We all don’t get to the top the same way!

CNN reporter Mr. Zakaria commented recently on the multiple legal ways that some families get over on the system through legacy alumni evaluations, targeting major donations, and hiring private advisors. Grades and test scores are the core criteria in the selection process of most educational institutions; yet, admission selections are leveraged in various other ways. These same back-door approaches to selection are used to place and hire candidates of choice in corporations and businesses. What many of us will witness throughout a career is the special favor and advantage given to a select few in the final selection process of hiring and promoting individuals for the best paid positions.

The reality and bottom line is that higher paying jobs after graduation for example, will go to those with the best grades and those having privilege, legacy or preference. In addition, the reality is also that those with average grades and excellent talents or skills are more than often selected for lower paying good jobs working for those with the higher paying jobs during the course of a normal career.

For example, in the military, those selected for the elite military academies have a clear advantage in getting promoted into the higher paying positions and being assigned to preferred duty stations that can enhance their military careers which will lead to more opportunities and money. In corporate America, you have the same thing taking place. Selected individuals are provided a path in an accelerated promotion program which puts them in a better position for moving up the corporate ladder. Many will witness those who are advanced into leadership and are given secured-preferred position because they simply are connected to family, a friend or member of a private organization, network, country club, alumni, etc. These types of “who you know” relationships create great opportunities based mainly on affiliation and many times without merit which supports the notion that “it is not what you know, it is who you know.”

Even as an entrepreneur, the banking and investment community will favor “the select” who are connected and are endorsed by “an influential” in the business community or chamber of commerce. You might have the best business plan and still not be funded after having a great relationship with the funding source for years. You may struggle for your funding approval while others can simply walk through the door, straight up to the executive office and literally be given financing based on who they are, who they are backed by or who they are partnered with.

In my book, EVIDENCE UNSEEN, I share my experiences in the military, corporate America and as a successful entrepreneur who found the faith to overcome these obvious realities that can be very discouraging, disappointing and damaging to your career if you do not accept these realities appropriately. So, what do you do? How does one handle this dilemma? Frankly speaking… you keep the faith, keep moving forward and believe that if you remain prepared and on purpose your opportunity will come.

You must continue to ask for, seek out and demand that you be considered for an opportunity that you know in your heart you are qualified, prepared for and it benefits customers and those around you. Yes, you must be persistent and not give up. It is somewhat known that “the squeaky wheel gets the oil!” If you do not ask, you will not receive. This is the plight of the “not preferred and not connected.” Do not fall into the trap of wanting to quit or wanting to give up on your ambitions to be the best and be paid the best. I have seen this happen too many times in person’s career. More shockingly, I have witness candidates walk away from an opportunity that is theirs in an interview or selection process right before an eminent decision to hire was about to be made. “Always play your hand out….”

Yes, the CNN special was an eye opener to America about the realities of selection in the United States of America. Maybe it is true, “birds of a feather flock together stay together”… and the “ugly duckling” might still have a chance. These old saying tells us that those who are similar to each other in status, purpose and preference tend to select and promote each other. The story of the “ugly duckling” would tell us that if you hang around the good-looking ducks long enough, one day you might become one… if you are selected. My story, found in my memoir… EVIDENCE UNSEEN, communicates the message that if you keep the faith, good things will happen.

The purpose of this blog is to create an awareness of how “favored selection process” works in America and to explain why some people can be selected for doing less and get paid more… creating an unfair advantage over others. What can you do to address this reality that you might be confronted with right now or in the future?

  • Never lose your desire to be the best and be paid the best… keep hope alive!
  • Plan to create your own opportunity… start your own business.
  • Secure coaching and consultation… get with people who can connect you to others.
  • Always make sure you are prepared for your opportunity when it comes… preparation to the key.
  • Increase your education, certification, training…be competent!
  • Build relationships and connections early… get to know others who are influential and will appreciate your talents, skills and knowledge.
  • Set a timeline and high expectations for selection… be ready to move up or to move on.
  • Remember, what is for you is for you… keep the faith!

The realities of privilege, legacy, and preference should not define your career or your future; however, it is important to note that you might have to overcome any one of them to get an opportunity to be your best. Frankly speaking, I am EVIDENCE that the right opportunity will come, if you keep at it and keep the faith.

www.frankclayjr.com EVIDENCE UNSEEN: Finding the Faith to Overcome