CELL PHONE RINGS as I’m walking down the hall of our little school. I quickly answer. “What? Yes, I did inquire about a job. Am I interested in going back to school? I don’t know. Who wants to know?”
And then the barrage of questions begins: Background questions about my life, on and on. Then finally, they ask, “When did you graduate from high school?” I promptly answer with pride, thinking, “Go OWLS! Garland High School.” I tell them the year. 1966.
THEY HUNG UP ON ME!
What if I DO WANT to go back to school? Seems that that proposal is out of question. Obviously, they are not willing to invest in a person of my age, and perhaps assume that I’m not interested either. But wait! When and why did that happen? Did I sound old? Did I sound like I have no further value to continue a career or fulfill a dream?
It’s a curious feeling. Are there other discriminating moments? Yep, like surveys. Online surveys specifically. Have you ever noticed that surveys rarely request an opinion from anyone past 65 years old? I get all excited about a free gift, but there’s no category for me. It’s as if the remainder of our 65+ population has already died and in the grave! (When that weirdness happens, I envision myself at my dying wake. Sick, I know.) Still….
Aside from the drama, I’m a little confused. I thought that Boomers were a worthwhile economic demographic. Seems not, unless its for elderly products…and I don’t even want to go into that.
Hearing that ‘click’ of the phone is not the worst thing that can ever happen to someone; but I like being the one to hang up. You know what I mean? In all seriousness, all is not lost in this aging adventure for me. This is just one small example, and it is SMALL. Really, I love being who I am. I love where I am working, and I look forward to new friends.
I’ve been like a giddy little girl all week. My new work environment continues to be exemplary for inclusion of ages and abilities. Blessings are mine, and my unfounded anxieties of being older in a younger workforce are unfounded and unnecessary.
Gratefully, I am surrounded by a staff that intentionally avoids toxicity in the office…no under-the-breath sighs, etc. Old learn from young; young learn from old. We’re a circle of generational men and women who make the whole of a strategic, leadership team. Age isn’t factored nor dismissed. We are there because of what we offer. Of course, I would be naive to think that I’m not being judged, since I’m the new kid (well, you know what I mean) on the block. Of course, I am judged. Yet, there’s a respectfulness and openness that makes me feel comfortable to express myself, knowing that there will be no rolling of the eyes, no whispers of hateful gossip. Nor do I roll my eyes, for who am I to judge? Undermining, nor upstaging is not feared, nor even considered.
How do I know this? These cohorts are eager to hear new ideas from each other. “Wow, I’ve never thought of it that way. You are thinking out of the box.” One does not feel hesitant to brainstorm or to speak up with confidence. And, as with all strong leadership, there is a listening ear considering all options. Some ideas fly, some don’t, and that’s OK. Being heard is the key.
Most importantly, and thank goodness, they do not hang up, shut down, or dismiss… just because I graduated in 1966.
Friends, don’t hang up or give up. Give it all you’ve got and then some. You’re worth it.
Live life lovingly,