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The Daily Utah Chronicle

The University of Utah's Independent Student Voice

The Daily Utah Chronicle

The University of Utah's Independent Student Voice

The Daily Utah Chronicle

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Want your voice to be heard? Submit a letter to the editor, send us an op-ed pitch or check out our open positions for the chance to be published by the Daily Utah Chronicle.
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Nepotism or networking? Either will get you ahead

By Gina Lea Nickl

Historically, nepotism has been viewed as a negative and corrupt practice. In the business world, showing favoritism to relatives or friends gets an especially negative reaction from people who feel someone was hired because they know the boss over someone who was better qualified for the job.

Examples of family-based hiring can be seen in every aspect of American society. McGraw, Ford and Wrigley are all family businesses that, for years, have given you the books you read, the cars you drive and the gum you chew. The fact that many American businesses are family owned makes nepotism expected. The family behind Jack Daniel’s even attributes much of their success to “planned nepotism.”

In arts and entertainment, many familiar names got their start because of their family ties: Jane Fonda, Michael Douglas, Kate Hudson, Rob Reiner and Tori Spelling all fall into this category.

Paris Hilton, one of the biggest names of pop culture right now, is famous just for being famous. If her family hadn’t started one of the largest hotel chains, then she would be a nobody. Will Smith and Jada Pickett Smith’s children wouldn’t be starring in movies if their parents didn’t have a hand in it. A guest drummer for The Who has a famous drummer for a dad: Ringo Starr. He’s not the only Beatle-child to get a break based on his last name. Sean and Julian Lennon both released albums.

In the past, proud parents would groom their children to attend the same Ivy League school they went to and to eventually take over as the next executive in their business. If a child didn’t end up in the parents’ business, he or she would end up in his or her parents’ friend’s business.

Adam Bellow is the author of In Praise of Nepotism. He talks about a new nepotism, which is based on children wanting to cash in on the networks and connections their family gives them. They grow up around the business and gain an interest in it early in life, which gives them the perfect opportunity to become an expert.

This new nepotism is also regulated. In a world that praises hard work and individuality, the birthright heir must still prove themself in the field. Adam Bellow himself is the son of a Nobel Prize winning novelist. There is no doubt that Bellow got his foot in the door because of his father’s connections. But he wouldn’t have lasted long if he couldn’t prove himself. This is the same reason that Julian Lennon doesn’t have a record deal anymore.

For college students just months or years away from a career search there is a lot of emphasis put on networking. We have all heard the saying, “Who you know is as important as what you know.”

Today is the Student Job Fair hosted by the U. The fair has been promoted as a chance to engage in “one-on-one networking with employers.” There is nothing wrong with going out and making your own connections.

However, before you put valuable time and effort into a job search, you should look a little closer first. There is nothing wrong with using the connections you already have. Networking is often referred to as creating a web around you. There is no reason to create a new web from scratch when you are already a part of a network.

The negative social connotation around nepotism is dissolving. Nepotism is another way to network. The smarter and more effective way to network is to look at the connections you already have.

[email protected]

Willus Branham

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