Thoughtful Thursday: Inner Circle

November 21, 2013

Thoughtful Thursday

Welcome to the November Intelligentsia.

#47: Elana from Elana’s Musings
#39: Strongblonde from Strong Blonde
#29: St. Elsewhere
#27: Lori from Write Mind Open Heart
#22: Sara from Aryanhwy
#17: Ana from Ana Begins
#17: Cat

Thoughtful ThursdayIf you watched The Office during the brief Will Ferrell era, you may remember the Inner Circle episode. The new boss hand-picked a few people for exclusive meetings, including some obvious choices like Jim and counter-intuitive choices like Kevin. The inner circle was particularly egregious because everyone could see the secret meetings going on, so everyone else knew that they had been left out of the inner circle.

I’ve never experienced the inner circle phenomenon, as far as I know — if it has gone on around me, I guess my bosses have been good at hiding their existence. Recently, though, the Big Boss has, for some reason, brought me into his inner circle. A few weeks ago there was a meeting to make some big decisions, with 3 very senior staff, a newly recruited hotshot, and me. I frankly held my own in the meeting, but still I had no business being on the list. No one asked me what the hell I was doing there, but they would have been totally within reason if they had.

Then again today, I was on a short list of people that Big Boss emailed to ask for a vote on something. I should be at #23 in the organizational hierarchy based on status and experience, but somehow I made Big Boss’s top 7.

This is all particularly ironic given that one of my immediate bosses is constantly disappointed in my work. Today was the first meeting in two months where she didn’t chastise me for something. Two weeks ago I totally killed it with outstanding work, which she absolutely couldn’t criticize, so instead she complained that I hadn’t turned in my time card.

Yeah well fuck her. I am riding my inner circle membership all the way to the top! I will leapfrog right over her!

Until Big Boss retires.

Have you ever been in the inner circle? Have you ever been left out of the inner circle?

8 Responses to “Thoughtful Thursday: Inner Circle”

  1. Mina Says:

    As an interpreter, I was both in and out of inner circles. I had to take part in looooong, exhausting meetings, but I had no important decision to make, except for how much politeness to slather on some angry words which were obviously not polite. I knew loads of stuff, but I had no input during the meetings (except for the obvious interpreting, duh). I was vital to some meetings (when I was needed to duly certify documents without which proceedings were not legally valid), yet I was also invisible – once I had to take care of my own transportation because they forgot about me, and did not take me in any of the many cars they drove in to court, and when they realised that I was not with them, they started to frantically call me and summon me there. As if I were able to magically fly over congested traffic of 7 mil inhabitants capital. That sucked. Most businessmen I interpreted for were dickheads (pardon my french). This is why I prefered shifting my focus to translating, and only interpret when I had no other choice.
    From this perspective, inner circles can leave me alone, thankyouverymuch.

  2. Sara Says:

    I have had an interesting experience in one of my long term (since high-school) hobbies, where I was not in the inner circle even when I was one of the three society-wide officers for that particular subset of the organisation. It didn’t really bother me. I did my job, and if other people want to be all cliquey about it, eh. Fine. I don’t care.

    I have lately been in the process of creating an inner circle, of sorts. It’s for people that are doing the same sorts of cool things I’m doing and like the same sorts of things I like, but, for various reasons, will never get into the inner circle mentioned above. So I’m gathering them and collecting them all, and we’re having our own grand fun!

  3. Elana Kahn Says:

    When I was in Israel on a choir trip there was a time when the conductor picked a few of us to sing with him, and he told us that if could he would have made up a choir of just us and done a concert or let us have a “select group” piece. Other than that, I have been chosen for select choir and orchestra ensembles, but I was never in the inner circle for work purposes.

  4. St. Elsewhere Says:

    Not the inner circle in the perfect sense, but we did have some shuffling in the office which led me to some status that is first line of contact for the rest of the specialization faculty. Sounds glamorous, right? It isn’t. I get specially called in for bitchy rants and jealousy.

    Since my entry in this current workplace, there was a small group of co-workers that I used to regularly lunch with. We were “friends”. Over the years, people came and left, and then my participation was hindered because of my pregnancies, and then my maternity leave.

    After I joined office post maternity leave, I continued to sit with them for lunch, but the scene had changed. There were some new additions in the group, and I felt like an outsider for several reasons. It felt that there was an inner orbit inside the group and I was not on it. Needless to say, I quit that group and no longer sit with them.

  5. strongblonde Says:

    I live my academic life mostly NOT within an inner circle. And for the most part I am okay with that. I do have some interaction with my big boss that people interpret as being in the inner circle….but I don’t see it that way. After doing a webinar with her last week she said goodbye to me, but called me by a different name. I think that supports the fact that I am NOT in the inner circle. For me, I’m happy just being able to do my job and do it well. I think I can do that without being in the inner circle, but at times it does make it difficult. In September my immediate boss left for another university and left our department under the charge of another person. She doesn’t really know any of us, so we all are out of her inner circle. I do feel a bit at a disadvantage because of that, but because there are 40 of us that are in the same boat it doesn’t feel so lonely.


  6. Lol. Easy explanation. Big Boss is intelligent and Immediate Boss is jealous/insecure.

    I was once in a boss’s inner circle. It cost a lot to be there, to owe loyalty to someone whom you didn’t always consider well-behaved.

  7. Ana Says:

    No, not at work. I sometimes get a deja vu to the teen years…feeling on the outside looking in. I have been (rarely) part of the social “inner circle”, like when I worked in a lab and was good friends with many of the key people. After years and years of always feeling on the outside, that did feel good.

  8. Cat Says:

    I was never in anyone’s inner circle at work, but apparently have what a former boss called my ‘circle of trust’. Now I’m in a small facebook group that’s spun off from a larger group of moms that I suppose could be called an inner circle, but probably isn’t. So, I guess, no, I’ve never been in an inner circle.


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