Do the Right Thing
(MONEY Magazine) – My Boss Hired His Kid for the Job I Deserved. Is That Fair?
Q For the past 10 years, I've worked for a small insurance agency with only eight employees. The office manager retired not long ago, and I should have been considered for the job. Instead, the owner gave it to his daughter, a recent college graduate who knows very little about insurance. He says he gave his daughter the job because she will inherit the business someday and she needs the experience. I don't think this is fair. Do you?
ANSWER Nepotism stinks, but it isn't always unethical. When a person owns a small business, he has the right to operate it in the best interests of his family. After all, it is his business, and one of the great satisfactions of owning a business is being able to bring your children into it. What's unethical is encouraging employees to believe that the business is a meritocracy when, in fact, family comes first.
So if your boss promised you a shot at office manager or otherwise led you to believe your prospects at the firm were boundless, he has indeed treated you unfairly. But if you took it for granted that only merit mattered, you were, sad to say, simply mistaken.
Either way, the owner probably owes you a consolation prize, so now might be a good time to ask for a raise. More fundamentally, however, the handwriting is on the wall: Your career at this agency is at the mercy of the owner's plans for his family, and it's time for you to look for another job, one where the principal criterion for advancement is the quality of your work. Good luck.