The Cool Kids in high school, their minions, and real life

In high school, there were the Cool Kids.

And there were the Not So Cool But Tolerated Kids (aka ‘Their Minions’).

And then there was Us. (Or, depending on your particular Nerdity, “… were We.”)

We weren’t Cool, and we damned sure weren’t Minions; the Cool Kids hung with us because we helped them through Cicero and calculus, and because we were actually entertaining. We didn’t really want to hang with the Cool Kids, because en masse they could be pretty nasty to the Neither Smart Nor Cool Kids, but one to one, they were okay, and they could be pretty entertaining, too.

Besides, we thought, four years and I’m out of here for a place where intelligence and ability are what matters.

Then, we got to college. SSDD; we were just helping them through Catulus and p-chem. We thought, four years, etc.

Then, we got our first jobs. And we thought, WTF, am I still in high school here? What are these weird little cliques? A few years experience, and I’m out of here …

Eventually, we caught on that Real Life is not that different from high school. Every place has a Cool Kids Clique, or two, or four, or seven … They still love us, but they still don’t invite us to the Coolest Parties.

So, we learn to research and negotiate for better salaries and jobs (because we know the Coolest Parties end up with the Homecoming King and Queen barfing in the punchbowl), and we are really happy, because we just love being appreciated for our brains and skills, and we are still not Minions.

Then disaster strikes.

We end up reporting to a Cool Kid; a Cool Kid who 1) does not view us as a combination of cannon fodder and raw meat, 2) actually kind of likes us, and 3) is eager to help us to keep pushing them up the corporate ladder.

Disaster struck me today. I have the perfect job; half is doing things I enjoy, the other half is doing (less enjoyable) things I am good at that are actually the responsibility of … less competent people. I am a lazy little star; a swarm of dragonflies attacking the mosquitoes in a backwater.

I have been offered a promotion, but I will have to be a Minion. I want the job, I will be good at it, I even like the Cool Kid, but …

I don’t know how to be a Minion.

(and I really hate ass-kissing minions)

Believe it or not, life is not just like an '80s teen comedy. People are people and they do things that at times resemble identities propagated by the media. Take the promotion and just do your thing, anything else is silly.

The Cool Kids never hung with us. I don’t know what you’re on about. :slight_smile:

Re: your dilemma: what happens if you refuse the promotion? Is that even a possibility?

Oh god, don’t become the minion. You will be selling your soul. You know this in your heart, that’s why you are hesitating. Ask you self: Is there anyway I can retain my autonomy in the new position or is it inevitable minionhood? Then ask yourself if it is worth it.

And on preview, promotion is not the be all and end all. Think about this very hard. Envision yourself in the job. If you like what you see take it. If you don’t pass.

Is the OP some sort of performance art joke?

Oddly enough, it is. After a quarter century in the work-force, I am old and honest enough to admit it.

NinetyWt, where I’m from (Northeast Liberal Eliteworld), the Coolest Kids always have a Pet Brain/Geek/Nerd. It’s a symbiotic relationship; the Cool Kid looks smart/gets impressive reports in on time, and the Pet Brain avoids petty torture/gets nice raises.

Now, there are some professional Cool Kids who are threatened by Us, and try to take credit for our work, while sabotaging us. The surprisingly high success rate of this tactic is directly responsible for the current credit crisis.

And I am taking the job; I just have to learn how to be a Minion, and get a contract that specifically forbids the wearing of pantyhose.

That makes you a minion.

The rest of us were simply background.

Which makes your decision easier. You’re already a minion. The promotion will make you a higher order of minion.

I use to be a cool kid.

Then my own cool kids pointed out my exceptional un-coolness on a regular basis.


Now I’m a happy, kind of chubby, sexy nerdette today. (minion to my grands and my kitten)

No, you don’t understand; I can not sell my soul. I don’t know how.

I’m looking for pointers.

I’ve had a good run, but I’m looking at the calendar and I have to beef up my salary and retirement savings.

I have the opportunity to be indispensable to some-one with a corporate “in” and good cross-department connections. And this person is just smart enough to give me a lot of personal control over my work.

I need to know how to be smarter than my boss without being threatening.

Kunilou, Minions are mean to the weak; Pet Brains smart-ass to the Cool Kids. I know the difference; I am a lousy Minion.

We didn’t have that, but I think I get it.

Now that would be a plus. :slight_smile:

So, does the new job require being mean to the weak? A lot of bosses like to reserve that privilege for themselves. If that’s the case, then you have no problem.

If the new job does require being mean to the weak, you can use all your experience of being the victim to be slightly more humane. After all, your boss will only be concerned that you do his bidding competently and effectively. You’ll have considerable latitude in deciding what methods work for you.

As for how to be smarter than your boss without being threatening, that’s the easiest thing of all. Simply show no ambition. Don’t sign your name to any reports, leave that to your boss. Instead of speaking up at a meeting, lean over and whisper your idea to your boss. Always push your boss to be the “face and voice” of the department. Since your boss has already figured out you can be indispensible, all you have to show is loyalty.

The only downside to that is that if your boss loses a power struggle, you’ll be the next one out the door. At that point you’ll have to convince the new powers that be (and convince them quickly!) that your loyalty is to the job, not to the boss.

You know, I’ve always gone my own way and thought nothing of it. Then I found out that I was considered one of the cool kids. I didn’t understand why until I discovered that even the cool kids thought I was cool.

I guess that disinterest in coolness is, in and of itself, cool.

You know, most of us got over high school a long time ago. It’s a bit pathetic for an adult to keep harping on adolescent cliques and slights.

If I’m interpreting your OP correctly, you were offered a promotion to a job you don’t think you’d enjoy. So don’t take the promotion.

Where are you working that there are “cool kids”? Arn’t you a little old for this?

Well he could be working at my office. :wink:

The sooner you get over your teen trauma, the better.

It never occurred to me that the cool kids might think I was cool because I wasn’t interested in them. I suspect, however, that I was more background than anything. I also stopped caring about any of this crap about 20 years ago. If I work someplace cliquey, I just ignore all of them and bring a book to read at lunch. :slight_smile:

Hell yeah.

My school probably had “cool kids”, but really it was mostly just groups of different people. And if you can push that gigantic chip off of your shoulder, you might be able to see how a lot of “cool kids” did honors classes, volunteered, etc.

Oh, and the last part of your post makes you sound* like a tool. Oh, heavens to betsy, being a MINION! Rock on with your anti-establishment, anarchist self. I’m sure you feel like you’re a lot better of a person than others around you. I bet that you’re not really any better or worse than they are.

  • not that I said “you are”, but that it makes you sound like

Are you a “nice guy” too?

I’m a 22 year old high school teacher, so I see these group interactions every day and I actively remember mine. I don’t teach at my alma mater, btw.Perhaps it’s different where you’re from, but here, the “cool kids” are the most actively involved in school in every way- sports, student council, then the less traditionally “popular things” like debate, AP and Honors classes, etc.

At my high school, the coolest of cool kids included the valedictorian, as well as a smattering of kids who ended up going on to Standford, MIT, Harvard, UCLA, Notre Dame, etc. with their 4.0+ GPAs. Not only were those kids socially and academically on track, but they also were often the captains of various sports teams, while spending their spare time volunteering for different community organizations.

This was the rule, btw, not the exception.

Now that I’m a teacher, I see the exact same thing: the more popular kids tend to be, generally speaking, more academically successful than their peers.

Sometimes I wonder if this perceived persecution I hear about folks having in high school is exaggerated. Don’t get me wrong, I realize it was a reality for some and I don’t wish to downplay that, but the way people speak, you’d think the “popular” kids were constantly dogging on the “others” and that the popular kids are dumb as a bag of bricks (pretty bricks), while the “others” are rocket scientists with good hearts. C’mon.

Seriously: *get over it. * The rest of us did and you should, too. I don’t even remember the names of 98% of kids I went to high school with, let alone can I remember the dynamics of our various relationships. I would be hard pressed to draw a parallel between anything in my life now and what went on in high school- and I say that as a person who spends all my time with a bunch of freakin’ 15 year olds.