Wednesday, March 05, 2008

A Hand Out or a Leg Up?

Dateline - my office. Late.

Dear Faux Hillary's. It's late at night. Feel for me - I'm working to make your city a better place. Why? Because I don't have an intern and am swamped with worky.

Pretell why don't I have an intern? Is it because my intern was sent off to Paris, a la LC? Or did I scare away a hot male intern after an off coloured cigar joke [So Rama - sorry I don't have a pen holder for that highlighter - wanna know someplace else you can stick that cylinder? (ed. too far?)]?

Neither, dearest readers... Sadly I don't have an intern; the intern I was promised ended up working for a rival nonprofit. (Prompting me to declare that I was going to get so drunk at the other non profits AGM in order to projectile vomit on the ED in retaliation - if you thought the Argentinian invasion of the Falkland Islands was crazy wait until you see the Nonprofit Wars of 2008).

But back to internships... an internship is a right of passage for your average Faux Hiller... and as we move into the summer silly season (college kids will soon be back from university, and decide they're too old for camp so they'll ask their parents to help them get a job), internships are all the rage. The latest topic of conversation at Starbucks is NOT a dissertation on the spring OPI colours, rather on the ins and outs of getting Jessica, Aaron and or Michelle a summer internship at Manulife, TD Bank and or Scotiabank, "Shelley - call Morty Greenbaum, he's a Senior VP at Rogers - he'll help you find your Benji a job for the summer."

Take my good friend Tamara who was recently handed an intern to mentor at work. The intern a young, pretty thing, prompted her latest lamentation, "I work to pay my mortgage and SHE works for fun." The intern, you see, was the daughter of Tamara's boss, a Senior VP at the very large multi-national. For many a Faux Hillary, this situation isn't too far off the course - work, isn't really about making money, so much so as it is about giving you something to do. As distant cousin Paulette told me at a recent family funeral, "I mean, I'm rich - but I still work. I married a wealthy doctor and I can buy whatever I want, but I still go in and teach high school kids every day." Thanks Paulette don't let the door hit your ass on the way out.

The internship is generally a creation of nepotism - that great inbred self-aggrandizing cycle which ensures that I probably won't end up in a van down by the river. Nepotism, to many, rails against the very basis of our happy liberal society where parents who send their kids to Upper Canada like to talk about our excellent public school system and public health care system; choosing to argue that in Canada we abide by the grand principles of a Hobbesian/Lockian equality of opportunity feel good mantra. But to quote a very pragmatic G-Sauce - "there are Alpha people, Beta People, Gama People - and not everyone is going to be Alpha." No matter the "public" bullshit you'll hear at Rosh Hashanah dinner - there is no such thing as equality of opportunity - isms like nepotism chip away at principled liberalism. Once everyone is else is doing it (getting their kids interns at Rogers from Morty Greenbaum) the snowball effect of nepotism ensures that the N-Word becomes your average Villagers best friend - NOT the family's Wheaton Terrier (FYI - Jews don't do the Golden Retriever business for some reason; Lab's are way to Goy, what do you think this is Martha's Vineyard?).

But is nepotism truly that awful? Yes... if you're a liberal philosophe, and on a purely emotional level nepotism does potentially erode the great American rags to riches motif that Horatio Alger taught us so well. But! Huzzah - on a purely pragmatic approach there is a catch-all which ensures nepotism doesn't create a world of Interns Gone Wild*.

The escape clause? I point to yet another philosophical holdover from 18th century England. An escape clause so invisible that it actually controls our society much more so then the musings of Locke and Hobbes and the social contractistas.

At a recent brunch at the Four Seasons - My Other Mom [MOM] contemplated making a call to help her daughter get an interview for a job she was applying to. MOM was worried about using the nepotism card, even though we both admitted that almost everyone we know used the nepotism angle. MOM was worried about making things a slice to easy for her daughter. However, I opined that the nepotism internship was really just a leg-up and NOT a hand out. Using a leg-up acknowledges that we don't particularly live in the perfect universe where equality of opportunity levels all playing fields - rather, a leg-up does acknowledge, that at the end of the day a leg-up only gets you in the door (or over the fence as the motif so hints at). Any intern is going to have to sink or swim on their own merits. Truth be told, a Faux Hillary can only ride the nepotism wave so far. The pragmatic escape clause recognizes that Adam Smiths's great invisible hand of capitalism ensures that nepotism can only take us so far.

And for that - I say thanks G-D.

* The only exception to the nepotism safety clause is Ben Mulroney - who for some reason with little talent has managed to succeed in life. It is almost as if he is not bound to the laws of capitalism.


Anonymous said...

As a former faux hill based intern who secured an awesome position purely by my cunning wit, this post offends me.
However, I am willing to entertain the idea that for those of us who do not directly rely on nepotism, perhaps our privileges (grooming, well spoken, braces as children, gym memberships, etc) contribute to our ability to secure internships/jobs. But I can't help that I am pretty, can I?

Anonymous said...

That was not me.

FauxHillary said...

and you're an excellent dancer.