10 Apr 2013

Idiocy rewarded and intelligence shunned in T&T

Recently, a close friend of mine was asking me why, with all the qualifications I have, I don’t apply for a Government job.

I told him I had looked into it at some point, but nothing had ever materialised. Then he asked: “Did you send in all your qualifications, all your degrees?”

I told him I had, and why shouldn’t I? Isn’t that how you apply for a job? He shot back: “No, that is not how you do it; is ah kinda fight-down ting here in Trinidad and if you are more qualified than the person who is hiring you, you will not get hired. It’s a crab-in-the-barrel mentality. So if the job is asking for five passes, just send in five passes.”

Wow, that is just tragic! But he is not the first friend to say this to me. Another friend of mine, who had spent about seven years studying and living in France, had told me something similar.

I had just returned to Trinidad and sent her my resume to proofread for me. She had said I should remove the fact that I had attended university abroad; that to leave the fact that I had several degrees to my name would cripple me. Whoa!

I suppose this is why another friend of mine, also the office manager at a revision institute where I work, one day said to me, “They don’t want you to be intelligent. It is not okay to be intelligent here.”

This young man had lived and studied in England for a few years well, and had recently returned to care for his ailing mother. He has already had it up to here. Imagine: a young woman who does not have a pass in CXC English has received a promotion.

Customer service is bad here. A document that should be processed within days takes months. A cellphone that should be returned in three days after repairs takes eight days (and I got that phone back on the eighth day only because I went to the company’s office and let them have it; and why is it that in order to get something done in this country I always have to tell off someone?).

I think I understand now. I think I get it now. Idiocy is rewarded and intelligence shunned.

And this attitude is not just in Government ministries. 

Akilah Holder

Speaks for itself, innit?