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Perceived Hierarchy

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When I was watching Friends a few years ago, the show had gone on hiatus as the entire cast went on strike asking for more money.

At the time, I’d done an inventory of my own life, and as I watched the return of Friends, an episode came on with one of the primary characters who worked as a waitress – Phoebe – get angry at her boss for moving in a heavy handed way as she contemplated with her friends on whether she should or should not quit her job.

I couldn’t help but think how ironically weird the situation was from a “perspective” perspective.

First, we have the woman who plays Phoebe – Lisa Kudrow – who is now one of the highest paid performers in all of entertainment. And then we have her boss in this particular episode, played by a person I just can’t remember – made a few select appearances but was a bit part character, and was paid FAR less than Lisa Kudrow was.

So from a financial and reputation perspective, Lisa Kudrow’s importance to the show was FAR more than the man who played her boss, and as a result, when she and her co-workers threatened to walk off the show, the network was left with little choice but to honor the request to elevate their wages.

So from an image and value perspective, Lisa Kudrow’s net worth is substantially more than the man who played her boss.

Despite the appearance otherwise.

But there’s another side to this equation.

In the Friend’s world, Lisa Kudrow’s character, Phoebe, IS subservient to her boss. and in the hierarchy of the company she’s working for, a coffee shop by the name of “Central Perk”, Lisa’s expected to do as her boss dictates to her. If she doesn’t, then Lisa stands the chance she’ll lose her job – as not only DOES her boss have responsibility for managing the coffee shop, but also in ensuring that he and the employees are representing according to what he feels is best for the company.

It’s an interesting and subtle dichotomy.

Where from one perspective Lisa’s playing a subservient character, and from another perspective she’s clearly the one in charge – despite doing the same thing.

But here’s the thing.

Ultimately, Lisa AND Phoebe BOTH have a boss.

In Lisa’s world. Lisa’s given control to the network for her decisions. Sure, she’s going to say yes or no based on whether the network does as she requests (or demands). But Lisa’s absolutely ceded control, choice and free will over to the network to ultimately make the decision for her.

Similarly, in Phoebe’s world, Phoebe’s ceded control of her life to both the coffee shop and her manager.

Neither position is in ‘more control’.

Each position has it’s own level of responsibility, stressors, and problems associated with it.

And while sure, Lisa Kudrow – like most “A” list actors and actresses – clearly are in a better financial position than Phoebe, but ultimately, her (and their) destinies aren’t their own. They’re all puppets, on strings, and if you like being a puppet, then knock yourself out.

From a homeless perspective, I have the freedom to make any choice I want to as long as it doesn’t require money.

And in a society and world where everything – from women, to housing, to transportation, to food – requires money, as I’ve had money taken from me I’ve had choice taken with it.

To whoever and whatever stole everything I have.

No one believes everything I’ve been through, that I’ve done, and that I once had that you now have that you tool from me.

I hope you’re reading.

Can I please have it back?

I’m tired of being homeless.

I deserve more than this, as do you, no matter what perceived level of hierarchy you believe in.


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