I was down at the marina in Oceanside last night, just after last light (amazing stars and clear sky) looking for a black crowned night heron. We found him on the fishing pier scanning the shoreline for a late night meal.

Most nights a resident group of sea lions can be found on the docks near the Oceanside Police Department, Last night there was a group of 25ish (hard to count when they are piled haphazardly).  I at and watched the interactions that took place between individuals and groups as they shifted and jockeyed for position. Not unlike a workplace or other social group, there were troublemakers who seemed to find it difficult to stay still and/or quiet. Every few minutes they shifted or flipped and provoked a neighbour (sometimes it seemed intentional). There were barks, moans and feinted nips. The intruder was attempting to move up the pecking order and was mostly put in her place.

sea lions

There were older sea lions with established positions who didn’t seem bothered by the commotion; they had nothing to prove today and ignored most of the action. If a peers became too aggressive or disruptive, one quick bark in their direction settled the argument.

The alpha male had his spot, somewhat separate from the group where he rested comfortably with the chosen female (of the day). She was protected from and excluded from the skirmishes. Being his favorite had privilege and I expect responsibilities. Last night all we witnessed was  the leader getting his head rubbed and offering a comfortable, obliging subordinate.

I realize that the exercise was pure anthropomorphism  but still enjoyable and enlightening. Does your workplace resemble a raft, a rookery, a harem? Are their alphas with betas who are secure in their position? Are the gammas and omegas trying to move up the ladder?

Make Today Interesting, by observing the interplay,



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