That’s not true, and shame on anyone who insists on dishing out this insane, INANE bullshit.
We need to have more thorough discussions on this topic. America wouldn’t be the cesspool of the world today if it was strictly merit-based.
Around the time my niece was entering freshman year of college, I provided her with some rather atypical advice. I advised her to make as many connections as she could throughout her academic career. The advice was based on the adage “it’s not what you know – it’s who you know.”
I can’t help but sneer at the people who routinely resort to the typical, antiquated cliches such as “keep following your dreams,”” work hard and don’t give up,” and “all your hard work will pay off in the end.” To those people, I respond, without a shadow of a doubt, to go fuck themselves.
Cynical? Nope. I challenge anyone if the idea of working hard holds true in the entertainment industry. How about politics?
I have been a victim of this discriminatory aphorism all my life. A few years ago, I maintained a blog that chronicled unsettling interview and hiring methods deployed by recruiters, human resources, and online job boards while I was looking for employment. I went through a phase of publicly shaming every bit of ambiguous tactic just to prove the job search wasn’t as easy as some people believed. In this dynamic, the more you know is nothing but a nostalgic, star-and-rainbow visioned catchphrase. Who you know holds more weight in the search for employment.
I have profited as well. In 2009, I applied for a position with a major newspaper. In my cover letter, I referred to someone who happens to be a former employee with that paper, and worked under his guidance with another publisher. I got a call back for an interview the following day.
I did not get hired, but I’m still in awe that an urban, mainstream news paper called me as quick as they did to schedule an interview, all because I mentioned a (winning) name. It further proliferated my theory that all you needed was ONE name to elevate to the next level.
My last employer was with a government agency. Again, all I did was drop a name. I did not invent the moon nor did I find breakthrough treatment for cancer. All I had was a name, and I was hired immediately.
If you would like some more proof, look no further than Hollywood privilege. You know, those assholes whose kids are so dumb, they willingly bribe top colleges millions of dollars to admit their moronic kids, despite grades and test scores.
What I find amazing is that Trevor Noah admittedly professed ultimate due credit to the man (Jon Stewart) who gave Trevor the opportunity of hosting one of America’s most beloved news shows. You don’t often hear gratuitous sentiments in Hollywood unless it involves receiving an award, and even then, it’s insanely superficial. The entertainment industry can be accurately credited as the inventors of “What v Who You Know” since that industry notoriously hires based on word of mouth and favors. How many stories have you heard about actors not even having to go through the audition process (not counting Oscar winners), but that they were merely “recommended” by the casting director? The entertainment industry, be it acting, music, sports, even publishing, all are realms that work exclusively on a word-of-mouth basis.
America should be merit-based, but it’s not. There’s no room for profit in anything remotely merit-based. Imagine the abominable breakthroughs that would genuinely heal, prosper, and nurture to blossom into a better America. This country would surely reign supreme when it comes to economic success, social justices, and better healthcare. If America were strictly merit-based, we wouldn’t have to endure things like:
- Rich parents who bribe colleges to admit their dumbass kids.
- Those same dumb kids get jobs via connections and they’re making undeserved seven-figure salaries
- Big Pharma being in the business of profit instead of breakthroughs
- Big Tech in the business of exploiting user data for big profits
- Hollywood, ALL OF IT
- The media, ALL OF IT
- Corrupted politicians who work for corporations instead of people, ALL OF THEM.
- We’d have no use for PR firms aka Bullshit Makers – because the individual’s craft isn’t good enough to make a tremendous impact on its own.
- Canned and robotic PR-related “apologies”
The American shit list goes on. Imagine the glorious advancements in America had it not been for these assholes and its factories from which they originated.
I have adopted numerous projects just to pass the time, but deep inside I desire some sort of notoriety just to justify all the pain I’ve had to endure to make these projects come to fruition. I have already accepted that without being in the right place at the right time, I may never come face to face with relevant connections, and my personal goals may never come to light. Contrary, I saved myself from so much stress dealing with humans and their inane, superficial bullshit. It’s totally a win-win.
My niece still sees life with fresh, auspicious eyes. In a few months, she will be graduating with a bachelor’s degree and begin the “adulting” process for job stability and independence. I told her that making relevant connections would increase her chance of getting a good paying gig. Contrary, I also told her that people will go only as far as the confines of their innermost circle. If she’s not in anyone’s circle, always maintain low expectations and don’t get those hopes up. The problem with being human is that there is no escaping disappointments, rejections, and depression. When it comes to personal expectations, I’d rather for her to be pleasantly surprised than be in a sudden state of shock. In other words: always expect the unexpected.
I could have used this wisdom when the newspaper decided I was “over-qualified.” When I didn’t get hired, I was shocked, as if I ran into a wall. The interview was culminating in every aspect, and even spoke to four different people. Their rationalization just wasn’t enough to soften the blow. I don’t want my niece to suffer like that. I realize that I cannot protect her from every betrayal and hurt feelings, but at least provide some levity on whatever inequitable situation she will undoubtedly encounter.
Do humanity a favor and ditch the superficial “follow your dreams” advice. After all, that’s not how real life works.