Remembering the way I felt before stepping into an arena that would somehow change my terms of reference is quite a stretch nowadays, but there were quite a few of them, back in the day. Now I can look back and wonder what the fuss was about, but nothing could prepare me for the transitions as they happened.
In the long run, I’ve learnt that people are people – a banal conclusion, but essentially the truth. Learning about social codes of conduct is the element that makes a difference.
Once a person has spent time learning the ways of the group, institution or company, the rest of the interaction becomes a game. As a team member, a new entrant eventually gains access to the knowledge and authority to make assessments about others in the group, and also about those on the outside. Is there any point in looking to others for a sense of validation about anything?
In the wider scheme of things, the majority of people will never know what it feels like to be included in that group. Babies are born, people pass away, life goes on and the expectations each of us might have about being “in with the in crowd” turn out to be of little or no importance.
In some cultures, the penny has dropped for most folks, that anyone can form a group and find ways to make it appear to be exclusive or elitist. This is one of the healthy by products of the era we live in. Looking in from outside might be daunting to a rookie or an ingénue, but once the process has been demystified, all that is left is illusory and based on each person’s perception.