Last week the Internets started buzzing with the story of Carmen Segarra, Federal Reserve whistle-blower, and the recordings she made of her time working inside Goldman Sachs as a regulator. The best account for those of you not familiar with high finance is from This American Life, which is accessible, while still conveying many of the complexities.
This struck a chord with me for a number of reasons, both because I did a stint as a bank analyst in regulatory reporting during an economic down-turn, and because it reminded me of issues I experience today within my current profession in education. Lots has been written about the tendency to go along to get along in any group, but as other wiser commenters have noted (like CURMUDGUCATION in Can We Be Less Nice, Please and Thank You?) teachers just seem to want to be friends even with folks who are clearly not our friends, or our students’ friends. After seeing what was happening at the Fed, I don’t think this is unique to education. I do think that there are some professions and organizations (especially ones that are dominated by females, or perceived as feminized, like regulatory agencies) that fall into this trap and others (like investment banks such as Goldman) which have a cultural of risk-taking and aggressiveness presented in an ugly wrapping of white patriarchy.
Image source: A rat by cesare, on Flickr