I was pretty much friends with everyone in school but that doesn’t mean I didn’t notice the petty cliques and that they didn’t bother me.  They did and I remember my parents telling me that once I was an adult things would change and those cliques would dissolve.  Well, Mom and Dad, you were wrong.

Adults who thought they left the cliques behind when they graduated high school are discovering that exclusive groups are very much alive and well in the workplace.

43% of Americans say their workplace is filled with cliques and 13% say those cliques have had a negative impact on their career.

I believe it.  I worked at a place with a bunch of really catty women who acted like those high school snobs everyone detested.  People I worked with referred to the women as “hens” because they sounded like cackling hens who’d snort laugh at everything and cluck about people behind their backs but be sweet as sugar to their face. You know the type I’m talking about, don’t you?

What’s worse is that 20% of people say they’ve done something they weren’t really interested in doing just to fit in with their co-workers.  So much for not changing yourself for anyone, huh?

When I was in high school there was a wing of the building for disabled kids and every once in a while, they’d mingle with us as we walked from class to class.  A guy I went to school with named Craig asked one of the disabled girls to prom even though he had a girlfriend and going with the disabled girl would mean he wouldn’t go to senior prom with his girlfriend (who became his wife). Craig wanted the disabled girl to feel special and she did. She told the story of her prom to everyone she met right up until the day she died. It was her most precious memory.

The reason I shared that story with you is because I think it’s important that we, even as adults, break away from the cliques and step out and take it upon ourselves to be kind and different from the rest, to break away from the cliques, just as Craig did. His one small action changed somebody's life for the better.  You and I have the power to do that as well.  We just have to want to.

Remember: “What is right isn’t always popular and what is popular isn’t always right.”