a system or organization in which people or groups are ranked one above the other according to status or authority.
synonyms: pecking order, ranking, chain of command, echelons
“In the corporate hierarchy, Curt is about six levels below the CEO.”
“A taxonomic hierarchy of phyla, classes, orders, families, genera and species.”
This is a word I’ve had occasion to use, but don’t like what it represents. “Us against them.” Distasteful or not, it’s a fact that almost everything runs according to hierarchy. Our lot in life is determined by where we stand. I spent almost 20 years in the corporate world (1970s – 1990s),
working clawing my way up the ladder. As a woman, it took me twice as long to get half as far as my male colleagues, all the while working harder and earning less money. So, even though we were supposed to be equal, the men were definitely higher on that proverbial “food chain”. It’s my fervent hope this situation has improved in the meantime.
Class distinctions are also still evident. The rich look down on the middle classes, who look down on the poor, just as the bourgeoisie looks down on the proletariat. I’ve seen this with a few of my own wealthy clients. It’s obvious they view me as nothing more than a servant to do their bidding, expecting me to be “on call” all the time. What offends me the most is when they try to negotiate a lower price. Seriously?! They don’t think the service I’m providing (taking excellent care of their pampered pooches) is worth the (highly reasonable) price? One such client had a Bull Terrier who ran right through my closed screen door as soon as she came in. First words out of this millionaire’s mouth were: “I hope you don’t expect me to pay for that!” If my dog had done that, I’d be apologizing profusely and writing a cheque to cover the damage. Thankfully, these highbrow cheapskates are few. The majority treats me well. If you respect yourself, then chances are, so will (almost) everyone else.
“HIERARCHY” stems from from Greek hierarkhia and from hierarkhēs ‘sacred ruler’ (hierarch).
The earliest sense was ‘system of orders of angels and heavenly beings’.
What’s your station in life?
Have you ever been treated shabbily because of it?
Looking forward to your comments!