James Caan. Practice what you preach?

caan(Credit : webrecruit.co.uk)

The Dragon’s Den judge managed to create a good healthy discussion in my mind when he discussed how parents should not help their children get jobs on the Daily Telegraph.


Realistically speaking, what parent would not use their connections and status to let their energetic and ambitious child get a foot in the door in a competitive industry? If my parents had a book of useful contacts, I’d be expecting them to fish it out and pitch my employability ASAP. Unfortunately, my reality does not reflect this scenario. This led me to whole heartedly agree with Caan. Those young students and graduates need to experience what hard graft is. It toughens you up and makes you accept the harsh realities of life, whilst feeling a sense of pride in knowing that you have gained some invaluable life skills. Those graduates who have it plain sailing because of a phone call to the director of a company their dad is best buddies with, will not know what assessment days, rejections and late night job applying is about. They miss out on a life chart depicting peaks and troughs of failure and success.

Here’s the catch though. Whilst sharing these words of wisdom , the newly appointed social mobility tsar, forgot a very relevant fact – his daughter Hanah, spent a year working at his private equity firm Hamilton Bradshaw . Woops. What I find quite amusing is that Caan mentions that she underwent a “rigorous recruitment process.” Now I for one, would love to know what constituted this recruitment process, because I really fail to envisage my own father grilling me about my achievements so far. I just don’t see it. The whole thing has back fired hideously. Cann has been labelled hypocritical and this is bad timing as Nick Clegg has launched a scheme whereby top British companies are to be encouraged to take on board more people from less privileged backgrounds. Oh dear.

Personally speaking, Caan messed it up. If he had mentioned in the initial interview that he has actually helped his daughters, then I could have perhaps accepted his truth, albeit reluctantly. Hiding facts that contradict what you preach is something I can’t quite accept. I’ve seen nepotism and was never quite aware that the big, wide world of work was rife with it. I’ve also realised the importance of the much chucked around phrase ‘it’s not what you know, it’s who you know.’ Two years ago, I wouldn’t have been able to digest that these things affect how far you get in life. As I sit and write this with a wiser head on my shoulders, I accept that it’s part and parcel of building your career. Caan might be looked at a little unfavourably today, but I understand he is only doing what any parent would do for their child, if they had that power. I still think that the taste of success achieved from your own hard work is sweeter. I’ll happily take that.


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