Junior Achievement and Voter Irregularities

When I was a young buck in jr. high, I was recommended for, andeagerly agreed to, JuniorAchievement. It’s basically a geek club for prospectivefuture pointy-haired bosses: You do an “IPO”, selling shares tofriends and family, and then plan and make (or acquire) some craftor spice rack, foisting it on family and relatives. Then youcelebrate your profits. Or, if I recall correctly, you distributedthe profits to the shareholders (who were generally the same peopleyou sold the product to).

I don’t believe any of this was overseen by the OSC (OntarioSecurities Commission. Much like the SEC, but most of the powerhere lies at the provincial level).

Normally you do this program once, leaving room forfuture leadership-hopefuls to learn from it. There was a long listof kids hoping to get in, so it’s not like they needed chairfillers.

Our first order of business was voting our “leadershipcommittee”. I decided that I’d go for one of the positions — we’rethere to learn management and business administration, I thought,so it seemed the right thing to do — so I went for procurementmanager or something similar. Remember that you operate under theguidance and direction of local business leaders.

That’s when us green recruits discovered that a group ofindividuals had returned to the program up to 4 times in a row, andwere very chummy with the bona fide adults who led our group. Forevery position there was someone who’d done the same positionmultiple times, going up against the green recruits.

Despite the fact that I got significant popular support (mypetition to the crowd was that I should be voted inbecause I was new to it, a message that really appealed tothe audience. It’s hard to be a tyrant in a real democracy, andthis group seemed to be clamoring for noob representation), aftertaking the write-in votes outside and tabulating them, the twoadults leading the program returned, ballots having been discarded,to proclaim that the existing incumbents were once againreelected.

What was left for the rest of us Well, we got to do the manuallabour, and we got to try to sell this stuff to people we knew.

We got to bask in the glory of our leadership team.

Nah.

I never went back. If they were using my ball, I would havetaken it and gone home.

I’ve always pondered whether I was a sore loser, or whether thisparticular program was misrepresented. I lean towards thelatter.