Federal Employees News Digest

The good ole' boys

Is there an old boy or old girl network where you work?  Are only certain pre-selected people destined to get ahead in your shop regardless of talent? Or lack of thereof? Ask yourself a couple of questions:

  1. Have you ever seen the boss naked?  Or maybe even worse, in a thong bathing suit?
  2. Ever been in the room when your section chief or director hurled in a wastebasket after a night of partying?
  3. Has the chief of staff ever asked you to apply sun tan lotion to his hairy, pock marked back? 
  4. Did you?

I ask because I had a flashback the other day. To a time when key bosses and managers—unbeknownst to we serfs—took vacations together.  Not just parties and weekends but extended one, two and three week trips.  To the Bahamas, to resorts to tropical paradises in winter and mountain or lake retreats in summer.  Just them. A dozen or so people.  All in management ranks.

I worked for a large media company with nearly 1,000 people on the news side.  That was huge then, almost unknown in the modern era of downsizing and outsourcing.  But we did.

I was well up the ladder, one of maybe a dozen columnists. Most were writers, editors, researchers, photographers or clerical or administrative staff.  Generally speaking, it was the ivy leaguers and the rest of us. 

The boss clearly had certain favorites, which we accepted because he was so good, so cool, so charming that it didn’t matter.  In fact, I secretly hoped he would never ask me to his mountain retreat or beach house.  I was afraid I would embarrass myself.  Should I bring a six-pack?  How about soap? How do the rich and famous really live?

My prayers were answered.  I was never asked.  Call me lucky.

That sort of discrimination was one thing—social/educational segregation.  I got it.  Although, I was on the losing side, I realized I didn’t have what they wanted.  I’d never be a top do because of my social standing and inferior (to them) education.  Just a lone wolf columnist which I liked anyhow. The elite system (like the British Army of old) produced some wonderful, talented people. 

Then I went to another place of employment where it was the same, and yet very different.

Not as classy as the previous employer, but a big deal nevertheless.  But, what they did was different.  Which I didn’t get for a while because it lacked the elitism of the previous employer.

I first noticed it when I heard about guys (not ladies) from work golfing together.  Since I don’t golf, it didn’t bother me.  I couldn’t afford it as a kid (golf and tennis were for the rich) and I no interest as an adult.

Then I heard about paint-ball shooting.  Again all guys.  By invitation only you went out in the woods and shot at each other until one team ‘killed’ off the other.  Sounded like heaps of fun, but. I was never asked.  But the guys who did play got the promotions and the bonuses.

That seemed to go away.  But it was replaced by what I call Club Med.  Six to a dozen people, all from the same organization, going on vacation together.  For years.  And all of them moving up. All the time.  Vacation after vacation.  Is that a good thing?

From what I could tell none of the Club Med folks were (or are) married.  Many have been, but not now.  Or at least when I found out.  Most are bosses or section chiefs. None seem to go as a couple.  Some also take outside (non-work) friends.  Sometimes they get a group house. Sometimes separate rooms.  From what I could tell while carefully investigating, there is no inter-office romance.  They may meet people while on vacation but it was mostly described to me as just “the gang” on vacation. 

Once you “discover’ something the obvious question is, is this a revelation or am I just naïve? Am I always the last to know? Does this happen at lots of places.  Or everywhere.  Or is it unusual. Question marks everywhere. 

Is this wrong, or reality?



Reader comments

Wed, Sep 18, 2019 Hiram Abiff

It's real and it's everywhere; in fact, it may actually be illegal...but surely this was a rhetorical question

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