L’Ourson: a recollection of my year-long experience of sexual harassment at the World Bank
I am a bit late for #metoo frankly. To my defense I only left officially the World Bank Group recently and it is only timely to share it now.
I met “L’Ourson”, in March 2002 at 23 years old when my life had taken a clear turn for the worse. I had been working at the World Bank for three months as an employee of a temp agency in some obscure administrative capacity. Before being placed at the Bank, I had worked for a month at the IMF in an even more mindless job, filing bureaucratic documents with a schizophrenic Chinese lady in a windowless room of their headquarters on Pennsylvania avenue.
After I graduated in August from my MBA at American University, I had looked for a job in marketing in New York and Miami without any success. I would take the train up every month or so for meetings with luxury French companies and would usually end up hopeless and shirtless at The Roxy on Saturday night. “I do not anticipate any openings until at least the beginning of 2002. Please call me when you are in New York. If my schedule allows it, I will be very happy to meet with you on an exploratory basis.” We would meet but it would never lead to an offer.
I do not blame them for not giving me a job; I was clueless, looked like I was 12 and had no self-confidence. My visa situation was also not very appetizing: my “F1- Optional Practical Training” US work authorization was coming to an end in July.
I had never been that poor either. My parents had stopped sending me the couple of hundred bucks they would send me during my tenure at AU. The main reason was that they disapproved of my decision to stay in the U.S. to look for a job but they had also seen evidence that I had not paid my last tuition at American University. They were also starting to find my relationship with my “roommate” George suspicious. Although the suspicion was never verbalized. My mother was not the best investigator but she was definitely giving her best shot: “Why did you move with your roommate George? Is he a very good friend? You never talk about it.” Shannon — our roommate was partially responsible. When George and I had gone to LA to visit my gay cousin Michel she had picked up a call from my mother and had told her; “Fabrice is in LA with George to visit his cousin”. Why would any straight guy bring their eternal roommate to meet their gay cousin in Los Angeles? Even my mum could gather that the whole thing was fishy.
September 11th had shaken up the East Coast and among the three roommates only George had a job. He had taken advantage of an opening in the mailroom of Microsoft because everybody was terrorized of Anthrax. After the morning conferences would end, George would place the leftover bagels and M&Ms in a backpack and bring them to Shannon and me for our dinner. We were so broke that I remember turning all the sofa pillows upside down with Shannon to find enough quarters to buy cigarettes. Our rent on 13th street and U (then a “bad” part of DC) was only $500/month and we sometimes had difficulties covering it. However, as professional gays — we would always cover our gym membership and have money for week-end amphetamines.
My last trip to New York had led to great hopes that Lactalis USA — which managed horrific cheese brands as Galbani and President — would give me a Marketing Assistant position but at the last moment they had given the job to someone else for visa reasons. It was a big disappointment even though I truly hated their cheese. After 7 months of job hunting, I did not have the energy or the self-confidence to continue searching for a job. I knew I had to return to my French closet .
L’Ourson was at 43 years old (almost my age now — I just turned 42 this month) — the Country Officer for the Democratic Republic of Congo working on my floor at the Bank. I used to see him in my corridor at work and his repulsive physical appearance was mesmerizing. It reminded me of a childhood tale that I loved: L’Ourson by the Countess of Ségur. A little boy named Ourson is born. Because of some toad’s curse, nobody can see whether he is beautiful or ugly, because he is so hairy, covered with long brown hair that you could only see his mouth or eyes if he would open them. Without his loving mother and fairy godmother, poor Ourson would have died from lack of care, because he was so awful looking that no one dared touch him. People would mistake him for a small bear and attempt to kill him with pitchforks.
My new colleague looked like the illustrations of “L’Ourson” in the book, not as hairy maybe but equally atrocious. In 2002, he was 12 years younger than my father but looked much older. He was round and his head was covered in what looked like pubic hair. Black hair also came out untrimmed from his nose and ears. His skin was awfully greasy. His little sly eyes hidden by gigantic tinted eyeglasses were covered by gigantic bushy black eyebrows. And in the middle of these bearish features, a tiny feminine mouth had been placed there by the Gods as some kind of a practical joke. L’Ourson looked like the product of an unholy union between Groucho Marx and Newman from Seinfield.
One day we encountered each other in the bathroom on the floor. I had already noticed him starring insistently at me in the corridors. I was washing my hands at the sink when he asked me awkwardly what was my position at the Bank. I told him I was a temp from the agency Kelly Services. One day later he came by my desk and told me that I should definitely try to look at full-time jobs offers in the organization. He suggested I send him my resume which I did in early April 2002. I had the gift of desperation and was ready to entertain any suggestion that would allow me to stay in the US even coming from beastly forest creatures like L’Ourson. I knew he was strange. I came by his office at his request. He worked in a windowless office with the light turned off and had medication bottles scattered around his desk which were clearly not there to treat the flu.
A few days later, he invited me to dinner at his place to meet some of his friends from the Bank. I accepted having learnt the basics of networking from my MBA stint. We left from work in his car. At his place before his guests arrived, he told me casually that his mother had killed his father who he loved dearly when he was 22 years old and that she was still in jail. He actually used the word “buter” which really translates as “bumped off”. His mother had “bumped off” his father. Ok, fine. How was I supposed to find a follow-up conversation now? His father had been the heir to a French fortune made from editing posters for Toulouse-Lautrec, Valloton and a few others. They had capital and when they needed money, they would just offload a Toulouse Lautrec print. L’Ourson had studied at Janson de Sailly like my father and then went own to study agronomy. He graduated from in 1982 becoming yet another ill-adjusted engineer. He then went to the US for a Master in Agricultural Economics. He had become a Forestry engineer which was quite ironic for someone that looked like a deep forest creature. All this information felt a little too much, L’Ourson was even creepier than I had imagined and I smiled and nodded a lot while repeating to myself: “will I get out of here alive?”.
Thankfully, the guests started showing up. It was a mix of boring French international civil servants. A stuck up economist who was one of his childhood friends, and another couple who worked at the International Finance Corporation, part of the World Bank Group. L’Ourson, during diner, told them about his project to get the French Government to fund a position for me to work on Congo. They seemed enthusiastic. Clearly it was not the first time they had observed their strange friend in his Pygmalion role. I felt gradually more confident during dinner that this might turn into a real opportunity. I was charming with his guests even though I discovered French expats in the US for the first time. This strange bitter breed which exile themselves from la “mere patrie” in exchange for money and carry deep resentment about it . At least I had moved to the US for a noble endeavor: coming out.
In April, L’Ourson copied me on a dithyrambic email he had written to the French cooperation making the case to hire me:
“As you know, our activities in the Democratic Republic of Congo increased […] to become a portfolio of $1 billion in the past few months. It makes for a very a sudden jump of activities. Our resources in budget and staff increase in stages but some gaps remain due to the suddenness and intensity of the Country’s recovery. I have identified a consultant who has just completed his MBA (with an international development focus) at American University. […]I am trying to identify resources to recruit him. He is very competent and because he is starting, his cost is reasonable…”
L’Ourson and me went to see the Bank’s visa assistant to check how I could switch from my OPT visa to an international organization one. That day he whispered to me that he found the assistant to be very handsome which gave me a hint that l’Ourson might actually be gay. I had no idea at first because there was nothing feminine or masculine or even sexual about him, he was just bestial. He also winked at me on that occasion which I found repulsive. I was not yet feeling the noose tightening around my neck but I believe I knew I would come to regret this association.
A few days later, he sent me another e-mail inviting me to a diner that would include another boring French Bank couple, his aunt and a young man that he had helped in the past. His young friend did not show up and the dinner was even more tedious than the previous one. L’Ourson revealed himself to be vulgar on top of all his other flaws. He had this particular brand of “Potache” humor; a mix of popular tomfoolery and schoolboy humor that he probably had inherited from his proctologist father. I faked-laugh enough that he sent me loving looks throughout dinner.
I was getting worried by the sudden avalanche of invitations and thought putting George in the picture might calm L’Ourson down. As he drove me back from his house, I indicated that I was gay and living with my one year long “partner” George. He replied by telling me that he was gay too and was coming out of a deep depression caused by the fact that his first boyfriend ever had cheated on him in a Brussels pub, the Homo Erectus, on New Year’s eve 2000. L’Ourson had gone down the stairs to go to the bathroom only to discover “his boyfriend” on his knees with a stranger. Awkward. I eventually discovered through conversations with L’Ourson that “the boyfriend” was really some kind of an escort. He also began to explain to me how difficult it was for him to go out in the gay scene because he did not recognize himself in the unsophisticated Dupont Circle queens. I tactfully replied that there were also professional gays such as the members of GLOBE, the LGBT group of the World Bank Group, that he might be more at ease with. When I opened the door that night, I told George that I was relieved and that the situation was now clearer. L’Ourson was just a closet-case. He expected from me was to chaperone him as he tried to build a social life which must have been seriously impeded by his repulsive appearance and horrendous manners.
The romantic life of L’Ourson seemed pretty inexistent before the “boyfriend episode”. It is unclear what he did between 1986 when he left the US University he attended and 1993 when he joined the Bank. I vaguely remember that he explained to me that he wasted his inheritance trying to buy friends and created a consulting company before falling in an unreciprocated love with his business partner which led to his expulsion from the company.
At his request, I accompanied L’Ourson to a few gay networking events in DC in April. It worked well, L’Ourson was definitely awkward and aggressive with men but my presence was reassuring to him and to the people that would communicate with him. I had become a bridge between beasts and queens. In May, L’Ourson left for Brussels to meet with the Belgian Cooperation and I breathed a little. He came back very depressed because he had done some pilgrimage to the crime scene: of L’ Homo Erectus. But once he returned, my daddy-sitting functions restarted. That week, I accompanied L’Ourson to the 10 years’ anniversary of GLIFAA, the US gay foreign affairs organization. At the event we met a handsome 30 years old Commercial Attaché of the Austrian Embassy. I then had to endure yet another dinner at his house.
In mid-May, I started working for him with the agreement of my current unit even though I would not have my contract before July. He began to send me work emails which started with various terms of endearment “Mon petit loup” (my little wolf), the beginning of a long list of terms he would use when emailing me such as “mon grand”, “ma puce” or “mon petit extra-terrestre”. He also began to call me to his office just to tell me about his sexual activities with the boring married Economist I had met during that first dinner, his maid’s son and someone who was then an Associate at World Business Inc. a consultant company which did a lot of business with the Bank. I tried to tell him though subtle remarks that I was not interested to hear about his sexual life but it only encouraged him. I had observed this behavior with older men before: this need to share one’s sexual exploits with younger people. But I also felt that L’Ourson was taking some cruel pleasure in seeing me uncomfortable.
On June 1st, George and I headed to his birthday party. Among the guests was the beautiful Austrian, quite drunk, who towards the end of the evening heavily flirting and petting George and me. The following Monday, L’Ourson came to my office extremely agitated. He told me that he had been very shocked by the fact that the Austrian was too pushy with me in front of George. He had been ruminating about it all week-end. As he talked about it, it became clear that he was reproaching me indirectly for what happened. I did not respond but told George that night that L’Ourson had no boundaries. A few days later, around 8:30 pm I received a phone call from him, extremely aggressive, telling me that my work on a specific assignment was shit and that it was very worrying, implying that perhaps he would not go ahead with the plan to get me a contract. At the end of the conversation, he paused and added… “by the way I talked to [The Austrian], we are going to have dinner together”. After that call, I became aware that the net had tightened around me; my visa would expire in July and my only option was to stick with the plan. I started to smoke again after being quit for a few months.
In the following days, our relationship was much cooler for a while. I summoned my courage and I went to his office to tell him that if there was a work problem, I would rather have him discuss it with me at work rather than during later night calls.
Throughout June, he was mean to me, making comments on the fact that I had to cut my nails because their length was disgusting or that I would have to quit smoking as we had to travel to Congo together. He also began to ask me to come back during the week-ends or to stay late at night often at the last moments making comments such “if you have something scheduled tonight, you would better cancel it, we are staying late”. I did work hard and never heard any negative comment about my work anymore from him. However I had become very anxious and it took a toll on my relationship with George. I would come back depressed and exhausted from work at home and argue with George who was giving me unpractical suggestions on how to deal with him.
All conversation in his office would turn to sex stories or practical jokes. He even told me while we were working one evening that he had had sex with a World Bank guard in his office one late night. It all sounded so implausible. L’Ourson was so nauseating. I began to avoid his office as much as possible.
But by then L’Ourson owned me. At that time, I got a little infection of my gum. I complained about it at work. L´Ourson came back half an hour later saying that he had taken an appointment with his dentist and that I had to be in the dentist’s office in the next 30 minutes. I could not say no. I went there. When I tried to pay, they told me L’Ourson had already picked up the tab. When I asked to pay him back, he refused and said that he actually had decided to put me on his life insurance to “replace his ex-boyfriend, [the escort]”. A few days later, he told me one day “I should put you as my partner at the World Bank so that you would get health insurance”. I responded that I was already insured.
A few weeks later, I fell ill. When George called the office to say that I would not come that I had a very high fever and could not come to work, L’Ourson told him he was on his way to come visit me. I was indeed with a very high temperature but was sufficiently lucid to be upset at George that he had let him come. None of us could not say no. He came by, picked me up and drove me to the Bank’s doctor, stayed with me there, and then tried to pay for my medicine at the pharmacy but George refused.
On July 15, I finally received my Letter of Appointment from the World Bank. The Bank would give me a daily rate of $176 for 190 days — the maximum number of days a consultant was allowed to work at the Bank — which represented a yearly salary of $33,440 with no benefits. It would definitely allow me to get more than a bagel for dinner and maybe we could move from the dump we were living in. Anyway our roommate in a post graduate disillusion was moving back with her parent in Maine.
I headed to Paris to get my visa. L’Ourson demanded that I be in Paris at the same time as him so I could invite him at my parent’s place in Paris with his Aunt . I agreed. I understood that L’Ourson, who was a bit snobbish, was eager to meet my parents. I had not seen my mother for more than a year by then. She looked at me as I walked in and said “Well you certainly have gained weight in the United States” and then gave me an air kiss. I was home. Nothing had changed. The food was delicious and the silverware heavy.
I convinced my parents to have L’Ourson over for dinner explaining the key role he had played in getting me a job at the Bank. He bragged the entire dinner in front of my parents and my brother — who looked at him as if he was demented but where unable to guess how much that was the case- on how he had given me such a chance in my career. He asked me to join him the next morning at the Lutetia Hotel to finish some work which I did. When I arrived he was only wearing a robe which made me incredibly uncomfortable.
When we both got back to DC, L’Ourson acted much more weirdly. He was more depressed than ever. He told me that he realized while he was away that he had a “fixation” on me and that we shall never be separated again. I had seen “Misery” so that day I understood I was really finished. I tried to remain calm. A few days later he asked me to go to Starbucks with him. As we sat there, he told me that if he had hired me it was because unconsciously he was attracted to me. When he finished that sentence he looked at me insistently: he was clearly enjoying my embarrassment and panic. He had made before jokes in front of some of my colleagues about my “Promotion Canape” (literally sofa promotion) but it was the first time that he seriously hinted that he wanted me to sleep with him in exchange for my contract. When I brought to him my first fee claim later that week, he asked me “what can you do for me? dance naked on my desk your body covered in oil”.
Complaining was not an option. As a consultant, I had no other supervisor and contact within the Bank than him. Denouncing the situation would mean the end of my contract and therefore my G4 visa. I had the choice between dealing with the sexual harassment or returning home to my parents.
Starting from that point, I started crumbling. My depression came back in full force. My relationship with George worsened even as we tried anything to make me relax from yoga to aromatherapy. On August 30th, I told George that I thought I may have an anxiety disorder. I would sleep more than 10 hours every day and still feel exhausted in the morning. I contacted the office nurse to quit smoking: she told me that one of the options was to take Wellbutrin — an anti-depressant — and that it would also help stabilize my mood. I began to take it. The stress was so important that George began to show signs that he was fed up. I began to go to see a therapist on 18th street, and spent most of the sessions talking about L’Ourson.
My work relation with “l’ Ourson” was still very strange, he would come to my desk and say “Fabrice come now” and then in his office he would give me work to do. I would leave, send him back the work by e-mail and never hear anything from him. Not a comment or anything. In September, he sent me to his home one Friday to wait for washing machines to be delivered at his house. I waited there an entire afternoon: I was his “thing” now. He had bought me as a slave with World Bank money. He got a subscription for George, who was unemployed at that time, to “The Economist” without even talking to us about it.
At some point, L’Ourson announced me he had met a married man and they were seeing each other. For a while, I felt really relieved. L’Ourson explained to me that the guy had a mortgage problem and he was “helping him out”. L’Ourson even brought him at work, and asked me to have coffee with them. They separated a few days later on because the “boyfriend” had apparently asked L’Ourson for more money.
George and I broke up at the beginning of September and a few weeks later I came out to my parents by mail. I was depressed. I could not forgive George for not being able to protect me from L’Ourson ravenous intrusion in our life. I felt the deal had always been that he would take care of me. Why couldn’t he? I also finally had enough money to pay my rent and stood on my own. George had been fired from the only office job he would ever have and collected unemployment.
L’Ourson began to talk about me going on mission to Kinshasa with him in the last few days of October before his planned trip but his Director refused. The flight was about $15,000 and it was unclear why L’Ourson needed so badly his 23 years old pet with him. L’Ourson went in his office for a long talk and obtained his ok by threatening to resign if I did not go with him. L’Ourson also asked that I took two days of rest-stop in Paris so that I would be with him while he would be there and we could travel together.
At the airport he asked for our seats to be next to each other. At that point, the World Bank was flying First class on Air France — not business, First (well we paid business fare and were systematically upgraded to First to be fair). I had never flown First obviously and was surprised when after dinner, they made my bed. As I laid there trying to fall asleep, I felt L’Ourson caressing my head for a good 5 minutes until he approached his fury head from mine and whispered in my ear “sleep my little one”. I was petrified and understood at that point that I would have to be on survival mode for the entire trip.
In Paris, we both stayed at the Lutetia. I remember giving my father the expensive Bordeaux bottles the flight attendant had gifted me at the end of the service. When he understood I had flown First Class, he got upset about the Bank wasting the taxpayer dollars. I was delighted.
The trip was of course very hard. L’Ourson was incredibly controlling I could not leave him any minute. The trip was professionally fascinating for me as it was my first time in Africa and Congo was just coming out of a ten-year long bloody war which had left it in complete disarray. I remember meeting and befriending Matata, adviser of the Minister of Finances, who eventually became Prime Minister of the Democratic Republic of the Congo. L’Ourson was awfully cynical sharing his view that “to solve poverty we had to travel in style” or joking about the “NGO ladies will long detached hair and ugly sandals”. The economist in the mission was an alcoholic and the one that had been sent to second him would bring back sex workers to his room which made for awkward meetings in the corridors.
I had two jobs: working for the mission but also at night having dinner with L’Ourson where he would systematically bring back the subject to sex and personal details about his life. He brought back the hotel gym trainer in his room and convinced him for some money to take shirtless pictures of him and then showed them to me. He would ask me to join him in his room for work discussions and welcome me in underwear or in a robe. Once as I sat in the room the robe let me see his hairy balls: a horrendous vision. He was also very moody during the trip; when he would be tired he would be very rude and I would have nothing to do than wait for him to feel better. He told me one time “I am like that, I have a passion for people and later they disgust me”. After a while as I was fed up to always be welcomed in underwear, I would ask him insistently if he was ready for our meeting. He would say “come I am ready now” but he would still be in underwear: white briefs. One time, after having been very rude to me he sat next to me on the couch, kissed my forehead and told me “I am sorry that the mission is so hard”… I was ready to explode.
As if it was not hard enough, I will always remember that one day as I was eating my lunch in the Grand Hotel of Kinshasa by myself in suit and tie because exceptionally L’Ourson had left me — probably to take shirtless pictures of some staff member — the waitress came and asked me: “he is not here your Papa today”? I was horrified mostly that someone could think that I looked anything like l’Ourson. Although I now understand that to Congolese, we, World Bank bureaucrats, all look the same.
After DRC, we went to Brussels. At the end of our meeting with the Belgian cooperation, he dragged me to Homo Erectus to see the bathroom where the infamous betrayal by his boyfriend had happened.
We finally got back to DC after 3 weeks. On November 14th, he called me in his office and announced me that he had put me on his World Bank life insurance. I repeated to him that I did not want him to do that but he still did.
On November 15th, he left a voicemail around 5:30 pm in which he informed me that he was going to a club called the Green Lantern and that if I was around he would like me to go with him. He was not specifically asking to call back. I wanted to have this week end for myself after having taken care of him for weeks. I was leaving for a date with Jim an all American Boy who eventually became, albeit very shortly, a love story — so I did not call back. On November 16th, I received a second phone call at 5:30 pm while I was waiting for friends to come over. L’Ourson told me that before we left for mission he had left a message one night and I had not called him back … he wanted to know why. He complained that I did not call him back the previous day. He said that it was too “17th street”: a reference to the DuPont Circle gay basic behavior he said he hated. He said that we would talk about it on Monday and that there was going to be “big changes”. I understood the last sentence as a threat and felt incredibly worried. I could not eat and sleep that night. On November 17th, I called him back and left him a message on his answering machine saying that we would definitely have to talk on Monday that I was fed up to be harassed. He called back the same day, leaving a message saying that he had decided that he would not work with me anymore. I called him back and talked to him. He cried that “Playing the Pygmalion makes me too unhappy’’. I told him how much I was fed up of him putting a constant pressure on me. I told him that we could not see each other outside of work anymore because obviously he had difficulties to separate our personal relationship from our professional one. I added that I was tired and sick after the stress of this week end and that I wanted him to stop calling me.
I did not go to work on Monday as I was exhausted and drained. However, I came to work on Tuesday but did not see him besides walking in a corridor. When I went back home that night, there was a message on my answering machine telling me that he had asked my contract’s cancellation. I called him back almost immediately and asked him if there was any link with the fact that I had not called him back after his message of Friday. He replied by saying that it would be hard to work together from now on.
I survived. Through the help of the colleagues I had built relationships before he got me this contract. Some senior manager stood up to L’Ourson and told him that if he was done with me, they would take me over. I got my contract transferred with a team working on DRC and started a fast-paced career at the Bank. At 30 years old, I became Country Officer for Central Asia, the position L’Ourson had occupied for Congo in his forties. Yet, it took me years to recover emotionally from these 9 months of harassment. I am not sure why it affected me so much. I think maybe because it dealt with issues of financial security and professional life. For years, I felt I was about to get fired.
L’Ourson eventually moved on to Afghanistan for the Bank where he apparently went on to sexually harass his driver. The driver complained. The Country Director another Frenchman got L’Ourson out of the Bank as he felt this was putting in jeopardy the entire team in Kabul. But with good lawyers, L’Ourson managed to reintegrate the Bank. Yet his career was halted. He is still at the same grade doing a mindless job shepherding the Bank’s executive directors went they go on their bi-annual touristic visits to our client’s countries. He got children through surrogacy. In 2005, he even got married.
I never knew how much I could have avoided and what part I had in this nightmare. The first think that my shrink told me is that if I did not want to be unhappy perhaps I should try to behave well and less selfishly: “if you want self-esteem-why don’t you do estimable acts”.
I eventually filed a complaint against L’Ourson years later. When I finally felt my career was strong enough in the Bank and I understood better that what L’Ourson had done was a serious breach of ethics. The Ethics and Business Conduct investigator responded that they could not open a case because I had not complained within a period of two years after the facts.
In April 2015, after I had been publicly placed under investigation for allegedly sharing an official-use only document with NGOs in the context of my fight to bring sexual orientation and gender-identity in the development arena, L’Ourson wrote to me out of the blue:
“Subject: Leaving the Goulp
My dear Fabrice,
In the 1970s Shadoks and Gibis series, when the Shadoks misbehaved, they were thrown into a hole called the Goulp. I misbehaved a long time ago and today, I would like to leave the Goulp and have my faults forgiven.
I am at your side as a sincere and faithful friend. I’ll do whatever I can to support you. I hope we can talk to each other soon”
I had lunch with him. His conversation was salacious and creepy as usual. He told me many details about his husband and their “amazing” sexual life that I did not ask for. I think he felt that because my job was at risk and his job placed him in close contact with executive directors he could regain some control over me. I was polite but never followed-up on his offer to help.
Even though, it is painful to admit, I owe a lot to L’Ourson. Without him, I would never had had a career in international affairs, I would probably not have stayed in the United States and not have had my sons. I also am guilty of having faked affection for him when we met. I could not stand him from our very first interaction but I hid it very well because I needed his help. That made me a user and I paid a high price for it. Of course, my responsibility pales in comparison with that of the World Bank which maintains an army of serfs-like consultants subjugated to their task team leaders without any oversight or recourse mechanism. Denouncing your oppressor at the Bank still means losing your meal ticket and your visa. The fact that L’Ourson continues to work there there is also a testimony to the oddity of an organization which self-governs.