Thursday, April 2, 2009


Rising rates of occupational turn-over and the spread of rental-ism into employment relationships are formed and forgotten. This speed-up, however, affects different groups in society in different ways. Thus, in general, working class individuals tend to live closer to, and depend more on their relatives than do middle - and upper-class groups. In the words of psychiatrist Leonard Dhul, 'Their ties of kinship mean more to them, and with less money available distance is more of a handicap.' Working-class people generally take longer to establish ties and are more reluctant to let them go. Not surprisingly, this is reflected in a greater reluctance to move or change jobs. They go when they have to, but seldom from choice. In contrast, psychiatrist Duhl points out, 'The professional, academic and upper-managerial class [in the United States] is bound by interest ties across wide physical spaces and indeed can be said to have more functional relationships. Mobile individuals, easily duplicable relationships, and ties to interest problems depict this group.' What is involved in increasing the through-put of people in one's life are the abilities not only to make ties but to break them, not only to affiliate but to disaffiliate. Those who seem most capable of this adaptive akill are also among the most richly rewarded in society. Seymour Lipset and Reinhard Bendix in Social Mobility in Industrial Society declare that 'the socially mobile among business leaders show an unusual capacity to break away from those who are liabilities and from relationships with those who can help them.' And again, in Big Business Study in America, a study conducted states: 'Before all, these are the men on the move. They left their homes, and all that this implies. They have left behind a standard of living, level of income, and style of life to adopt a way of living entirely different from that into which they were born. The mobile man first of all leaves the physical setting of his birth. This includes the house he lived in, the neighbourhood he knew, and in many cases even the city, state and region in which he was born. 'This physical departure is only a small part of the total process of leaving that the mobile man must undergo. He must leave behind people as well as places. The friends of earlier years must be left, for acquaintances of the lower-status past are incompatible with the successful present. Often the church of his birth is left, along with the clubs and cliques of his family and of his youth. But most important of all, he must, to some degree, leave his father, mother, brothers, and sisters, along with the other human relationships of his past.' This so, it is not so startling to read in a business magazine a coolly detached guide for the newly promoted executive and his wife. It advises that he break with old friends and subordinates gradually, in order to minimize resentment. He is told to 'find logical excuses for not joining the group at coffee breaks or lunch.'Similarly, 'Miss the department bowling or card sessions, occasionally at first, then more frequently.' Invitations to the home of a subordinate may be accepted, but not reciprocated, except in the form of an invitation to a whole group of subordinates at once. After a while all such interaction should cease. Wives are a special problem, we are informed, because they 'don't understand the protocol of office organization'. The successful man is advised to be patient with his wife, who may adhere to old relationships longer than he does. But, as one executive puts it, 'a wife can be downright dangerous if she insists on keeping close friendships with the wives of her husband's subordinates. Her friendships will rub off on him, colour his judgement about the people under him, jeopardize his job.' Moreover, one personnel man points out, 'When parents drift away from former friends , kids go too.'

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