Tight Circle … June 10, 2013

Cliques, a small exclusive group of people. You can be pseudo friends to these people individually, but when the group gathers, you … disappear.

Have you ever had a friend, someone at least that you thought a friend, who, when you are talking to them alone was as much a friend as friend could be, but when one of their “clique” friends approaches, that friend begins to talk to them exclusively? Sometimes they even close up together where you find yourself looking at your friend’s back. You check to see if perhaps you have become invisible, the fabric of which you are made having become transparent. You might as well have popped into another dimension where you could see them but they could not see you.

Cliques made up of exclusive friends, cliques which close you out. Impenetrable fortresses of individuals occurring in organizations of various types. No matter where you go unless you are part of a dominant clique your opportunities are diminished.  Some places you have to know one of these “beautiful” people to even get in the door. Usually, though, even if you manage to get in the door you find yourself still excluded, and opportunities you might have had as part of the clique, are denied. The “beautiful” people, as some have labeled them, have benefits beyond the isolated “lone wolf”, protecting them from being fired, laid off, or even reprimanded. They get the easiest positions, positions of little risk. They zoom past you, elevated to high positions despite the fact they lack the necessary qualifications, expecting you to make it work for them.

It’s not just business where these cliques of special people exist. It matters not where you go, you will find them.

Common threads align these beautiful people. They develop bonds amongst themselves, looking out for one another. If there is some advantage to be had, or some prize to distribute, some honor to bestow, they look at one another and not upon those who are outside the group, no matter how skilled or deserving someone else might be.

Ever been a part of a discussion group wherein you made a comment, a sensible pertinent comment, only to have the group stare at you in silence or mutter some incomprehensible remark, change the topic, ignoring the relevance of your offering? Then, later, one of the “beautiful” people make the same comment and a lively discussion ensues. I have. It’s most demeaning.

Your talents can be of the highest caliber, you could have attended the finest school, you might have the most stupendous of recommendations, but unless you are one of the “beautiful” people don’t hold your breath waiting for recognition.

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15 Responses to Tight Circle … June 10, 2013

  1. john zande says:

    Precisely why one must cut their own wake. Waiting on the recognition of others is a futile exercise. Forge ahead, make them follow….

  2. drenn1077 says:

    You cannot cut your own wake if they will not let you in the water.

  3. john zande says:

    Sure, some people can make it difficult, but no one “owns” the water 😉

    Is everything ok?

  4. Fred Levins says:

    I remember well reading and contemplating the “Opinion Shapers” columns of Karen Thebault.

    On January 1, 2012, the MNJ published her column “The reasons for joblessness are evident.” It was the column in which she wrote at length about her ideas concerning the “beautiful people.”

    In it, she wrote: “I have been working here for the last 40 years. … If you examine many of the businesses here, it isn’t difficult to discover employees are divided into two groups by management: the worker bees and the beautiful people. The criteria of those who do not work are simple: be sexy, possess language that would make a longshoreman blush and scream really loud. … Management divides the employees up into these two groups and treats each one differently. … The beautiful people are not simply satisfied with being able to do nothing; they spend all this free time tormenting the new hires.”

    Reading this reminds me quite a bit of the worst aspects of the typical social landscape found in American high schools. It is truly remarkable to think, based on this report, that such a destructive development of subgroups persisted, even persists, in some (or most) adult work environments in Mansfield.

    At the end of the January 2012 column, you posted a comment in agreement with some (I think probably not all) of her statements. You began with this sentence: “This letter is the most concise I have ever seen describing a phenomenon that occurs in every work place I have ever been part of.”

    Ms. Thebault’s final OS column was published on July 1, 2012, entitled “We can do better counting, assisting unemployed.” I commented:

    “The topic that you have been writing about in your columns is an extremely important one. The consequences of long term unemployment in our society are potentially grave, even fatal. The problem is all too common in Mansfield and the country at large at this time.

    I am sorry that you are presently in such a distressing situation. The future is unknown; I hope yours is brighter further down the line.”

  5. Fred Levins says:

    Just to be clear concerning my placement of quotation marks, the final paragraph of my earlier post was directed to Ms. Thebault. My comment to Ms. Thebault in July 2012 consisted of two short paragraphs.

  6. drenn1077 says:

    I was thinking of her letter when I wrote this particular post.
    I have always felt that cliques existed everywhere, people who were above the rules, more important than others, Ms Thebeault gave them the label. Though I have heard this label used before hers is the most recent reference.

  7. drenn1077 says:

    Everything is fine with me. I hope you are faring well also.

  8. john zande says:

    I’d be much better if we could sort out the stray dog/cat problems in this country. The rescues just never stop, and there just isn’t a spading policy here. Breaks my heart.

  9. drenn1077 says:

    In my neighborhood the problem is an overabundance of stray cats. You cannot walk in my backyard without training your eyes on the ground and avoiding the “landmines”.

  10. Fred Levins says:

    Spelling: I misspelled Ms. Thebeault’s name, leaving out the “e” following the “b.”

  11. Fred Levins says:

    Here is your entire comment from January 2012:

    • Drenn Workman • Top commenter • Mansfield Ohio State University
    This letter is the most concise I have ever seen describing a phenomenon that occurs in every work place I have ever been part of. Favoritism, though the writer did not call it, is practiced in every worker environment I have seen, and no doubt every worker environment in Mansfield. There are certain people who, by their behavior, appearance, even their family relation to those in upper management, receive extraordinarily generous treatment. If you come in, do your job, even do it extraordinarily well, if you are not one of these “beautiful” people, you are just a worker, a body filling a slot, to be used, abused, discarded, and replaced.
    When layoff time comes, these beautiful people are protected, moved into jobs that will protect them from lay off, even if they are unqualified for those jobs. I have seen this.
    • Follow Post • 1 January at 10:21

  12. drenn1077 says:

    Yes. I think it quite well describes my feeling about this issue. I have seen people receive extraordinary leniency for transgressions that would get those not favored fired. Carol is still seeing this favoritism play out. People who are favored are not reprimanded for offenses others receive severe lectures about. Whether these people are good friends or have some dirt on the boss is not clear, but the favorable treatment is clear to see.

  13. Fred Levins says:

    Group formation and the formation of destructive subgroups in any setting is a vast topic.

    I found this New York Times article to be of potential wide interest.
    June 23, 2013
    “In the Bible Belt, Offering Atheists a Spiritual Home”
    By DAVID THIER

    This link worked for me.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2013/06/24/us/in-the-bible-belt-offering-atheists-a-spiritual-home.html?hp

  14. Fred Levins says:

    The first sentence in my post of 2013/06/24 at 4:07 am should have either been an entirely separate message or eliminated altogether.

  15. drenn1077 says:

    I am glad that I was never deeply immersed in a church setting and therefore do not miss such ceremonies.

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