The phrase “to fit in our team” is to pay rent for having occupied my mind for too long, or I need to set it free immediately. I used to wonder what it really meant. In my line of previous thinking, it should mean that my contribution to team work should be complimentary to the contributions of the other team members. So, to assess whether I fit in, my qualifications and capabilities should be evaluated. And that is how I prepared for job interviews and the occasional reviews. I did not mind showing them that I knew how to tie my own shoelaces and to button my own coat.
After a while on the job, my line of thinking would seem to be out of sync. People did not like the way I did things. I could turn in an excellent report, but I would then have to listen to nonsense about my behavior. That is not how “we do things around here.” Well, how do you do things then? My question would get met with a cold stare, or with a very enlightening “how we always do it.” I would look at the job specifications again. I could not find “how we do things around here” on it. So, I would have to find out myself.
After years and years of ‘research’ – that is, bumping my head against brick walls and glass ceilings alike – I finally came to understand that my line of thinking had been out of their line. That was enough to not “fit in” their team. I had followed the rules as provided to me by their fool schooling and studies. I was working by their fool book most of the time. My once-in-a-while tantrum fit perfectly with how they did things, so that could not be the problem. What was the problem then?
Follow the money. I had spent buckets of bucks on fool school to teach me how to fit in, to find that I did not. The government had promised me that I could easily pay off the student loan with my management job. There was one little problem. The government had no management job set up for me after graduation. And to get one myself, I all of a sudden had to fit into a team that had magic rules. What was wrong with this picture?
I had fallen for the fool school scam. I did not only believe that fool schooling would lead to me getting a good job, I also believed that I would be entitled to it because of it. It turned out that the real world did not care! Now, it is important to have some decent degree, to show that one can obey random rules, and thus random authority, to get ‘ahead’ in life. But, it is not as important as “fitting in the team.” Which has nothing to do with degrees or academics. As already stated, it has to do with following magic rules.
And magic rules are not taught at fool school. Fool school is magic in itself. Empty promises and worthless degrees, for some corporate team to rescue me and give me worth. To get into the team is to get past other gatekeepers first. The recruiters look for someone who already acts the way a member of the ‘team’ is supposed to act. Which is what students in private schools get taught. To paint a clearer picture: there are two teams. One team is management, the other team is not-management. To be a member of either team, one has to be willing to act dumb enough to show that one will jump on command.
However, only people applying for not-management jobs are allowed to actually not be so bright. It is highly recommended, as they will have to do whatever they are told to do, and not be bright enough to know where to find better employment elsewhere. This type of person will usually have gone to public school, and never turned off its programming. They will fit in well with the pool of underlings without much effort.
This fool school program does not apply to management. Management worthy of being called management, is a different team. As ruthless as management is with the underlings, they are even more ruthless among themselves. But, on management level, the game is played more covertly. This is where the magic rules come in. One can only attack other managers openly when one has a solid power base, or one is most ruthless and feared in accordance. A new manager will have to play dumb until it is clear who is smartest, and then push to fit into the team of the strongest player. Students in private schools get taught this and much more, and learn to apply these magic rules. They know that to attack openly is to be dumb. And a dumb – not pretending but really that stupid – manager does not fit in the team.
I had to re-educate myself to understand why fool school was a hindrance, instead of a help. Instead of spending too many years learning about useless theories while experiencing the reality of the theory of debt, I could have spent way less money on a private coach with field experience, to teach me the rules of the game – and the real game behind the game. I would have had a management job, without having to pay off a ridiculous student loan. An inflated loan that I got suckered into. If I was stupid enough to fall for their fool school scam, then I was not going to put up much of a fight against their student loan scam either. The game behind the game. Money vampires. They are a ruthless bunch.
The story does not end with “fitting in”. Anyone who manages to fit in, has to keep it up. Management will unleash fool trickery to keep not-management jumping in their seats. Any weak spot of not-management will be used against them. The old weak spots of not-management were revealed in the job interviews and background checks, and new weak spots were later added to their personnel files. Management knows that Larry with three children in high school and a wife addicted to pharma-drugs, cannot afford to lose his job. So, to get Larry to do as they say, all they have to do is threaten him with losing his job.
As Larry complies to the insanity, he fits in perfectly. The managers also fit their team perfectly for keeping their underlings in check. The surge of power felt from Larry trembling, is used to continue playing passive-aggressive games with other managers to be able to get a better position in the corporation. The more managers, the more the need to be skillful in playing the game. It is all one big game to them. How to get any work done? The underlings come back into view.
As long as I did not know what it really meant to “fit in”, I was willing to try to achieve getting the fit right. Now, that I know what it means, I feel sick to my stomach. As an underling, I watched my team members get exploited and victimized. As a manager, I had to divide my attention between keeping underlings in line and away from my job, and keeping other managers out of line and move in on their jobs. Where in this mix would I get to enjoy my life? When I retire? Oh, why do I not retire right now then?
The thought of early retirement is energizing. I can practice right now with not having a pension. By the time I hit 70 or whatever age they will demand of us, there will not be enough pension to buy toilet paper with once a month. Instead of panicking at 70 and risking a heart attack, I can deal with that reality right now. Instead of fighting over my meager bones with mean dog-eating managers, I can rub shoulders with the ones who have been through it all. The ones who have retired in time to still have a pension. I may fit in their team better than all the other ones, as I have been raised to respect the elderly. Yes, it may be time to put that program to good use.