What’s the purple circle?

The purple circle, ah, the place everyone wants to be but it’s INVITE only. Many people have not heard of the purple circle until they get into the mining industry. The purple circle is an elitist group of people that congregate to the exclusion of others in a workplace or institution these people are commonly known as bullies or the untouchables.

These people who are “in” with the bosses for whatever reason and gain unfair favours over people more experienced or more deserving. The is mostly due to insecure & or weak leadership within the organisation and its quit endemic in the mining industry.

Where does the term come from?

In Fremantle prison, prisoners could gain privileges by good behaviour. These prisoner were give a purple ribbon to wear, and would be give special treatment. The metaphor seems to be unique to Western Australia and had carried into the workplace.

Non members of the purple circle

In any group of people there are different levels of capability and those with higher skill sets will always be favoured and rewarded more than the average performer. It might not seem fair but it’s the way it is in the real world. The people who are not in the purple circle, and wont get in usually consist of people such as:

  • The operator who constantly wants to operate dozers until it rains then they just want to be a truck operator.
  • The Truckee who call the workshop for the same code every day on the same truck just to be told to isolate or press ok.
  • The grader operators who disappears when there is work to be done.
  • The digger driver who guts grabs, leaves mess behind and just floats over the hard work.

How to get in the purple circle

It can become very mentally draining to have to deal with people in the purple circle. Learn to see each person for who they truly are but don’t waste your energy hating something that you can’t change, it will only serve to alienate you further and reduce your chance of self advancement. Never lower yourself to trying to be an intruder to the purple circle.

Rather, identify the people in the circle, watch and learn their practical skills through observation so when your chance comes to step up, you have a better idea of where to start and how to do it. Also observe those who are not in the circle, where they are , what they say and do and make sure you avoid imitation to keep your reputation in tact at all levels.