For the past 5 years at my good government job I have noticed that I am usually the youngest person in the room (I'm also usually the only person of color-but that's a post for another day). Most of us know that this can be either a gift or a gift horse. Youth excuses ignorance, explains impatience and breeds innovation. That’s the gift. Youth also allows people to ignore you and assume that you don’t know nothing about nothing. We have all been the youngest person in the room but gradually this changes.
At my job I have had many a manager say that they are eager to hear the ideas of the newer younger workers only to default to doing things how they always have done them. Mix this with a manager telling my coworker that she hadn’t paid her dues to deserve a promotion. Yet in within the past five years this woman has been promoted and has taken this same manager’s job! Today, a great debate in my department is how we should present the materials for a training session we are having next month. A coworker who is a few years older than I suggested that we give the participants their materials on a USB flash drive. This is a great idea, especially since most of the participants are flying to participate. The older folks in group hemmed and hawed about flash drives. They wanted them to have large three ring binders, so they could have a hard copy of the material and could turn the pages along with the presenter. Huh?! Is it not 2010? Aren't the airlines shaking us down for everything we bring onto their planes? Can we get with the going green/everything is electronic now program? It can be frustrating dealing with people who were alive in the 1940s!
Sometimes you just want the old folks to sit down somewhere so we can more forward…
Then I read on Yahoo news that they are already trying to come up with a name for the next generation. The ones who have always had mobile devices, the internet and only one white president prior to Mr. Obama. As I read on I realized that at some point this no name generation will be in the workforce with me; being innovative and young-and probably wondering when this lady who was alive in the 1980s will go sit down somewhere. And this realization got me to thinking about the aging process. I mean it is inevitable of course, but how does one go about doing it realistically and gracefully? Even now I have to remind myself that by all appearances I am a responsible adult-and though I long for the ease and breeze of childhood those days are over.
I wonder if anyone ever really reconciles this fact. Do 80 year-olds in fact feel like they are 80? I’m sure their physical ailments clue them in, but what about mentally? In my younger days I believed that 30 looked and felt a certain way. Don’t ask me what that was is, because as I near 30 I can’t imagine it feeling any different than how I feel now-yet and still I know that how I feel now is not what I ever imagined. Make sense? Maybe only to me. But these are the things I think about when I see people who are eligible to retire still roaming the halls of my office. Maybe they don't see themselves as old or even as being progress blockers. And what about my 59 year old coworker carrying around a picture from her youth and planning to undergo risky plastic surgery to look better…and feel better about herself. Why should she feel bad about getting older? Yet at the same time I want these older people to get out the way so the younger, more intuned young people can run things! Then I pause and think about how one day it could be me who is standing in the way. Holding on to the past and thinking these young kids don’t know nothing about nothing.
See You In Seven
SO LONG, FAREWELL...
The View From Here will conclude on Friday, October 1, our third year anniversary. We would like to spend this month thanking all of our readers, followers, haters, visitors, family, friends, and fans for your continued support, encouragement, and comments over these past few years. Thanks y'all!
-The Five Spot