There are far worse fates in the business world than being groomed for a job. Generally speaking, whenever a junior executive or an heir to the family business demonstrates significant potential for future advancement, he or she may be taken under the wing of a senior executive and given special attention. Someone who is fortunate enough to be groomed for a job usually understands the level of company loyalty and years of dedicated service the position will require. If the saying "Many are called, but few are chosen," is true, then someone who is being groomed for a job has definitely been chosen. This is not a business relationship to be taken lightly, similar to the sempai/kosai partnerships formed between senior and junior executives in Japanese business culture.
Someone who is being groomed for a job is often required to learn the business from the ground up, starting with entry-level positions and ending at the executive offices. This is markedly different from the usual practice of hiring a person for a specific position according to skill or experience. A person being groomed for an executive position may not have the prerequisite skills for certain positions, but he or she is expected to learn what it takes to perform the job full-time. Many family-owned companies strongly believe that heirs should know what it's like to work in the manufacturing plant or the central office cubicles. It is hoped that the person being groomed for a supervisory or executive position would develop some empathy for his or her future employees by experiencing their jobs first-hand.
A person being groomed for a job often spends many hours observing the current position holder's daily routine, as well as asking specific questions about job duties and expectations. The grooming process for a high-level executive position or upper managerial appointment is commonly measured in years, not months. A senior executive may decide not to retire or change careers until he or she is satisfied a properly groomed replacement has been found. Even after the new executive or manager has assumed his or her new duties, it would not be unusual for other senior executives to maintain unofficial supervisory roles until the groomed candidate has have an opportunity to prove his or her competency.