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Tim nice but dim... How does he manage to get a good job.

(58 Posts)
ReallyTired Tue 02-Feb-16 11:26:49

Supposely there is a glass floor that stops the children of well off families from failing.

What causes this? Or does it just mean you cannot assess academic ablity at 5. Tim nice but dim can't be that dim if he has managed to pass his exams. Even if his parents have connections he still has to hold down that well paid job.

Is the glass ceiling for the poor but able child caused by lack of aspiration of state schools or is the failure to develop good communication/ social skills. Should our more able free school meal kids be given LAMDA lessons? Does Nice but Dim Tim Have less fear of failure.

CookieDoughKid Tue 02-Feb-16 21:40:26

OK. My dh owns a recruitment company that specifically specialises in graduate recruitment in the cities and also top European employment cities like Zurich.

-Having a degree at a minimum or a clutch of good grades.
- Having work experience (one can imagine how well off families who are very well connected can provide this)
-Going to a decent Uni or business school - one that is recognised by companies.
-SOME fluency or awareness in a second language is helpful.
-Being polished, well dressed, good accent and articulation.
- Being well connected can help or at least, know the art of 'working the room' and 'networking'.
-Being really aware of the current business landscape.
-Confidence, confidence, confidence.
- I have met a number of very senior (and female) directors in £100K+ jobs who don't necessarily have grade A credentials but they stand out. One was a top public performing pianist. The other was an actress. Both could hold the stage and both were excellent, excellent public speakers.
- Being able to come up with solutions and blue sky thinking - even if you don't know how to achieve the solutions (basically, you delegate others to do it for you).
- Knowing how to socialise (and I don't mean partying). I mean being able to make small talk with folks far more senior and outside of your comfort zone.
-Impeccable manners.

I think this is a really interesting thread and I can see many reasons why middle class families have the edge here.

CookieDoughKid Tue 02-Feb-16 21:42:40

I don't mean Queen's English regarding accent but being able to be understood with clear phonetic English is important.

ReallyTired Tue 02-Feb-16 22:01:44

I think it's significant that Tim is nice. He has truely outstanding social skills, which make up for his lack of A levels. I wonder how those of us with state school kids can help them develop the confidence, ablity to work the room that Tim Naice but Dim has. In other words how to we give our children polish?

Hamishandthefoxes Tue 02-Feb-16 22:08:53

I would guess as a starting point talking to them. It's always easier to bd thought of as nice if you listen to other people so encourage them to do so. Reading as much as possible? Listening to music of all kinds and watching films which are useful to talk about not just fast and furious 28...

Extra curricular stuff if you can afford it - sports, music drama etc. If they have something they're really good at it will boost confidence and it's all about confidence...

Noofly Wed 03-Feb-16 09:39:48

I think a combination of social skills as mentioned by CookieDough and the ability to spot opportunities are key. I used to work for a FTSE100 company and it always amazed me how so few people were comfortable around the various company directors - either making small talk or even work talk! Those who were comfortable were the ones who got the good opportunities outwith the normal career progression route.

christmaswreaths Wed 03-Feb-16 12:18:08

I am ina similar corporate role and I don't think it is that stereotyped at all.

Some observations:
1- there are still very few women in top positions
2- I am foreign and do are many colleagues so accents are varied; everyone is articulate though
3- being politically savvy, clever and dynamic are common traits
4- social background is largely irrelevant, nobody cares and I know a number of colleagues from simple backgrounds including mine (eg not middle class, not connected, not educated)

christmaswreaths Wed 03-Feb-16 12:19:40

Ps although having a degree and a masters is very common; many of us studied later on though

GXmummy Fri 05-Feb-16 10:29:53

I agree with ReallyTired

GXmummy Fri 05-Feb-16 10:32:04

I also think that that article is very offensive - calling anyone "stupid"

WhirlwindHugs Fri 05-Feb-16 10:35:11

I think social skills and appearing articulate are important. They give you confidence to succeed.

I want to start speech and drama and debate clubs as my kids state school as I think this is an area they are maybe at a disadvantage compared to private school kids.

However the thing we can do nothing about is definitely who you know and who your parents know, it opens up so much not just in terms of work experience but also being more aware of the vast number of job choices there are.

Destinysdaughter Fri 05-Feb-16 10:37:23

I met a lot of posh types at Uni and they all have such self confidence and belief in themselves. Also having the right connections really helps! There are so many unpaid internships these days that you have to be pretty wealthy to afford to do them!

Hassled Fri 05-Feb-16 10:37:34

It is significant that Tim is nice. Social skills and charm count for a huge amount - would you rather share an office every day with someone of high intelligence but no charm, or someone who needs the bleeding obvious pointing out to them regularly, but who is always good company?

But how do you teach social skills? That sort of easy public school charm comes from self-esteem - Tim presumably knows he's dimmer than many, but also knows that he was other valuable traits and so the dimness doesn't bother him.

CremeBrulee Fri 05-Feb-16 10:39:07

I encounter these types all the time. They look well groomed, wear good suits and are considered 'jolly good blokes' but actually are not very clever and can't really deliver much work wise. Why do think consultancies make so much money? They are being paid to do the thinking your Tim-types can't manage.

OneMagnumisneverenough Fri 05-Feb-16 10:45:20

DH and I were both brought up on rough council estates, neither of us went to Uni from school, we got jobs. DH has since left various manual and office jobs and gone to college and Uni and also done an OU degree, he currently works in the NHS in a non qualified role. I worked up through a few companies and do a semi professional job. We live in a different city now in an Exec New Build estate (4 bed/3 bath yada yada..) Our boys went to a very mixed primary and now go to a very academic secondary with a very low proportion of FSMs. A lot of attending pupils are private school type but attend this school as it is academically better. Both boys are very bright.

However, there is no way even now with their semi middle class upbringing (lots of out of school activities, stories before bed etc etc) that they have the confidence that Tim nice but dim has. That I would say is down to us as parents, as we don't have that to pass on to them. We don't feel comfortable at those MC type networking and social events so they have never experienced them. Both talk nicely and are polite and well behaved and younger in particular is very articulate about current affairs etc. They will simply not get opportunities that TNBD gets as we don't have the network or the confidence to create it.

That is a real barrier for them. It's not really down to lack of educational opportunities or outside activities. They have been stifled by their parents own social barriers and lack of confidence. I really don't know how this can be overcome, other than slowly over time and generations.

KathyBeale Fri 05-Feb-16 10:48:59

This is really interesting. I haven't done brilliantly in my career and I often think it's because I don't 'look right' and I'm not confident in myself. I work very hard and I know I'm good at my job, but doors just don't open for me like they do for other people.

My dad had a great career and was v successful in his field. He came from a very working class background. He didn't go to university, though he is very clever. I think his best, most valuable quality, is that he can talk to absolutely anyone and charm them and make them laugh and engage in good conversation. He can do it with chief execs, and the posh people he meets when he goes horse racing, and politicians - he's quite active politically, and people who serve him in shops, and bar-staff in his local - anyone and everyone. Everyone remembers him. My brother is similar. I, sadly, am not!

Obviously this is an innate quality within my dad but I think it's a sort of confidence and ability that people often 'learn' at good private schools, which could explain the Tim-nice-but-dim thing.

TeaT1me Fri 05-Feb-16 10:55:20

I think partly a moneyed family there is always a home to fall back on, or money if you want to change career path so there isn't the importance to start working straight after uni to fund where you live - you can do a masters without worry. You can take up a low paid/internship in an expensive area because you know if worst comes to worst it will be alright.

I think the safety net breeds a lot of confidence to pursue areas you are interested in.

Hassled Fri 05-Feb-16 10:55:42

OneMagnum - you say "Both talk nicely and are polite and well behaved and younger in particular is very articulate about current affairs etc." - I think/hope they're going to do just fine, as long as you never give them the impression that they can't/shouldn't attempt something, and it doesn't sound like you ever would.

I've been dwelling on this more - it's not as straightforward as to say all public school/upper-middle class types have that easy confidence, because they don't (I sort of am one, and I don't). I recognise it in others, and I have a very good line in small talk for any given social occasion, but I don't have natural charm or high self-esteem.

OneMagnumisneverenough Fri 05-Feb-16 11:05:03

Hassled no, I never would but neither are confident, DS1 doesn't like to speak to people and DS2 is apparently quite quiet in class though teachers say about both that they have a lot to offer when they are asked. We never allowed slang in the house and though they obviously use it with friends now, they know how to talk nicely. We are Scottish and they have a very generic Scottish accent, you'd never be able to pick out where they were from. DH and I now have similar until we are in our old stomping grounds and the old accent comes back!

Both are headed for Uni and DS2 wants to travel especially to Japan. I hope they don't narrow their lives as I'd like them to have all the opportunities and advantages that we didn't.

stumblymonkey Fri 05-Feb-16 11:08:34

Interesting thread...

My DM was a single, unmarried (unusual in the early 80s) mother who dropped out of college to have me. We came from a very working class background.

My stepfather moved in when I was 8/9 years old. When they met he was working on a shop floor but he came from a middle class background and inherited a company so quite quickly became a company director as his father sadly died while still quite young.

I guess what I'm saying is that I've seen both sides of the fence.

I now work in the City and would say the things that parents can do are:

- Ensure your DCs are comfortable mixing with all levels of people, they need to not be intimidated by CEOs for example (they are just people after all). Consider ways that you can expose your DCs to a wide variety of people and classes while they are growing up

- Make sure they (a) know how to act and (b) aren't intimidated in 'posh' situations. They should ideally feel comfortable in good familiar with menus, the way cutlery/glasses/etc are laid out and what to use for what

- Do what you/your DCs can to get them work experience in middle class professions/settings

The key is really more about them being confident, comfortable and not at all intimidated in the kind of situations they will find themselves in if they work in a setting like the City.

Obviously all of the above are easier to arrange with money but you can also be creative and see what you can think of to gt them this kind of exposure and confidence.

BigSandyBalls2015 Fri 05-Feb-16 11:09:32

Very interesting. I'm a PA in central govt, and have worked with many 'high fliers' over the years, and the ones that have progressed further can all 'talk the talk', and have the ability to charm their way around a room, regardless of whether they can actually do the job effectively.

I'm the opposite, which is prob why I'm still a PA after all these years. I'm very shy in large groups, and it has undoubtedly held me back at work. I'm very sociable 1-1, and in small groups, but talking at a large meeting fills me with shaking, blushing horror.

Unfortunately my teen DDs also seem to be like this, taking after me rather than their father. I wish I could do more to help them.

stumblymonkey Fri 05-Feb-16 11:09:58

Also...just for context I went to a state school in Stoke-on-Trent (very working class area) and now work in the City earning six figures.

stumblymonkey Fri 05-Feb-16 11:13:26

Sorry...just thought of another important thing. My DM always brought me up to believe that I could do anything I set my mind to....she didn't pass on any of the self-limiting beliefs that I see a lot of in the working class side of the family.

By self-limiting beliefs I mean things like "I'd be too scared/nervous to do XYZ" or "Things like ABC aren't meant for people like us", etc.

Lilymaid Fri 05-Feb-16 11:24:40

From personal experience I know that some state schools do not get the best, academically, out of their pupils. Lack of funding and over-reliance on statistics meant, for one DC, that the school was not concerned unless a capable pupil didn't achieve the all important 5 Cs at GCSE. Obviously, this is not the case in every state school.
We addressed this problem by injection of money at sixth form level (i.e. independent school, not bribery!), after which the DC, now motivated to achieve, did so.
Definitely agree about the social confidence. In this DC's case a period in the USA particularly helped (summer camp and as an international student).

eyebrowse Fri 05-Feb-16 11:27:25

I would say that members of the more middle class side of my family are very shy and have not progressed for that reason. Whereas the perhaps more working class side are much better socially, more ambitious and have progressed for this reason.

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