For years, one of the biggest worries for Chinese parents was that their children might not be able to succeed from scratch as their parents had.This is far from unique in China. In fact, similar phenomena are happening even in the United States, a country that has always been obsessed with the myth of the “American dream”.
Classics such as “Who Rules America” have long pointed out that in the United States, the top 5 percent of the population and the bottom 20 percent of the population have very little change in social class, while the directors of big companies are 90 to 95 percent male and 95 percent white, with few women and minorities.
The United States is more unequal and less socially mobile than many western industrialized countries.The difference just is that traditionally elite status lineage inheritance, but now the economic privileges are taking a more indirect way, to a large extent by the education system: the rich children receive better education, and therefore have a better chance for success in life, and this is rightly regarded as a personal effort by them.
This issue has not gone unnoticed in the past. Masterpieces such as Unequal Childhood and Learning to Work reflect on how education has become an instrument of social stratification and economic inequality from the perspective of social class culture and educational model.
Laura Rivera, an American sociologist, takes a different approach in her book Birth: Unequal Selection and The Self-Replication of the Elite. She examines how the social capital of newcomers helps them achieve elite status, starting with the selection mechanism of top companies.
The children of the rich have been the mainstay of American college enrollment for many years.More than 80 percent of students at four-year colleges in the United States have at least one parent who attended college.Meanwhile, about 80 percent of children from the top quarter of families earn a bachelor’s degree, compared with about 10 percent of children from the bottom quarter.
At first glance, everyone can go to college, and the criteria for selecting students into the elite are classless, but in reality these paths require wealthy, responsible, well-informed, and supportive parents.Well, when these kids graduate from college and enter the workforce, the interview process is also bad for poor kids.
Through in-depth interviews with human resource executives in three high-paying industries — investment Banks, consulting firms and law firms — The book finds that when they screen resumes and interview new hires, the selection system generally favors the children of the rich.
There lies a constant, but it is hard to detect mechanism: elite is usually the rules of the game makers, therefore they always tend to be according to your own image to define the advantages, at this point, they will naturally choose those with their image temperament is more close to the couple, and I was familiar with this kind of atmosphere rich children naturally ready earlier.
This choice is based on more than just performance, since many people may not make much of a difference based on performance alone, and the interviewer’s point is to see if the person can fit in and “play” with the team.In such cases, their social and cultural capital becomes particularly important — such as the ability to appreciate high art or outdoor activities, which are often considered “useless” by Chinese, but which are crucial in interviews at these top companies.
And because they are not necessary, only wealthy families spend money on these hobbies.Most paradoxical of all, working-class kids tend to work their hardest in college, forgoing social and extracurricular activities in an effort to gain an opportunity to climb the ladder, but by doing so, they drive them further away from possible opportunities and limit the range of jobs they can choose to do.
Shortly after I graduated, I applied for a job in a foreign company.I thought I had done quite a bit of preparation beforehand, but I didn’t anticipate the interview at all.Shortly after we sat down, the interviewer said that her New Zealand boss was very interested in my resume and would come and see me later.This is a play of unexpected, but luckily, I had prepared will also have a English interview link, but the foreigner’s question, but no one is I was ready, he didn’t ask my studies, internships and work skills, understanding of their company and industry, on the contrary, he asked me what amateur interest involved in any club, or even ask: “don’t you feel our work is very boring?”
He said all this in a relaxed tone, but I was sweating.Things like “hobbies” were also included on the resume, but I, like many Chinese, felt it was a completely unimportant accessory and assumed they would care more about my work ability.In retrospect, these managers were also concerned about “cultural fit”, looking for someone to “hang out with” rather than a “work machine” — and good grades didn’t help, because they thought “of course you did, because you didn’t do anything but study!”I’m afraid that’s the real reason why I didn’t pass.
As the book says: “Although interviewers know what their company is looking for — bright, motivated, socially skilled young people who fit in — it is up to each interviewer to understand and measure these qualities.”