Entering industries using ‘connections’ unethical
Students need to go about landing jobs the hard way in order to allow the most qualified to fill the
Published: Monday, March 11, 2013
Updated: Monday, March 11, 2013 18:03
I don’t know anyone “important.” I never have.
OK, let me rephrase that—I know a lot of people, but I don’t know anyone holding powerful positions who could give me a leg up on others when I apply for jobs.
I’m not the daughter of a congressman and I’m not the girlfriend of a Fortune 500 CEO’s son. My dad isn’t a millionaire and my sister’s best friend isn’t an executive at NBC. My mom isn’t a famous doctor and her friends aren’t on the Real Housewives of anywhere. My grandpa didn’t start a steel company and my friends don’t grace the pages of Vogue. I’m just me.
I work hard in school, look for internships and job opportunities, read the newspaper and enjoy trashy celebrity gossip sometimes. I shamelessly watch “Keeping Up with the Kardashians” and orange juice tastes terribly to me after I brush my teeth. In a way, I am like you, and you are probably like me too.
In Nicholas Sparks’ “The Notebook,” he wrote, “I am no one special. Just a common man with common thoughts. I’ve led a common life.” That’s what I am. I’m a common girl. I’m special to some people, but to most, I’m just another face they walk by on the street. And I’m OK with that.
However, what is not okay with me is how some people are offered opportunities just because they know the right people. It is not okay that after all my hard work, a congressman’s daughter gets the job I wanted. It is not okay that my resume gets lost in a stack of papers because the company already knows it is going to pick the boss’s daughter. It is not okay that so many of us “normal” people are overlooked every day because someone else has better connections.
I get it. The job market is a difficult place to enter at the moment and there’s a shortage of jobs. I probably sound bitter complaining about all of this but before you stop reading, let me get to my point.
Just because your parents might know someone influential does not make you any more qualified for a position. If you are dating someone from a wealthy family, it does not mean you deserve any special privileges. It means that my hard work and dedication get overlooked because you happened to fall into the “right” family with all the “right” connections.
I’ll be the first to admit it—sometimes having connections might seem nice. How could they not? But it’s the easy way out of living a fulfilling life. Connections are the “get out of jail free” card in life. No one wants to accomplish our goals the hard way, but life isn’t as satisfying without the struggle. It’s like John F. Kennedy once said, “Those who dare to fail miserably can achieve greatly.” Failing miserably is half the experience. It feels bad for the time being—you’ll cry, eat a little too much, drink way too much, but in the end you’ll be better off having failed a few times, because it’s a learning experience.
I don’t want those connections. I do not need someone with a fat bank account to get my job for me. I want to do it the old-fashioned way and get it myself. Maybe it will be hard and maybe it will take me a long time, but I would rather go to bed sleeping on a twin cot eating Ramen noodles knowing in my heart that I’m working as hard as I can to get to the top. And while you’re sleeping in your Pottery Barn-esque bedroom eating your quinoa and fresh filet mignon, just know there are thousands of us starting from the bottom, clawing our way up to the top. We will be where you are one day, and we will actually deserve it.
Let’s all make the effort to alter the way we think about using connections. Never say you do not know anyone important, because all of us are special in our own ways. The girl you hate, the mom you’ve never spoken to and the jerk teacher who gives you poor grades—they’re all important to someone. They may not be important to you, but they’re significant in our world. If more of us stopped accepting things we don’t deserve, we would be living in a more honest world. We would be living in a place where you work for what you get and where everyone serves a purpose, not just the people who can help you along the way.
Rosie Brinckerhoff is a guest columnist for The Review. Her viewpoints do not necessarily represent those of The Review staff. Please send comments to email@example.com.