Could it happen? Symbolically, just about every day, for nannies, housekeepers, chefs, in-house poodle groomers, directors of residences, and just about any domestic worker who has just been made the scapegoat for all things gone wrong - and now must run for their careers, fast, along the ground, under cover of darkness, and avoid being detected and assaulted through a mesmerizing devolution of the psyche known to industrial psychologists as groupthink, by their ex-employer and very same co-workers who were just sheer moments before with them downstairs in the staff break room, sharing a cup of over-roasted-but-now-gone-cold decaf Verona.
One of the most interesting stories of recent weeks in world news was not so because of how horrible it was, but more so because of how common I believe it was - a very common theme among times and places, that is.
|Not really so remarkable - |
Groupthink is a phenomenon found everywhere.
Anyone following the sparky tinderbox known as the Korean peninsula will know of the recent South Korean defector who bravely drove through and then made a mad dash on foot for the last few hundred feet across the DMZ, being shot at with forty rounds of ammunition and hit with five - and shot decisively by his own fellow North Korean colleague soldiers, no less, located then by South Korean soldiers, withering in agony and near death underneath a pile of leaves, and of this writing is still in critical condition and still struggling to stay alive.
I believe the common theme of defection to be a not so uncommon event in the human experience, unfolding in virtually any relationship one can think of: that of citizenry, workplaces, and even more tragic: personal, as we every so often must bear to know the news again of an abused wife who is beaten for trying to leave the marriage; and some brave souls make that mad dash over their own personal barbed wire fence, with some making it to safety... and some not.
And toxic workplaces? The psychological torture of such treacherous arenas where
loyalty from the employees is gained through a fear of career destruction and blacklisting should one ever dare to break free; imagine the horror of surviving such a place which you must truly escape, yet also knowing that when you finally do, things will only get worse for you from your employer's quest for evening the score and extracting revenge.
And the common theme runs through all of these events: that of scapegoating: blaming, lying about, and eliminating the victim herself. For these families, workplaces, communities, and societies, it's quite popular for the fault to be placed upon the damned: it's never the government which is oppressive - it's the defector who has shown "disrespect" to the motherland, and must now be made an example of by the caring and benevolent leader and all those remaining "loyal" to the cause; it's never the violent husband who accepts responsibility for his fault - it's the wife who "made him beat her," and the children who must now turn against her to protect and validate their father's violent actions in order to themselves survive; and the it's never the dysfunctional workplace - it's the "disloyal" domestic worker who thinks they can improve themselves by moving on to elsewhere... and now must be taught a lesson from both the employer and the remaining staff, those who must now huddle together and protect their own skins from such a fate.
Where does this phenomenon of scapegoating erupt from? What deep, dark hidden corners of the human mind contains the ability to torture and manipulate others from behind a line in any setting one could think - in the attempt to dominate and for lack of better term, "win" the "loyalty" of their subjects - or at least the ones who remain in the cooler, via a chilling effect of having them witness others in their same situation suffer the horror?
No doubt the North Korean soldier in last week's news story was pummeled with bullets ripping through his chest not so much to dispatch his own being, yet to pull together in unison the remaining members of those armed forces behind the North Korean gates... and let them see what will happen, should they get ideas, themselves; and same for the abuse often found within family settings, and same for workplaces abuses which are put on for a show of power, for a show of intimidation.
In the domestic job applicant's toolbox, then, should reside a quiet process to carefully vet the estate to which they are about to embark a significant trust of with providing their services...
...a quiet yet very careful inspection of past employees and how each one was treated upon leaving - and not only the ones fired for just cause - yet the ones who knew it was time to go and did so ever gracefully. Were those domestic workers lauded for their service during time spent, and given a glowing recommendation and assistance with obtaining their next position? Or were they relegated to the minefield just outside of the gates, having to dash away and crawl quickly along the ground, dodging from there to the remainder of their careers the shots fired from the estate behind?
It's often said that you can tell a lot about a person by the way they treat a waiter. I say you can, perhaps, tell a bit something by that measure, but you can tell more by the way they treat anyone - waiter, chef, nanny, majordomo, wife, friend, or neighbor - who has simply decided it's time to move on and away.
The due diligence then falls upon you, my fellow Citizen...
...as part of your interview process, for you to check around the estate carefully for signs of those who've come and gone before you... and of any