Generations in the Office

I work in an office full of amazingly talented people and am a member of a team that I am honored to be part of. I am also the oldest one in this office, about to turn 50 in just a couple of weeks.

Oh. My. Gosh. I could be the mother of at least half of my co-workers. Mother of pearl.

When one of our employees started with us a few years ago, she had just moved to Raleigh, and I asked her what she was going to do that weekend. She told me that she had to go home to see her parents, because her mother was turning – wait for it – 48. I stood there thinking “yep, I am officially old.”

Another employee has the cutest little boy you’ve ever seen, and in a jam one day, she asked me to pick him up at day care. When my 14-year-old daughter and I walked in the door of the day care, we were led to his room, where the employee explained to the teacher that this sweet boy’s “grandmother and aunt” were there to pick him up. My child then proceeded to call me “grandma” the rest of the night.

It’s not that I’m freaking out about turning 50. I honestly feel like I have only been out of college a few years. Except now I color my hair (Garnier Nutrisse Macadamia), wear reading glasses (they make me look smart – I think) and my memory is really not what it used to be (have I already said that?).

The beauty of working with this team, both the young and the older (but still younger than me) is that they do not treat me like I’m the old lady in the office. Do they look at me as a mother figure? Maybe, and I’m okay with that. I really think they help keep me young at heart, and God knows, I have learned so much from them. The experiences each of us has had make us who we are, and aren’t we all here to learn?

A few things I hope to teach my younger coworkers:

  • Don’t sweat the small stuff. Seriously. What seems big and insurmountable will not be that big in a week, a month, a year.
  • Appreciate your surroundings. We work for an amazing company, with bosses who truly appreciate their employees. Some days will be better than others, to be sure, but look at the big picture.
  • Stand up for yourself and don’t be a doormat. Life is too short to be taken advantage of.

Things I am learning from my teammates:

  • Good grief. Thank God for the patience of these people. Trying to teach someone who looks smart in glasses how to post a blog is not for the faint of heart.
  • Fresh thinking. I am amazed every time I sit in a meeting with these fresh out of college minds. They are not jaded and absolutely not afraid to color outside of the lines. I admire that, and hope to learn how to be more willing to take risks.
  • Don’t be afraid to ask. It’s sad that I’m the age I am and sometimes feel like I am responsible for figuring things out on my own. If you don’t ask, you could waste a lot of time.

And finally – the most important thing I’m learning from my teammates:

  • Age is a state of mind.

No wonder I don’t feel 50.

Check out this article on What Older Workers and Younger Workers Can Learn from Each Other.

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