The Mean Girl Show

It starts with a whisper or two.

“She knows the boss, that’s how she got the interview.”

“Look at her, she’s young and pretty, of course she got the job.”

“She hangs out with him and they have this weird relationship. It’s just wrong the things they say and do.”

“I just don’t trust her.”

“She goes right home every day and never stays here after work, she never hangs around to find out what is going on.”

“She never comes to lunch.”

“The boss likes her.”

“She just doesn’t do things the way we do them.”

No one ever knows who whispered it first. Perhaps the all knowing walls were listening one day and shared. Who else would know all of these ‘truths’ that condemn a person from the day they set foot at their new job.

What’s striking, and alarming, is the lack of any first hand knowledge. Most of what drifts along is coupled with, “Well, I heard” rather than “I know”. It’s gossip, it’s hearsay, it’s potentially a lie (if there is no basis in truth) but no one seems to care. They adopt the stance as their own and join the club. They lean in and reply ‘Really!’ with an exclamation mark rather than ‘Really?’with a question mark.

The Mean Girls Show.

Because it is mean. It is sad. Sad for the culture of the workplace because once innuendo is allowed to sway the masses then a power shift begins. Because if you are willing to join the club, willing to pass along words you do not know to be true, then you will become fearful of getting caught outside of

The Mean Girls Show.

And then beware the cult of personality. Because being inside will mean power and being outside will not be an option. And freedom of thought begins to waver. And it just becomes easier (and safer) to say ‘Really!’ rather than ‘Really?’

 

 

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4 thoughts on “The Mean Girl Show

  1. Your piece this week addresses an important topic found not only in schools among the students but, as you demonstrated, among the adult girls. I think the scenario is much more prevalent than people want to believe and I also think that the girls are aware, conscious of what they are doing. When this type of behavior has been allowed to continue, building morale is greatly affected, as being ‘out’ means being ostracized, criticized, and bullied. It lies, unfortunately, deep within the culture of the organization and takes a very strong leader to stamp it out.

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  2. Thanks for this piece. I have found that this culture can be tamped down with leadership that communicates and listens well. Where is that place? For a large cut in salary, I found it and now have a price tag on the value of it. Not that there aren’t mean girls everywhere, but there are some environments where the meanest girl is yourself when you work in an environment where suspicion and a sense of powerlessness prevail. That is why I had the poster, “Be the Change You Want to See in the World” on my classroom door. More for me, than for the students. Not easy. Not always valued. But totally worth it. Even if it means leaving.

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