discussed the sense of entitlement many South Africans have adopted since the ending of Apartheid. The business world, the one place where you would think positions were decided based on merit has also become a victim in the entitlement game. Positions are no longer earned through hard work, qualifications and years of experience. They are instead given to those who know the most influential people. 

So, how do you solve a problem that is so entrenched American bunker busters couldn’t even shake them? A problem so rampant that politicians barely even bother to hide their tracks. I don’t really know the answer. I thought that total clarity could be an option, but since employers don’t bother hiding their nepotism what would be the point? 

Conversely, I understand that some people need a ‘leg-up’ in life. That without the metaphorical kick in the shorts, the careers of many people would never even begin. My problem is that there is no balance between experience/skills and connections. Blood doesn’t now, and never will define a great king so why shouldn’t the same principle be the same of an employee?

As I said I have no long term solution to Nepotism in a corrupt environment like what we have in South Africa. So I’d like some input on the situation if you have any experience with Nepotism in the workplace.





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