Are You in the Out-Group or Going Out?
If there is an in-group, it’s only logical there is an out-group, or at very least people who aren’t part of the in-group. And, as I outlined previously, whether you are in or out can materially affect the progress of your career. Even if you’d rather not play this game, you at least need to know the signals so you can decide whether or when you want to pay attention.
How to know if you are on your way out
This can be subtle and may turn on a seemingly innocuous moment. This is not exhaustive, but here are some signs:
- You hear about things late.
We all occasionally find out important things later than optimal. Nobody told you the critical report has been delayed three weeks. This should be easily addressed. If you speak to the forgetter and you get an “Omg, I should have told you. Sorry, won’t happen again,” you can probably chalk it up to what it seems—an honest mistake.
But if this starts happening frequently and possibly from different sources, even if you get the omg thing, something may be up. Your suspicion radar should be beeping if, on confronting the ‘forgetter,’ you get a ‘do I care’ sense even if not said. Another yellow alert: the boss makes a big announcement which materially affects your area and you didn’t know about it beforehand.
- Suggestions are not considered.
Of course I’m not talking about your suggestion on how to handle the restroom toilet rolls—I’m talking substantive. Even then, not all your brilliant ideas will get the adulation they deserve. But if the number of your accepted suggestions is consistently falling, it might be that you don’t enjoy the favor you used to. (Course, might just be a spate of bad luck so don’t jump too soon.)
Alarms bells should certainly go off if your ideas are ignored. By that I mean you toss something out and nobody responds. After a moment of silence, the group moves on as if you hadn’t spoken.
- You encounter roadblocks.
What used to be straightforward and easy, suddenly becomes difficult or even impossible. You used to breeze into your boss’ office whenever an idea struck, but now he hasn’t time or, worse, asks you to schedule an appointment. Or he has always turned a blind eye when your weekend started at lunch on Friday (after all, you put in a lot of extra hours), but now makes a fuss when he can’t find you Friday afternoon. If things you used to take for granted are routinely questioned or blocked, you should at least question what it might imply.
- The in-group doesn’t hang with you anymore.
Again, it’s the pattern. Once or even twice, they get together without you—that may be exactly as it looks. However, if you’re feeling as if you’re included as a special treat rather than automatic, there may be something behind that.
The next post covers how to prevent the slide out.