13

"Enchufado" or "enchufe" is a colloquial way of saying that a person got a job because a friend or relative gave it to him, instead of earning it themselves.

I thought about the word "appointed" but that is too formal and I don't think it conveys quite the same meaning (you could be appointed and still have earned the job).

  • 5
    'through the old boys network'? – John Feltz Oct 26 '16 at 15:30
  • 4
    "His friend pulled some strings to get him the job"? – Damkerng T. Oct 26 '16 at 16:00
20

From SpanishDict

enchufe
masculine noun

  1. (colloquial) (influence)
    a. connections
    Yo estoy mejor cualificado, pero le dieron el trabajo a ella porque tiene enchufe. — I am more qualified, but she got the job because she has connections.
    b. friends in high places (colloquial)
    Tengo un enchufe que te puede ayudar a conseguir un aumento. — I have some friends in high places who might help you get you a raise.

enchufado
adjective

  1. (colloquial) (favored)
    a. well-connected
    Mariano consiguió el puesto de gerente solo porque está enchufado.—Mariano only got the manager position because he's well-connected.
    b. no direct translation
    ¿Sabías que Jaime está enchufado en la empresa de su tío?—Did you know Jaime's got a job in his uncle's company just through his connections?
    Esto está lleno de gente enchufada.—This place is full of people who got a job because of their connections.

masculine or feminine noun

  1. (colloquial) (person with connections)
    a. well-connected person
    En esta empresa solamente los enchufados consiguen un aumento de sueldo.—Only the well-connected people get a raise in this company.
    b. person with pull
    Le di mi nuevo disco a un enchufado que trabaja en la discográfica.—I gave my new album to a person with pull who works at the record company.

As is often the case, there does not seem to exist a direct translation. Although connected and well-connected might not necessarily have negative connotations, they can still be perceived negatively under the right context.
Example.

  • He's obviously underqualified. I bet he got the job because he's got connections.

Less formally, you could say "know someone" or "hook up":

  • He got the job because he knew a guy/someone at the office (on the board, etc).
  • I didn't need to apply. My friend hooked me up with the job.
  • 15
    Second this, good answer. Also, as a general practice, this is called "nepotism", especially when done for family. – Andrew Oct 26 '16 at 15:48
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    Hooked up seems to be the best translation for enchufado, since they match in part of speech (past participle) and in being informal. – J. Siebeneichler Oct 26 '16 at 15:58
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    @Andrew That should be an answer. It is not strictly for family favourtism (although that is where it has its origins) - it is equally proper to use it when speaking of favourtism towards friends, etc. – J... Oct 26 '16 at 16:30
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    @J... I don't think "nepotism" is the right word to use in this context because it describes a general practice and also it's from the other direction. If you set up your family members in cushy jobs, it's nepotism. If you ask your uncle for a cushy job, it's a "family connection". But it's still a good related word. – Andrew Oct 26 '16 at 16:45
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    @Andrew Fair enough. I suppose it's also not colloquial or informal... – J... Oct 26 '16 at 16:50
32

If we are specifically talking about a family member, nepotism is a good word. (It does not apply for friends, however.)

  1. patronage bestowed or favoritism shown on the basis of family relationship, as in business and politics
  • 1
    This is technically correct, but I don't think it's a great answer for an ELL site. 80-90% of native speakers aren't going to know this word. – BlueRaja - Danny Pflughoeft Oct 26 '16 at 19:15
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    @BlueRaja-DannyPflughoeft I've heard this word used in kids' shows, YouTube videos, and numerous other places. I'd say the flip side is more likely true -- maybe 10 to 20 percent of native speakers wouldn't know it. – Eric Oct 26 '16 at 23:13
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    @Eric A short survey of the dozen college-educated adults around me has convinced me the percentage who don't know it is probably closer to 90% than 80% (only 1 out of 12 knew). There is no possible way it's as low as 20%. – BlueRaja - Danny Pflughoeft Oct 26 '16 at 23:19
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    @BlueRaja-DannyPflughoeft I don't have quick access to a sample size that large, but am now wondering if it's a regional thing, as I know multiple ESL students who know the word, as well as heard it used at work by native speakers before. – Eric Oct 26 '16 at 23:39
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    I think "nepotism" is good except that refers to the general practice of "enchufes". I asked for the person who got the job ("enchufado") or at least the action of doing an "enchufe". ("An act of nepotism towards him" doesn't work for me). – user43775 Oct 27 '16 at 10:27
7

The closest I can think of is "Crony", although the term is usually seen as "Cronyism".

And as far as I know, you have to be the Crony of somebody else, you can't just say "a Crony" without some reference as to whose Crony they are.

Example "He's one of Bob's cronies" is OK. But "He's a crony" would need to have been preceded by something to indicate whose crony they are.

See also: Tony's Cronies, and Crony Capitalism.

  • 1
    You could say "He got the job because of cronyism." without explicitly mentioning whose cronies they were, as it would be implied that they're his cronies (or those of someone close). – R.M. Oct 26 '16 at 18:52
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    Yes, you can use "cronyism" that way, but I don't think it sounds right if you say "he got the job because he's a crony". At least, it sounds odd to me. – Adam Thompson Oct 26 '16 at 18:54
4

Nepotism

noun
1. patronage bestowed or favoritism shown on the basis of family relationship, as in business and politics:
She was accused of nepotism when she made her nephew an officer of the firm.

4

Being fluent in Spanish, there isn't a direct equivalent in English in terms of cadence, register, connotations, and of course meaning.

You would have to find another way to express it. E.g., you could talk about a “job for the lads”, shifting the subject of the sentence.

Concerning the answers above, nepotism is a terrible fit. “Estar enchufado” or “ser un enchufado” means to benefit from some sort of favouritism, whether one is related to the person giving or facilitating the job or just a friend, or even a friend of a friend, or even a simple acquaintance in some cases.

  • 1
    +1 but I'd go for "Jobs for the boys" rather than "Jobs for the lads"-"Lads" sounds too lowbrow for favoritism in the chattering classes which I've always heard the word "enchufado" used for. In Spain the complaint is usually political corruption: contracts being given to companies owned by politicians' friends (or even by the politicians themselves.) It stands alone as a phrase rather than fitting gramatically like enchufado does, but is definitely the right register/connotation. On the other hand I might say I got a job through an "enchufe" which I would translate literally as a "connection" – Level River St Oct 27 '16 at 1:22
0

"Old boys club"; "it's who you know"; "friend of the family"; "a legacy" would all be related terms.

-1

How about "Bob's your uncle" being the Nephew of Bob got someone the job he didn't earn

  • 1
    This sounds plausible, but is wrong in every way. That idiom means "everything works out" or "that wraps things up tidily", although really the idiomatic usage is "and Bob's your uncle" after describing some set of actions or events that leads to a good conclusion. – Nathan Tuggy Oct 29 '16 at 0:31

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