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Nepotism Puts Me at the Bottom of the Class

November 1, 2016

The eleventh exclusive for Dynamic Commodities in my series- becoming a commodities trader

Rick Velayo was an affable enough guy; he had just graduated from college in Washington DC when he was hired by Philipp Brothers and assigned to Mildred’s trainee section in the traffic department. Both Rick and I started as traffic interns at the same time. I later found out that Rick was the son of an important customer of the firm from the Philippines.

Rick had a tough time with old Mildred; he would toil away on a folder, go into her office and come out with a sheepish look over and over again. Occasionally, I would hear her raise her voice slightly during the review process, and I knew that Rick was not having any fun. On the other hand, I was able to circumvent the boss’s ire and criticism quite well. It was not that Mildred did not send me back to my desk with the same folder in hand at times, she did. However, her comments to me were mild compared to the interaction I heard with Rick and once in a while, I would see what could have been a slight smile at the corner of her mouth when I was under the hot lights of interrogation about my work. After some weeks, Mildred started assigning me folders that Rick had repeated problems with and on a few occasions she used my final work as an example for my co-worker.

The goal of a trainee in the traffic sector was to get assigned to a permanent desk after a period spent with Mildred. There was no set time; it depended on many factors. Mildred would have liked to have the ultimate decision of when she thought an employee was ready for the next step but it did not always happen that way.

Mildred was a tough old bird, but she liked me. There were many times that she would say good morning or good evening to me and no one else in the department. It was evident that I was progressing along a path that would soon lead me to a full-time assignment with some responsibility. It was not hard to see that I was doing better than Rick.  I was shocked when four months into our training; Rick told me that he was moving to handle steel traffic on a full-time basis. It was odd; I knew Mildred did not think he was ready.

Sensing I was upset, Mildred sat me down and told me that there was a hierarchy when it came to promotions at the company, and Rick’s connection was higher in the food chain than mine. Job performance had little to do with the selection; it was nepotism, and without a father who was a customer of the firm or a senior executive at the company, I was at the bottom of the class. Mildred told me to persevere; she said the best and brightest in her experience had to fight for every opportunity.

 

Post Series: Origin Of A Commodities Trader

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