I bounced around the fast food industry and some retail in my youth and those first jobs were integral for building my confidence to be out in the world, dealing with all different kinds of people who were much older than me – co-workers, managers, bosses – some good, some not so helpful at all.
Segwaying into the more corporate world after graduating college, I quickly found that my older corporate co-workers, managers and bosses weren’t a whole lot different in the way they treated the young, fresh newcomers.
Some would treat us young “up and comers” as hope for the future, taking us under their wing and wanting to impart their wisdom. Others viewed us young “whipper-snappers” as threats to their very purpose. Constantly correcting, putting us in our place and silently reminding us of the corporate pecking order. (oh yes, I’ve worked with one or two like that! Or three or four!)
Sometimes, I think that this corporate world was developed as just one big social experiment. Are we done yet? Did I pass?
Then, yesterday, I got slapped with a huge reality check.
So, I’m in a meeting and, looking around the board room table, I suddenly realized that I was the oldest person there!
My colleagues, my client, my boss – I am older than all of them!
When the heck did that happen!?!
I suddenly felt uncomfortable, wondering what these young people saw when they looked at me. More important, how do I see them? Are they young “up and comers” or “whipper-snappers”?
Sitting there in my cardigan, bifocal contact lenses and low-heeled shoes – I pondered.
I realized that I had some choices to make. I cannot change my age but I can choose what to do with it.
Am I going to feed off the light of the young, bringing their enthusiasm and energy into my world?
Will I embrace my corporate journey and experience as an asset and valuable enough to share – strive to be a mentor?
Or will I become the old codger in the corner cubicle, locking her stapler and tape in the drawer at the end of every day? Gawd, I hope not.
These are definitely things to think about but, right now, I think there is a more pressing matter to attend to . . . there is a sale on hair colour at the drug store!
Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net