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godzillamax
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Posted: 9/10/2013 7:58:43 PM
[Last Edit: 9/10/2013 7:59:27 PM by godzillamax]
Back when I was in my mid twenties (about fifteen years ago) I worked for a multibillion dollar national company that was the largest company in my industry (in north America). The company had sizable operations in the counties of southern California, and each county called a "division." The two smaller counties (by population) shared a single director of operations (job that paid at the time around $100k/yr). Traditionally, the demographic for this job was someone in their fifties who had 30+ years of experience in the industry. The guy who was the director for the two counties (where I worked) took a job as the director of operations in another state.

Everyone was shocked when the external candidate the company hired was the one no one thought would get the job. They passed over numerous other well qualified internal candidates that everyone thought for sure would get the job (because they met the demographic - had the skills, education, etc.). The guy they hired was (at the time) a young gun in his mid thirties. He had the JFK Jr look, could talk the talk, was fresh out of MBA school, and could smooze with the best of them. He had very little managerial experience, and only a few years experience in the industry at a very low level (i.e. line level, not management), but man could he golf along with the higher ups!

Eight months after they hired him they had to get rid of him and bring in a seasoned divisional manager from a neighboring division to run the operations. The guy had literally run the division into the ground and all of the contracts were threatening to leave to competitors. To everyone's surprise, they didn't can him, they promoted him to a regional V.P. position that, prior to his promotion, had never existed (and it was some totally BS job to). Turns out the young guy was the son of the next door neighbor of the company CEO (guy who made around $3 mil a year as CEO of the company). I left the company a year after that.

Fast forward to yesterday and I'm reading an industry journal and see an article stating that the old company I work for just named the same guy CEO!!! Holy cow I thought!! This guy was so incompetent back then, and now he is CEO of the company!! WTF I thought. Also, i was amazed to think this guy went from a job earning $100k/yr to one paying $3 mil a year in only fifteen years.

Sure, maybe the guy wised up, learned from his mistakes, and became a very competent manager. But it got me to thinking had he not been the son of someone (rich) there would have been no way they would have promoted him way back when he ran the operation into the ground. Just makes me wonder how many C level people get their jobs because they went to an Ivy League school (ala politicians and their kids) and have connections or are part of some Martha's Vineyard good ole boy's club. Seems like I read all the time about some executive running some company into the ground and the week after he leaves said company (with a multimillion dollar payout) he his immediately hired at another company as a C level employee.

So, do you think most executives at fortune 1,000 companies get there because of hard work and smarts, or because they won the DNA lottery?

BTW, I don't care nor am I jealous of how much anyone earns, how much CEO earns, etc. Just curious because this is the first person I have ever known that went on to work for a fortune 1,000 company earning a salary of millions per year (and my recollection of him was an incompetent kid that was lucky enough to be born with the right looks and to the right parents).
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Chuy123
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Posted: 9/10/2013 8:00:00 PM
Some are legit and work their way up while others brown nose / suck their way up.
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Posted: 9/10/2013 8:00:49 PM
Fuck up, move up.
RedDane
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Posted: 9/10/2013 8:01:18 PM
[Jump To Reply]Originally Posted By Chuy123:
Some are legit and work their way up while others brown nose / suck their way up.


That's about all one can say about it, really.

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Posted: 9/10/2013 8:01:30 PM
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lorazepam
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Posted: 9/10/2013 8:01:49 PM
It ain't what you know, but who you know. Been that way everywhere I have worked.
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Posted: 9/10/2013 8:02:28 PM
Most its who they know. My sister just married a guy from Bain Capital and most of those types of jobs are pretty much family affairs. Her husband and his brother both went to Harvard and had guaranteed positions with Bain upon graduation but it was pretty much prearranged that that was how their lives were going to go. Also have to add, MASSIVE liberals.
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Posted: 9/10/2013 8:03:50 PM
[Jump To Reply]Originally Posted By lorazepam:
It ain't what you know, but who you know. Been that way everywhere I have worked.


I have to disagree.

In my experience, you are correct on a lot of counts but I do know a lot of people who made their way to the top due to what they know.

Hard work will keep you right where you are since it's pretty difficult to find hard workers.
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Posted: 9/10/2013 8:03:59 PM
It is definitely a mixture for most, but there are always a few who make it on brown-nosing, affirmative action or because they know where the skeletons are buried.

I had a CIO who once, in a huge meeting (about 150 people) asked for questions and then, when I indicated I had one, told me to put my hand down because she didn't want any questions from white men.

I filed a complaint through our HR and was told to suck it up.

Fucking cunt ended up getting pushed out of the company later when her incompetence finally caught up with her, but not before she did a LOT of damage.

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LungShot
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Posted: 9/10/2013 8:06:54 PM
It's called networking..
rarecat
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Posted: 9/10/2013 8:08:08 PM
It's a club that requires relationships and pedigree to enter
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rdove
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Posted: 9/10/2013 8:14:55 PM
At first, hard work will move you through the ranks to a certain point, usually middle management, then it turns into a game of who you know and how well you play the politics game. If you pissed a bunch of people off on your ascension to middle management, you will be there forever or until you find another job.

So in short, hard work only gets you so far, then it becomes a game of whether you can 'tow the company line'. If you are a boat rocker, in most cases you'll get passed over for promotions.
tc556guy
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Posted: 9/10/2013 8:16:56 PM
Some people earn their way.
Others, its who you know.
I think its a case by case basis.

I think when you get to a certain level, the people at that level all take care of each other.
They sit on each others Boards, vote for cushy contracts for each other, etc
They went to posh upper crust schools together, their kids go to the same generational schools to make their own connections, its basically an existence that most of us would have no concept of.
You get into the third or fourth generation of this stuff happening and you run into people like the Hiltons or other spoiled brats who have a royalty-like expectation about how they should be treated.
*post contains personal opinion only and should not be considered information released in an official capacity*

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scotchymcdrinkerbean
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Posted: 9/10/2013 8:17:54 PM
I would imagine it varies wildly by the individual.
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CnA
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Posted: 9/10/2013 8:21:23 PM
They are experts of being able to use others work and talents to their advantage. They are great self-promoters and know how to best present themselves to higher management.

Other people may be smarter, more dedicated, and have a higher technical expertise than execs, but if they can't leverage others to their advantage, they simply won't be promoted.

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SD307
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Posted: 9/10/2013 8:21:38 PM
[Last Edit: 9/10/2013 8:22:43 PM by SD307]
it's not who you know it's who knows you. same in any meritocracy a reputation as a problem fixer goes a long way. and one fuck up ruins a thousand attaboys
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Posted: 9/10/2013 8:23:41 PM


itt

defeatist's out them selves

benefactors of good lineage defend themselves




classic class warfare
ContrarianIndicator
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Posted: 9/10/2013 8:25:17 PM
Networking is very important.



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Posted: 9/10/2013 8:26:49 PM
If they created the company, hard work.
If they came up in the company, it probably boils down to who they know.
It is possible with hard work, but networking will get you there faster.
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Posted: 9/10/2013 8:27:15 PM
The answer is yes and people will complain either way.
sporter
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Posted: 9/10/2013 8:27:28 PM
[Last Edit: 9/10/2013 8:30:06 PM by sporter]
Many are brought in that "know" someone. Or they are "marked" to move up due to their lineage, fraternity affiliation, resume, looks etc.

I used to think hard work moved you up, nope. It's all politics and how you play the game, also who you know and how much they like you.

The sad thing is the corporations out there are fat with this waste. They will nickle and dime the workers who produce for the company and the leaches get a highway paved in gold.
cytotox
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Posted: 9/10/2013 8:32:45 PM
[Jump To Reply]Originally Posted By CnA:
They are experts of being able to use others work and talents to their advantage. They are great self-promoters and know how to best present themselves to higher management.

Other people may be smarter, more dedicated, and have a higher technical expertise than execs, but if they can't leverage others to their advantage, they simply won't be promoted.



good post. in fact you would be a poor executive If you couldn't do this. you also must sell yourself. if you aren't showing I can do this and here's why, you will never be noticed.
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Posted: 9/10/2013 8:33:49 PM
In my previous life, I spent 20 years in big corporate America (Fortune 100 & 500 companies) and made it to middle managment. Those that I worked for in those positions (Exec VP's, CFO's, COO's) got their positions thru -

90% = Lucky Sperm Club

10% = Hard Work and Talent
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SPECTRE
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Posted: 9/10/2013 8:33:55 PM
Nepotism and cronyism beats hard work and loyalty every time.
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casey1
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Posted: 9/10/2013 8:38:25 PM
[Last Edit: 9/10/2013 8:38:50 PM by casey1]
The president of Newport News Shipbuilding (before it was sold), rose up through the ranks, started in the apprentice school. In organizing the sale he got around $31 mil I believe. Don't know if the guy was worth it, I left about 4 years before the sale.
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nicholasgentges
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Posted: 9/10/2013 8:40:12 PM
I think it is really dependent from one situation to another.
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Posted: 9/10/2013 8:42:55 PM
The connections you can make at the right school are pretty much invaluable. I know a few complete fucking morons that I went to high school with who have moved into higher level management positions well ahead of schedule, based pretty much all on the fact they went to TCU/SMU. Plus their families were rather well off, so the cost prohibitive nature of those schools was something they never had to deal with.

It's simply the way the game is played the vast majority of the time. If you really want to break into the upper echelon of management or corporate America without those built-in networking advantages, your best option is to get in on a company in the early stages of it's existence, or start your own and see where you can take it. From what I've seen of people who work their way up and are legit, but have none of those intangible connections, they usually stall out middle to upper middle management with no real shot of ever being considered for that next step.
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Posted: 9/10/2013 8:49:09 PM
Both.
tc556guy
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Posted: 9/10/2013 8:52:11 PM
[Jump To Reply]Originally Posted By CnA:
They are experts of being able to use others work and talents to their advantage. They are great self-promoters and know how to best present themselves to higher management.

Other people may be smarter, more dedicated, and have a higher technical expertise than execs, but if they can't leverage others to their advantage, they simply won't be promoted.


That's a lot of words for describing someone as a suck up who gets ahead because of the work others put in.
*post contains personal opinion only and should not be considered information released in an official capacity*

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maleante
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Posted: 9/10/2013 8:52:37 PM
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Cathan91
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Posted: 9/10/2013 8:54:12 PM
I can't imagine pedigree and familial contacts don't play a major role at the really high levels. If "getting your foot in the door" is half the battle, the brats like the one in the OP are halfway to victory the minute they graduate college.

[Jump To Reply]Originally Posted By SD307:
it's not who you know it's who knows you. same in any meritocracy a reputation as a problem fixer goes a long way. and one fuck up ruins a thousand attaboys

The OP's story isn't an example of meritocracy, it's an example of cronyism.

The only question is how widespread this is among large corporations. I have no idea, myself, but I'd guess it's systemic.

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Posted: 9/10/2013 8:54:22 PM
Networking is king. Everyone works hard, but you have to stand out. You keep your head down and work hard, you can plan on working hard and keeping your head down for a long time, its just that simple.
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Posted: 9/10/2013 8:54:44 PM
It varies by the company and the individual for the most part. The thing you have to understand is the fine line between networking and cronyism. For every dumbass that wore out the knees of his/her pants getting a corner office there are 10 jealous bitches projecting their own insecurities on a competent person that also happens to have social skills above that of a 12 year old boy with Aspergers's syndrome.
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eddiein1984
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Posted: 9/10/2013 8:55:27 PM
[Last Edit: 9/10/2013 8:56:27 PM by eddiein1984]
Family connections/university connections/prior professional connections/height and bearing. These seem to be the biggest factors. See, e.g., Mitt Romney. Working hard is for chumps.
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Posted: 9/10/2013 8:57:17 PM
[Last Edit: 9/10/2013 9:00:22 PM by Bubbatheredneck]
My best friend from college only has one promotion left for him at a Fortune 500 company...CEO

He didn't go in with connections, but worked his ass off and was able to make those connections on the inside.

Hard work alone isn't enough. It has to be recognized and appreciated by the right people.


As an aside, he said the corporate jet is by far the #1 über perk that folks kill for.




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Posted: 9/10/2013 8:58:07 PM
Not so much in the company I work for. My best friends Dad is a manager there, has been for almost 25 years. He turned in my resume and helped me get my foot in the door. The rest has been up to me. I started out in the mail room and pretty much worked my way up to the position I am in now as a Business Test Analyst. I don't have a degree, but it is something that I am working on. I'm taking Industry specific courses that will go toward college credit.

My wife started there a few years after I did (we met there). Her situation was similar, a family friend turned in her resume. She is currently a manager there now, as a degree is required for management and she didn't goof off and drop out like I did when I had the chance to finish school.



maleante
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Posted: 9/10/2013 8:58:16 PM
[Jump To Reply]Originally Posted By SPECTRE:
Nepotism and cronyism beats hard work and loyalty every time.


There is no such thing as "loyalty" in a work setting anymore.

Loyalty is a thing of the past.

Today you look out for yourself and no one else.

Business does not care about you. Business is in business to make money, if someone can do your job faster, better, look better doing it, or a robot/program/offshore employee could take your position, your buddy buddy boss will get rid of you in an instant.
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dubBinSEA
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Posted: 9/10/2013 8:59:47 PM
[Jump To Reply]Originally Posted By tc556guy:
Originally Posted By CnA:
They are experts of being able to use others work and talents to their advantage. They are great self-promoters and know how to best present themselves to higher management.

Other people may be smarter, more dedicated, and have a higher technical expertise than execs, but if they can't leverage others to their advantage, they simply won't be promoted.


That's a lot of words for describing someone as a suck up who gets ahead because of the work others put in.


here is one word for you

defeatist

enjoy bro dog
godzillamax
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Posted: 9/10/2013 9:02:38 PM
[Jump To Reply]Originally Posted By eddiein1984:
Family connections/university connections/prior professional connections/height and bearing. These seem to be the biggest factors. See, e.g., Mitt Romney. Working hard is for chumps.

Don't forget good hair and physique. Seems you don't see many top level executives who are short and balding. Granted, that could simply be a byproduct of CEOs being very public figures in today's corporate environment, or it could be simply that many CEOs come from wealthy families and wealthy (men) tend to marry attractive (younger) females which means their offspring have a greater likelihood of being blessed with good genetics for physical traits. Good looking (or rich) people marry good looking people, which usually produce kids who grow up to be good looking. More so over multiple generations.
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Posted: 9/10/2013 9:04:17 PM
Both.
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Posted: 9/10/2013 9:06:22 PM
[Last Edit: 9/10/2013 9:08:19 PM by Mossberg]
It is not who you know, it is who you blow. Suck ass sycophants are always the first ones to get the nod from the boss with a big grin on his face.
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Posted: 9/10/2013 9:06:54 PM
The only real answer is.........Yes.
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Posted: 9/10/2013 9:06:59 PM
It's not what you know, it's who you know...

the VP of Sales at PPG Industries was my mentor in college, he was a fucking wizard.
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Posted: 9/10/2013 9:08:33 PM
From where I stand, it's mostly who they know.
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Posted: 9/10/2013 9:09:25 PM
It depends. Sometimes it's a mix of both. I know of some upper level people who have worked hard and earned it. I know one example where a board member liked the guy for some reason and he is a bumbling idiot in a position of power at a large company. Sometimes people know someone and then still excel.
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Posted: 9/10/2013 9:10:35 PM
If you believe that executives only get there via nepotism and other connections and don't actually bring anything to the table; then you are probably that guy that just couldn't get there and wants to make it about an unfair world where the upper class sticks together and excludes everyone else.

That's not an uncommon way to thing about things. Hell, Marx, Engels, Lenin, Mao, Ho, etc. used it to convince hundreds of millions to work for the state in righteous unity to show the world that it is the people who are the power, not the evil elite.

In my case, 20 years of hard work, devotion to my profession, networking, reputation building, hard-earned knowledge of business and finance, and the ability to lead groups of talented individuals to one success after another. No one gave me shit.
999monkeys
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Posted: 9/10/2013 9:11:47 PM
[Jump To Reply]Originally Posted By CnA:
They are experts of being able to use others work and talents to their advantage. They are great self-promoters and know how to best present themselves to higher management.

Other people may be smarter, more dedicated, and have a higher technical expertise than execs, but if they can't leverage others to their advantage, they simply won't be promoted.



This post nails it. Hard work and intelligence are commodities and, like any cog in the machine, easily replaced. If this weren't the case, all execs would be Asian
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Posted: 9/10/2013 9:13:28 PM

I worked 25 years for a major oil company.
It is a mixture of hard workers and butt kissers.
Sometimes it is employees that dont know how to get a job done and they dont fit into a slot.
I have watched friends give up their families, and life outside work to climb to the top. You have to have that "want" for power.
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Posted: 9/10/2013 9:14:58 PM
something something something squeaky wheel gets the grease
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Posted: 9/10/2013 9:17:33 PM
From what I have seen you either need to take smoke breaks with upper management, go out for after work drinks with them, or apparently have some type of dirt on them. I certainly don't get it as I see the most incompetent people move up quick in management. At my former work place a guy who only knew how to turn on his computer and check his email was made Chief Information Officer. WTF. He started out as a low man in a tiny department basically pushing paperwork. Then he got promoted to run that department. Then a couple years later got promoted to a new chief officer position and then a year later added the CIO position. From a nobody to pretty much 2nd in charge in 5 years and the guy was a sleazy, lazy, lying piece of shit.

The people running the show there now basically got the job because the top two people got themselves let got. Moral of the company has been in the toilet for the last 6 years, almost everyone I worked with has left mainly due to the new idiot they had put in charge over IT. He actually knows IT but ran it all into the ground because he is a lazy liar who will take credit for what other people do and blame others when he screws up.
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Posted: 9/10/2013 9:17:34 PM
[Jump To Reply]Originally Posted By Cathan91:
I can't imagine pedigree and familial contacts don't play a major role at the really high levels. If "getting your foot in the door" is half the battle, the brats like the one in the OP are halfway to victory the minute they graduate college.

Originally Posted By SD307:
it's not who you know it's who knows you. same in any meritocracy a reputation as a problem fixer goes a long way. and one fuck up ruins a thousand attaboys

The OP's story isn't an example of meritocracy, it's an example of cronyism.

The only question is how widespread this is among large corporations. I have no idea, myself, but I'd guess it's systemic.



It seems you constantly read about CEOs who do abysmal jobs but after "leaving" their employer are promptly hired at other fortune 500 companies. I would think if someone's performance was so bad running one company who would want them running another?
“All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.”
- Edmund Burke

"The price of freedom is eternal vigilance."
- Thomas Jefferson
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