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How the ‘good ol’ boys club’ mentality hurts us

Mired in tradition, the ‘good ol’ boys club’ mentality keeps us moving backward and prevents us from being respected for the job we do

We are rapidly heading into 2015. I look around from time to time and never cease to be amazed at how little social progress we have actually made. It is the 21st century. We should have flying cars, human-like AI’s, teleporters and more. Instead we have racism, nepotism, favoritism, and few other ism’s.

We cling to old traditions and practices. Rites of passage, even in the job place, which leave coworkers to fend for themselves until they have proven themselves to be “worthy” of being included.

Here’s what I am working up to: it’s been mentioned in many articles. The good ole boy system. It seems, in my experience, the higher the custody level of the institution, the stronger the system. Also the more difficult it is to prove yourself.

Why this hurts us
I can see and understand how the system would come into practice. We essentially place or lives in each other’s hands. That creates a unique bond regardless of your personal relationship with someone. It also makes us highly skeptical of anyone new coming in.

These new people haven’t been through what we have. Who knows if they will have our back when the time comes? Maybe they’ll freeze, or run away. So, unconsciously we end up testing them, and closely evaluating their every move.

There are even those that will incite a situation in order to see how the new person responds. While these practices are intended to strengthen us as a whole and weed out the untrustworthy, it actually does the opposite.

We chase off and scare off new officers before they can grasp even the basics of our profession. It ensures we will always be short staffed, which weakens us. It makes the job undesirable to those who could very likely possess the skills and training to become an asset.

Before an officer has the chance to learn the job and learn to employ all their training and experiences we basically tell that officer we don’t trust you and, until we do, you are on your own.

Scratch my back, I’ll scratch yours
Another aspect of this system affects promotions and post assignments. On this, you do have to appreciate the amount of time someone has put into establishing it.

It begins when friend promotes friend. It continues until the supervising officers are all friends, relatives, etc. This creates a multitude of problems. You’re skipping over experienced and educated applicants for a buddy. Instead of promoting someone whose skills and abilities compliment your strengths and fills in your weaknesses you promote Bob.

This process is a cancer that eats away your staff until the only remaining experienced staff you have are beyond disgruntled. These people are so bitter that they spend most trying to screw over each other in order to make themselves feel better. They never reach their end goal by the way.

The “good ol’ boys club” mentality pretty much turns our place of work into high school. The popular kids do what they want and push people around, all because they have nothing to fear disciplinary wise.

If we were able to do away with the “club” morale and job satisfaction would greatly increase. You would have everyone on equal footing, we would be treated fairly. I find it amazing that our job mandate is ‘firm, fair, and consistent,’ yet when it comes to other staff we don’t even come close to that standard.

Charles Morgan started his career as a corrections officer at MECC, a level 3 facility, and then transferred to ERDCC, a level 5 facility. He eventually evened out at FCC, a level 3/4 facility. He works for the Missouri Department of Corrections and is currently a trainer.