When I was in middle school I was a pretty big guy. Big being a euphemism for fat. I also hadn’t figured out what to do with my hair yet. And I wore slacks instead of jeans. And I didn’t know the first thing about how to talk to girls. When I had a growth spurt in the 8th grade, started combing my hair back, and got comfortable in jeans, social acceptability followed. By the time I was in high school, no one knew what an unpleasant dork I had previously been.

That lead to some interesting experiences. When people who became my friends said nasty things about fat kids, they didn’t know that I used to be fat. When girls made unfavorable comments about nerds, they didn’t know how much of one I was. Every negative thing they said about who I used to be was noted, registered, and put in the back of my mind. The more of them there were, the less likely I was to get too close to them. Some of them wondered why I always kept my distance.

The biggest contingent on the OSI Team has been the Kimball Alumni Club. Kimball is one of the bigger employers in the Mocum area, handling customer service for cell phone companies. Deseret is a dream for phone support outsourcing. You have articulate young men and women with a solid education and a good command of the English language without a whole lot of job prospects. Phone support jobs here pay $2/hr less than they do in Colosse and are twice as difficult to get.

The first Kimball alum to get hired at Falstaff was Simon. Simon got the job the way most people did at that point: he knew someone else that worked here at the time. Once Kimball saw jobs that paid $9.50 an hour doing easier and more respectable work than answering phones (codemonkey beats phonemonkey on a resume), at every opening he would call one of his friends at Kimball. First was Del, whom I wish hadn’t been promoted out of the department because we could really use him. Second was Melvin, who is the best programmer OSI has ever seen. Then came Martin, whose ability to wade through docs. Take the best and most important full-time people the department has seen in the past year, and almost all of them came from Kimball.

I am an exception. But at some point I got incorporated into that group. Not sure when it was, but I think it was when we were conspiring to get rid of Golden Boy, or maybe it was when Melvin got moved into QA, making 2/3 of QA Kimball alums. I’m not only not sure when I became part of the group, but I’m not sure when we actually became a group.

Since coming to Falstaff, Simon has quietly been building an empire.

One of the ongoing problems in the department is that everyone is enthusiastic about doing everything that isn’t their job. I was always aching to work on my database application; Melvin has Melvin’s App; Adam is always volunteering for stuff that will get him out of actual ANG programming. There is painstakingly little that is glamorous about what we do within the company. It looks good on a resume, but it generates little respect within the company. As such, there is a drive to become more than just an ANG Programmer or OSI Programmer. The good news is that a lot of people have found a lot of ways to contribute to the company. The bad news is that people sound offended when you tell them that while the project they’re proposing sounds great, our programming workload is only increasing. The problem is that as Falstaff starts hiring increasingly overqualified people for the department, everyone believes that they are worthy of more than they are presently tasked with doing.

And, for the most part, they are.

I’m not sure if anyone has a bigger claim to overqualification than Freddie Paste. Freddie graduated Cum Laude from the University of Tennessee with a degree in Computer Science. His first job turned out to be a drafting position, where he learned that skill as well. But despite the overqualification he brings to the position, only Simon is better at keeping his nose to the grindstone. The guy is a workhorse. His productivity is phenomenal and his accuracy is not bad. He was hired on to work on reports, so he works on reports. Works overtime when asked. Works through lunch when asked. Doesn’t get distracted when conversation strikes.

Freddie and I get along quite well. He was here for a couple months before I ever really talked to him, but once I did we were natural friends. We’re both southerners. We both have college degrees and are probably the two most overqualified people in the department. We both came to Deseret because of opportunities for our wives.

I’ve noticed in recent weeks, however, that it seems that the Kimball Alumni are unusually hostile towards Freddie. They were not particularly congratulatory when Freddie got Employee of the Month. The general consensus was that he got it because they were itching to give it to someone in our department and he was the pointleader. Freddie is never really invited to our outings, though I’m not sure if he would really go to begin with. Freddie, for his part, is not the most social person in the world.

It does make me wonder, however, the basis on which I got incorporated into their group and he did not. Was it because I got deference by Melvin and Martin because I was in QA grading their work? Did Simon and I get along because QA can be a lonely place to be? Because Paige liked me? Am I there by way of luck and if I wasn’t in their group would they think that I got the leadership position because I get along better with Willard than they do?

They’re nowhere near cruel to Freddie as my confidants in high school were about the fat kids and the nerds. But they are oddly indifferent and not nearly as friendly. It leads me to wonder about those that I am unfriendly to and how much of that is circumstancial.

It’s interesting to think about… and not particularly in a good way.


Category: Office, School

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3 Responses to Cliquery

  1. Becky says:

    One of the things I always run into are people that make unsolicited derogatory comments about people that work at Hooters, when my sister, sister-in-law and brother worked there (he was a cook).

    Not knowing you in-person, it’s hard to say as to why you were invited, but perhaps you don’t give yourself enough credit.

  2. trumwill says:

    I’m not opinionated on Hooters one way or the other, but my big thing is trailer parks. I immensely dislike the way people make assumptions about “trailer park trash”… mostly because my ex-girlfriend was raised in one. The stereotypes are unfortunately true often enough to persist, but I do wish people
    would think twice before employing the stereotype.

    Oh, it’s not that I think I’m “unworthy” of being a member of the group. I am one of the two most socially adept people in the group. It’s just that they all have a lot in common (raised in Mocum, worked at Kimball, etc) so I’m a conspicuous exception. Then again, Martin may feel that way too since he is the only Mormon in the group. Hard to say.

  3. Hit Coffee » Catfights says:

    […] 7;re also less people-oriented. We never were at each other’s throats, but until the Kimball Alumni Club formed, no one in OSI was particularly close to anyone else in OSI. The ANG ladies wo […]

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