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Wednesday, March 14, 2018

They've been lying to us all along, and cheaters prosper

"Cheaters never prosper." Oh, really? In my 63 years of life, I've watched in amazement and sometimes horror as the people who cut corners and copy the work of others rise to the top, gaining status, power and wealth. Even in low-wage professions, the worst workers often rise to management positions.

They told us when we were children that we could be successful if we followed the rules, were kind to others and worked hard. They lied to us.

I've watched i disbelief as the best employees in fast food, factory work and education got shunted to the side, while the brown-nosers got promoted without so much as breaking a sweat. Dad's uncle, for example, rose through the Navy ranks during WW2 to eventually become an admiral. He was in charge of supplies for the Pacific Fleet, based in Hawaii. However, since he didn't go to the Academy, the other admirals refused to play golf with Edgar Chapman. He was the lowest rank of admiral, and the only way to rise higher was by playing golf with other admirals. Doing a good job didn't profit him.

On top of that, it really does matter where you came from. If your parents didn't mix with the right people, your first job was pumping gas or feeding snakes at a pet shop or handing out donuts and coffee. Their first job was an internship with a desk, a badge and a business suit, as well as a salary that was more than what their work was worth.

Doing well in school can help with your career, but you will never get a job that enables you to pay off your student loans, unless you "known somebody". It also helps to have wealthy parents who are willing and able to pay your tuition, thus avoiding the student loan trap. Meanwhile, tuition has skyrocketed. At the junior college, I paid $50 a semester. At the four-year college, I paid $600 a term. What do you pay now? Your books cost more than what I paid for tuition in the 1970s.

Wages and salaries, on the other hand, have not risen much. You are stuck with low wages, unless you know somebody or your parents mixed with the right people. If you have one or both of those advantages, you don't have to do a good job. A third advantage is available to cheaters, and they do prosper. They suck up to their superiors, and they steal the work of others, and they rise to the top.

The rest of us are stuck going to work to earn the money to keep the car that gets us to work.

They lied to us. Yet I can't bring myself to cheat or to steal the work of others. It just isn't in me.