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No To Nepotism And The Experience Conundrum

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Nepotism, according to the Cambridge dictionary, is the act of using your power or influence to get good jobs or unfair advantages for members of your own family. What this means on a practical level is the abuse of power by those who have such an influence, in the form of favouritism towards familial relations.

Nepotism is overt in sectors such as the entertainment sector- acting, modelling etc. The attention and following afforded by the role of public figure bleeds into the life of those around you, such as your family. This platform or recognition may give way to opportunities that would not have been accessible without the limelight of being in the public eye. This is not to say that being ‘famous’ or a ‘celebrity’ is not without its challenges.

It is also important to note that nepotism exists and is equally as serious and conspicuous in other professions. The entertainment industry serves as a good example because of how publicised it is. It is easy to notice situations where nepotism may be at play.

This is problematic on many levels. The main issue is that in a job market where unemployment rates are on the rise, and it is already seemingly impossible to break into high level jobs, positions and promotions are not awarded based on merit but on a who you know basis. This furthers and promotes the elitism of certain careers, in essence making it impossible to get into these professional environments without first knowing someone on the inside. The situation is further exacerbated by the lack of conversation around this issue, as the myth of meritocracy is perpetuated but not practiced.

Another issue that is born from this situation is exclusivism. High paying jobs become limited to or solely for those who already know someone, namely a family member, in these careers. As these jobs are highly competitive it is blatant that a nepotistic advantage is an unfair advantage. The people within the circles of high paying jobs are of a wealthy background. In this situation it is apparent that nepotism ultimately ensures that the rich stay rich, as those initially from a high an socio economic status have strong connections in high paying jobs and are awarded preferential treatment. This renders high paying or competitive jobs difficult or even impossible for those from a working-class background to break into.

The experience conundrum plays a part in this issue. The experience conundrum is the idea that you need experience to apply for experience, without this it seems impossible to get a leg in the door of any career path. This resembles a paradox. Of course, there are companies and organisations with programmes in place to help students and other individuals beginning their professional lives initiate this next phase in their lives. However, even on this small-scale nepotism can be seen to give an unfair advantage to those with contacts and connections in their family as they are easily able to access opportunities and work experience through familial relations. It is for this reason that class status is not only defined by income but also what you know and who you know.

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