There are always memorable people in our lives, some good memories, some bad, or some people just make an impression on you. That would be several of the people with whom I went to college. One of them dressed to the nines every day in college, or at least in all of the classes that I had with the person. They were quite “preppy” looking and would have fit right in at Harvard or any other of the Ivy League schools. Where most college students aren’t dressed that well, this person never had a wrinkle or even signs of wear on their clothing. If they didn’t have money, they sure were looking like they did. They looked like they were going yachting after class. I never had them in some of the more difficult, intense classes, but maybe we were on different schedules.
Flash forward five years after graduation, and I’m a supervisor in a service company, driving a truck sometimes. I forget the publication, but there was my fellow well-dressed student who was profiled in it, now a lobbyist. We had the same degree. I went to driving trucks, they went to become a lobbyist. It appears that one of the family was a patent attorney. Maybe that had something to do with it.
Fast forward a few decades. I graduate, again, and his person and I have same degree, but hardly get any interviews. One of my cohorts has an important position in one of the larger local firms. I don’t so much as interview with this firm, except I did get a call from them for a temporary substitute job, that they never called back on. The person that I graduated with has a position that, internet searches reveal, the median compensation is between $51,840 to $63,242 per year.
I know college graduates with degrees that should be valuable, that are operating vehicles. The pay is alright, but it appears very little of their college training could be said to be used in their present position. The university gave me the impression that the college degree would open many doors, and that my education would be valuable. It seems that, for the aforementioned people, college was just an admission ticket to a job that was already made for them. The same goes for several institutions that I know (and have applied to) that are only interested in legacies, and if none of your family worked there before you applied, your chances of getting in are slim.
Is all of this “global economy” talk just a rationalization for people who don’t know anyone or aren’t related to anyone, to calm them down and insist that their plight is just an economic phenomenon? If so, what was college for, when the positions that paid handsome salaries were already reserved for those with connections? Do the Human Resource people who actively participate, in fact facilitate this favoritism, realize that pedigree and cronyism may not be yielding the best and the brightest? More importantly, is the United State losing its global competitiveness not because it does not have the best and the brightest, but because the more qualified are simply rejected in favor of someone with connections? Is all of this “objectivity” just a façade for a rigged game? We already know that certain economic players are protected by the government, that's an open secret.
Was C. Wright Mills, who in 1956, wrote the book “The Power Elite” correct when he detailed and explained that “the interwoven interests of the leaders of the military, corporate, and political elements of society and suggests that the ordinary citizen is a relatively powerless subject of manipulation by those entities” and, really, unless you’re part of the “in crowd” your chances of moving ahead are slim to none?
I have previously pointed out that we’ve been in a global economy since the year 1620. Is the real talent of this economy sitting on the sidelines, driving trucks and buses, mopping floors, while those who are qualified and sacrificed a substantial part of their youth, not to mention a small fortune in an education that is not recognized, not because of qualifications, but because of pedigree and connections? Choosing the right person for the job is not a matter of knowing them, at least I didn’t think so, but as time passes I am more and more convinced that the opportunities are going not to the qualified, but to the connected. I think our economy is showing this more and more, and the people who are claiming to be professional and objective are spending their time rationalizing why they are turning away talent in favor of association. This is depreciating professionalism, or so it seems to me.