I've come to a point in my life where I'm old at work. Obviously there are people older than me, but I've become one of those people who works alongside people three, four years younger than me in higher (or lateral) positions. This realization slowly dawned on me at my old job. Age is but a number and all that, but you can't help occasionally feeling a little bit like a loser when your hierarchy on the company food chain doesn't match up with your peers. When you grow up a Summer baby, one of the youngest in your class, your mind morphs into imagining yourself, "the young one." I still remember my 22nd birthday at my first job out of college. Everyone scoffed at how I was still such a baby, and I remember thinking I was old. Ha!
I heard a lot of bullshit through college about how if you work hard enough you will fly up the ladder of success. Screw just climbing it because you're going to work harder and sprout wings! Unfortunately, the world is a different place than anyone thought it could be. The recession socked me and many others in the throat. Working hard means nothing if there aren't enough jobs to go around. The truth is that not everyone is lucky enough to find the right company on the first (or second or third) try. Sometimes you need a little time to figure out what you want to do. Sometimes what you want to do isn't possible at the moment, and you have to pay the bills until your moment comes. Not everyone's story is the same.
What feels like an eternity ago, I lost two jobs within a 1 and a 1/2 year span of time (my first 2 jobs out of college during the height of the recession). I thought, at that time, my life was over. I was a loser. I had no hope of making it in the world. I would never find a job again. The unemployment rate would never bounce back. The job market would stay grim and bare. Of course that wasn't true. I'm making it along, just fine, even though my path may have been a little rockier than others who had a smoother one.
During that time I learned the hard way that you should never, ever depend on a job to define you. The sad truth is, business is business. Your best work friend may become a stranger tomorrow. The boss you thought had your back may have to cut you from payroll just because things got too tight. There is no promise that a promotion will come or a bonus will appear in your paycheck. You have to work with what you've got, and eventually the hard work will pay off.
Does anyone else suffer from feeling like the "old person" at work?