a reply to: theabsolutetruth
My thoughts in response to what you say here are complex- I don't know if I can express them clearly.
I wonder how much culture influences things) I am in France, where the collective culture is somewhat different- individualism is de-valued and
considered ...well.....assumed to be "bad".
I don't think that changes our deepest human drives- but it might change the ways in which we express those.
What I observe at work though, with the females, is that the motivation of the females who are "ganging up" on one of the others is exactly the same
as your concern- they will call ambition, self confidence, or any sort of individuality "egoism" and consider it something that needs to be
rejected, in preference for a sense of collective equality, conformism, social conscience.
An example- when I first started working there, the woman was being targetted was a nice girl, but she had ambitions- she made it clear she would like
to move up the ladder eventually. Without having done anything except try very hard to prove she was reliable and did her work well, the ambition made
the other women pissed at her. In her case, they actually made her life such hell, she quit within a couple of months.
A more personal example- I fell under fire when a mistake was made at work, but they didn't know who did it. There was a possibility it could have
been me, so I became very concerned about that, and was very cooperative and pro-active in going back to look at all the evidence to figure out if I
In my mind, I was concerned with responsibility- taking responsibility for my own mistakes, so nobody else might end up getting the rap unfairly. I
was also concerned about learning where I screwed up, so that I can be more careful in the future, not to repeat the same mistake.
I saw signs of my females co-workers feeling hostile towards me, and that increased my efforts, as I figured they too, must be worried that I screwed
up and one of them might end up taking the blame in my place!
I confronted the females directly and kindly, promising them that if I did it, I will find proof and take all the responsibility- they did not have to
worry. They blew up.
Apparently, what they had expected of me was that I remain vague and distant with the boss, proclaiming "It could have been me, it could have been
anyone. We'll never know." Refusing to give any other info about the actions and movements I had made earlier- keeping them from being able to
The idea (it took me a while to understand what they were saying) was that if we remained a solid block, no individual would be saddled with the
responsibility- we'd take it as a group, no one would be to blame, and no one could be reprimanded. A form of group solidarity that my american
mentality had never considered.
I kept wondering how we, as a team working together, can progress if we don't honestly look at our mistakes and learn from them...?
Within a couple of days, the investigation showed they I didn't (couldn't have) been the guilty one, and in fact, it uncovered that it was another
of my female co-workers. I didn't expect that.
I realized that my determination to be a honest and conscientious team member actually brought to the forefront our individual responsibility- even
those that were not keen on such concepts. I got myself in the dog house for that month. The cruelty that those women could dish out was rather
impressive and I could see how a person could end up quitting, or having a nervous break down.
But what is interesting is that from my view, I was trying to be considerate of the group, and from theirs, that was not at all what I was doing.
Perhaps they saw me as being a "princess"! I was almost completely sure I had been the one who made a mistake somewhere, and my actions to find
where that was would relieve all the others from any suspicion.
IN the end, I talked privately with the boss, and the explanation was sort of vaguely blamed on an exterior person accidently doing something wrong,
so my co-worker did not get in trouble. They don't know I did that, and she thinks it was just a coup de chance- a stroke of luck, for her. It
turned out she was aware all along she had done it, and was just relying on group solidarity to keep that hidden.
The reason I bring up that example is to illustrate- the ganging up thing can be seen from either side, as people trying to do what they think is best
and right for all. Kind of weird, how the best intentions can pave the road to hell, I guess they say???