Ah, pursuit of happiness. Finding fulfilling work. I sometimes wonder if my resume is kicked aside because I am “older.” Would it be intimidating for an employer to bring in a someone as old as her mother to “boss around?” Probably. But hey, have the nerve to talk with me first!
I recently enjoyed a perspective from 20-something Kayla Cruz in How to Get Along With Older Coworkers « Gen Y Girl. Entertaining; and it hit home on some important issues about working together across generations. Like, how to forge the relationships that make getting things done more pleasant.
I suggest mentorships. Not one-way teacher-student pairings but mutually beneficial partners who can help one another shore up weak areas – I’ll show you my abacus and you can show me your laptop … But seriously, I could use an update on the latest social media facets I could share the wisdom of a trend analysis. And, then, getting to know one another comes more easily.
When I was in my 30’s, I worked for a woman who was 60 and considered a curmudgeon. She was quite talented, actually. I learned a lot from her and a lot about her that led me to have great respect for her. We never became “friends.” But I am thankful to have earned her respect. It doesn’t always have to be personal.
On my team was a woman in her 50’s and completely full of energy. She always had an inspirational message to share. It was fun to meet with her over a project, and, to share the occasional lunch hour with her. I rarely noticed the difference in our ages.
Final example. I hired a 20 something fresh out of college. It was wonderful to have her energy, and it was frustrating to have to tactfully tell her to make sure her top was long enough and/or her bottoms high enough so that her thong panties weren’t showing. I blushed. She just tucked it in. (Reminds me of the time the elastic broke in my half-slip and I found it at my ankles while standing among my colleagues).
Anyhow, I can share examples with male colleagues too. Like the time the company hired a man who was younger than me and less experienced in business overall – to be my boss – because they couldn’t have a “girl” running the account. Even though I had been successfully running the business for 6 months while they searched a replacement. Let’s hope that one doesn’t fly anymore.
It is key to enjoy people and to inspire the best work toward common company goals, then embrace the friendship that develops. Most will stay within the office hours. And some will stay with you for life.