It’s All About the Pedigree, Baby

I want to spend more time with thoroughbreds. I’m done wasting my time with those without any significant pedigree. If I’ve never heard of your university, how awesome can you really be?

Not awesome at all, to answer my own question. Likewise, if you have no respect for my pedigree, then I want nothing to do with you. How dare people be so ignorant of a fantastic education!

I have hired ivy-league applicants based on their resume alone, before meeting them. These talented individuals can be difficult to work with, but that is the price of an excellent bloodline.

I’m a Cornell man, myself, and I’m too proud not to admit it. Those that don’t flaunt their alma mater have no dignity. Maybe it’s insecurity about their own intellectual heritage.

The value of a good pedigree is obvious. A well-known family name means prestige. A great car means a great salary. Expensive brands elicit recognition and respect from others.

You didn’t think your pedigree was just for you, did you? Absolutely not! It is just as much for everyone else, as it warrants their appreciation and worship.

How else will they know that you are awesome? You have to remind them constantly of your self worth enabled by pedigree and material possessions. You must spell out your value — sometimes literally, as some pedigree names are hard to recognize — since lesser people are not bright enough to figure it out themselves.

How else does all of this apply to the workplace? Easy. I have a BMW 7 Series company car leased to portray utmost success to my clients. (I’m holding out for a Lamborghini, though! Mostly because I love that the logo is a bull, my favorite animal.) I hold board meetings in the fanciest of restaurants, so everyone will know how important I am. Like the guy in a $5,000 suit is going to hold the door for the guy in a $300 suit.

It’s all about the pedigree. Accept it. Trust it. Hire it.

W. Albert Jameson, IV

On the other hand…
Fancy brand names and institutions can be a thick smokescreen which sugarcoats truth. Attitude trumps institutional pedigree. Quality of education is important, sure, but never more important than a person’s passion. If the best applicant for the job has a degree from an awesome university, that’s great. Just don’t let that person win over the one who works hard and loves what he does.

New Hire, Part 5

[7:45am, Day Five. David places his bag lunch in the fridge, then sits at his computer in his cube. He sees that the control panel is open and network settings are up. Apparently, IT work was being done remotely. His head is canted while he interprets the information on the screen.]

David: [Writing in his notebook] “I get the sneaky feeling that my computer will need Windows Professional installed in order to work properly on the network. Currently it has the ‘Home’ version. *huge sigh*”

[Deep in thought, he pauses before writing more] “IT has been configuring my machine, to my surprise. Actually, there have been many surprises this week. Am I completely ignorant, or is Albert allergic to communication?”

[David goes to speak with Janet]

Janet: “IT told me you need to install the operating system? I assume you know what you’re doing. Here is the DVD for Windows Professional. You should keep the DVD for that other huge program I had to ask Albert about yesterday. Did you already install it?”

David: [Smiling at the silliness of the situation] “Of course I did, and it took several hours.”

Janet: “Well, you’ll need to do that again as well.”

[David holds back his shear joy at the situation. He goes back to his desk.]

David: [In the notebook again] “Today I am installing and configuring everything, again, starting from scratch. Luckily I am well practiced from the first day’s setup, and again on the second day when I had to switch computers. I guess that’s one way to spend the entire first week…”

New Hire, Part 4

[7:52am, Day Four. David walks into his cubicle, grabs the last pen in his cup, and throws it in his trash can. He pulls one out of his pocket and dates the next page in his notebook. He unplugs his mouse and exchanges it for another in the closet, presumably one that will not have trouble clicking.]

[David reads the printed employee handbook for some time, occasionally making a very puzzled look on his face and highlighting certain phrases. Every once in a while, he highlights many lines and draws stars with an wrinkled forehead. When finished, he shakes his head in disbelief and reads the 500-page PDF containing information about his project.

Janet: [Pokes her head in with a smile and speaks quietly] “Good morning, Andrew. How are you? Do you need anything?”

David: “Janet, good morning! Thank you for stopping by. Things are going okay — thanks for asking. Actually, there is one thing. I have one really large program I need to use for my project, but I don’t have the installation DVDs for it. May I have them?”

Janet: “Oh… I’m not sure. Maybe, but I have to ask Albert first.” [Smile fades as she turns and walks away.]

[David stares at where she was standing for a moment, deep in thought. Soon, he checks his email to see a meeting invitation from Catherine. Catherine handles administrative tasks and assigns duties to people. She makes decisions in place of Albert when it is convenient, but claims that she needs his approval when it is less convenient.]

[Later that day, he attends the meeting, even though it is for a different project. Below are his notes from the afternoon.]

LX-6 Meeting

  • Not sure why I’m here since I’m not on this project
  • Where is Albert?
  • Wait… I’m traveling for this project???
  • MUCH TRAVEL AHEAD. What happened to 15% travel for my position?!
  • Mike’s organizing travel teams — get dates after

SB-3 Meeting (back to back meetings)

  • Catherine says spend time learning LAQI, IOS, & MMO systems
  • Catherine says learn the lab well so I can run it next week while Larry travels
  • What does Catherine do here? Title? Is she hired as a contractor? Strange vibe
  • Larry says learn from our subject matter expert when he visits — sounds like he is contracted for the meat of the project
  • After meeting, Albert strolled in and gave out $25 gift cards. Thank you! Also, weird…
  • Interesting day.

New Hire, Part 3

[At 8:05am, on his third day at his new job, David sits down at his desk. He is the first of all his coworkers in the big room filled with cubicles to arrive. Realizing he forgot to put his bag lunch in the office refrigerator, he does so. On his way back, he walks every aisle of cubicles, glancing in each one. More than half are empty. He logs into his computer and begins installing and configuring software, picking up where he left off the day before.]

[An hour later, in the middle of a long installation, he pulls out his work notebook and takes notes. He writes the date and his arrival time, but stops halfway through a number and looks at his pen. He shakes it and writes again, but only for a few seconds. He repeats this process twice more.]

[He hears someone walking to the cube on the other side of his wall. Larry is here.]

[Eventually, he lays the pen on the desk and grabs another from the cup of pens on his desk. He finishes writing his first few notes about software installations, but once more pauses, shakes the pen, and attempts to write again. He does this once more before laying down this second pen and obtaining a third from the cup.]

[Mumbles float right through the thin cube walls and distract David. He pauses to focus on the words his coworker Larry is saying.]

Larry: [Speaking very angrily yet very softly, in a low pitch, as if whispering harshly to someone on the phone] “This is such a … mess. How can they expect … project by the deadline? … never get done in time … ” [There is more mumbling, but it is unintelligible]

[David opens several PDFs Larry recommended the day before. One is 500 pages of technical information about the project he and Larry will be working on. David is to become familiar with the systems involved.]

[There is much more installing and reading PDFs and taking of notes. David researches certain aspects of his project online, hoping to at least gather a mild understanding of its functions. Time goes by incredibly slowly, but eventually the workday has ended.]

[At 5:05pm, David sighs as he walks out the front door after day without any personal interaction with Albert, Janet, or Larry. Or anyone else in the company, for that matter.]

New Hire, Part 2

[8:01am. David, the new hire, arrives at his second day of work. He walks through the front room and sits in his cubicle without seeing anyone. He tries to use the computer for several minutes, but eventually grows frustrated with the computer’s very slow response. He repeats the same mouse movements and types the same keys, with added emphasis. He hears footsteps approaching and straightens his posture in the office chair. David eagerly opens his mouth to greet the visitor and perhaps ask a question.]

Albert: [Pops his head past the cube opening just enough to make eye contact with David.] “She’ll be with you in several minutes.” [He walks away without waiting for any response.]

[David still has his mouth open, realizes it, and closes it while he spins around to his computer. He writes carefully in a notebook for some time, but freezes when he hears mumbling — a low, quiet, disturbed chanting — from the other side of his cube wall. The mumbling stops, and David pauses before continuing to type.]

Janet: [She walks up cautiously and speaks quietly while smiling.] “Good morning. How are things going?”

David: “Oh, good morning. It’s going okay.”

Janet: “How is your computer?”

David: “Oh yes, thank you for asking. Actually, I’m having a hard time using it. There’s not enough disk space to install the programs I will be using, and it’s very slow. It doesn’t seem like this computer will work out for what I’m supposed to do. Is there anything that can be done?”

Janet: [She frowns.] “Hmmmm. Let me see what I can do.”

[Some time later, David is setting up a different computer, alone. Albert approaches, speaking before he is in sight.]

Albert: [Speaking with great intensity] “What is the problem, Dave? What do you mean your computer is not good enough?!”

[David sinks in his chair and timidly explains the details, cautiously defending his conclusion. Albert says spitefully to use the lab computer instead, wondering why he needs a better computer. David shares how Larry really wanted him to have a workspace configuration like his, since they are on the same project. Albert is skeptical. The interaction is tense as Albert pauses, then calls to Larry at his cube. Larry responds and they have a brief, terse discussion from cubicles separated by a thin wall. Larry comes around to talk to Albert in David’s cube. No resolution is reached, but they both leave.]

[David eats lunch alone and continues setting up a different computer, marginally better than the first.]