My daughter got an A on her school essay about Canadian history. However, instead of being happy with her mark, she felt that she did not deserve it and thought that compared to a fellow classmate’s piece, it was just an A- or just a solid B+.
“JD should have gotten a higher mark than me but Mr.S gave me a better mark because everyone thinks I am one of his favourite students.”
I have always known Mr.S to be a fair teacher and so I would not put a lot of weight on that reasoning. He would have taken all the factors into consideration–the perspectives presented, the flow of the writing, the research gathered and conclusions reached. After reading the essay, I thought it was deserving of the A.
But, let’s step back for a minute.
What if…someone you did not perceive to deserve such accolades but due to favouritism, received more opportunities than others?
Not quite fair, is it?
This is of course assuming that your perspective is accurate that they do not deserve to be the favourite and the opportunities in question are truly opportunities that everyone would die for…
I recall a recent conversation with one of my closest friends from school …the promotion she was working hard for was given to a more junior person (let’s call him Junior) who always went for coffee with the boss, did not rock the boat and followed whatever was asked of him. Whatever his work ethic was, I did not know and my friend was not in the mood to tell me.
“I went to MIT and Wharton! Junior went to a small college in the US!”
“I had all these ideas and he had none!”
“He made all these mistakes that cost millions but no consequences!”
At any rate, the comparisons went on and on and all one sided. I don’t think she even spared a thought of how Junior must feel…perhaps he doesn’t really want to be the favoured one? I am not entirely sure if all of it were true or even relevant but at that time, it was not a good idea to interrupt her rant..
Last I heard from my dear friend, she quit and moved to a better job where she makes loads more money…and more importantly, where favoritism is not as crippling. She is happier and I’m extremely glad that all turned out fine for her.
Let’s consider a hypothetical scenario where it doesn’t impact yourself directly but you may have to take on more work to help the favoured one out?
Or how about when the favoured one has a protective shield and is immune to any consequences while the ordinary people have to watch out for their own backs?
I hear lots of these types of indignant stories….in the elevator, on the train to and from work, while waiting in line at Starbucks…and almost always involves the workplace.
So, what is one to do when faced with such injustice?
I personally think…do nothing.
It is what it is.
I think it is part of our human nature to indulge in favoritism and try as you might to change someone’s perspective about their favorite person, you cannot do anything until that person is ready to open their eyes to what is happening in front of them.
My daughter says “sounds like a defeatist attitude to me.”
I don’t believe so. Doing nothing does not mean that I consider favoritism in the workplace to be okay. On the contrary. It does a great disservice to everyone in the team and no one wins. However, most of the time, one cannot do anything about it.
So, I accept that it is unfair but it is out of my control. Continue doing a good job and move on. Focus on something else more important outside of work and move on.
Of course, if it becomes intolerable, doing what my dear friend did would be the best course of action….leave a potentially toxic environment and hope that you find greener pastures.
In the perfect world, we would all be the favoured ones….but sadly, the world is not perfect.
Accept and move on.