The most powerful symbols of being someone in America have shifted. Your family can be disgraced, as was the Madoff clan. The marketability of ivy schooling has a shorter shelf life and too many of the graduates wind up in the slammer (Mathew Martoma). Company X was hot and now it's not. Real estate values are too prone to fluctuation.
Today, the status game is flat. Anyone can make it into the charmed circle of being perceived as special and treated well.
Take our FICO score. Mine is currently 785. That wasn't always the case. But through hard work in my communications boutique and frugal living (to the point of eccentricity) I was able to emerge from the credit ghetto. Those checking my FICO know I'm a professional to reckon with.
Another symbol of the new power structure is the angst-free persona. I have enough confidence in my talent and enough money in reserve not to have to cower before clients. Of course, that relaxed attitude brings in more business. The law of attraction favors those who don't give much of a damn.
And, a third marker of being a somebody is a rich menu of tactics for pushing back. Insulted? We are not above the old neighborhood move of giving that miscreant the cold shoulder. Moreover, we encourage our posse to do likewise. Just as The Godfather got respect, so do we.
It's a good life. The trick is to break open to the changing rules of how to be a somebody when those with garlic in their souls want us to feel like nobody.