Office Politics

September 5, 2008

i don’t know if it’s due to the election, Michael Scott, my job in the staffing industry, or reality television shows, but lately i’ve had this weird fascination with office politics or team politics or group politics. how organized groups of people interact with one another. organizational behavior, if you will.

i go into a store and right away questions about the internal workings – the behind the scenes – start popping into my head.

Let me illustrate:

On Saturday, I walked into American Apparel. Right away, I began to wonder whether the sales people are more competitive about who sells the most apparel (a.k.a. a “traditional sales job” at a clothing store) or more concerned with proving their ultimate hipster style (a.k.a. wearing these, these, this, and this on the same day and (somehow) looking fantastic)? (note: a tweaked version of this illustration also occurs when i walk into urban outfitters or H&M).

and, i don’t limit my ruminations to retailers. last friday, i got my haircut at a place that seems to require employees to accessorize with tattoos, tongue rings, and hairstyles that make Christian’s cowlick look not-so-fierce. Everyone was dressed in hipster garb. And, yes, styles from the 50s, the 60s, the 70s, 80s, and 90s were all represented.

you can imagine the stream of consciousness, the inner dialogue, the sarcastic commentary running through my head. please feel free to disagree with me but american apparel fashionistas are complete wannabes compared to this breed of hairstylists. Plus, as stylists, these ‘dressers want you to look “wonderful” or “fabulous” or “to die for” or whatever. for better or worse, you’re their art.

so, as i’m sitting there, agreeing with my ‘dresser on “what we’re going to do” (…where i get to “do” nothing but stare at myself…), my mind drifts to the usual. are there cliques in hair salons? what is proper protocol if one hairdresser is really bad? do you tell him or her? do you fix his or her client’s hair before letting the client walk out the door? do you just whisper about the dresser’s lack of skills and secretly refer to him or her as “B.S.D.” (beauty school dropout).

okay, artists compete in their own i’m-more-touched-than-you ways.

What about people who compete for a living?

what a treat for me to watch the 2008 Olympics! Especially women’s gymnastics. it’s amazing what those girls can do! (note: i say girls because that’s what they look like).

since every performance looked flawless to me (i.e. a lay viewer who lacks ability to do a somersault), i found myself most intrigued by what happened after a competitor’s performance than by the performance itself. i wasn’t even that interested in hearing the scores now that the Olympic gods have declared judging girls’ gymnastics a mind-boggling event. the scores could’ve been announced in Chinese for all i knew (without translation!).

the juicy part for me was this in-between time. i was almost-addicted to watching how a competitor handled herself as she awaited her scores.

and these competitors? these women gymnasts? they are not your everyday girls. these girls are mot-iva-ted. they put all of my life accomplishments to shame (…minus my contributions to nonpretentious!…)

i take it there are some established protocols in the olympics, including how to conduct yourself once you’re performance has ended.

i noticed that, in general, once a gymnast dismounted, she rushed over to the Team USA huddle, she hugged the USA coach first, maybe she hugged a personal coach second, and then she interacted with the rest of the team as she awaited her scores.

if i’m not mistaken, the way the Olympics are set up, technically, these girls are competing against themselves for individual medals. how can you truly be happy for someone (or two) who steals all of the glory, the press, and the medals?

bottom line: what’s with all these hugs?

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3 Responses to “ Office Politics ”

  1. NewssyLee on September 5, 2008 at 7:57 pm

    Thanks to you

  2. revisingproust on September 5, 2008 at 11:08 pm

    why thanks to me?

  3. bucky_katz on September 6, 2008 at 10:13 pm

    the best is to see how the gymnast who blew it for the american team in the all around got shunned by her teammates. nobody said anything to her and she was forced to sit in her little corner and wait for the scores of death.

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