Don't call me Mom

When did I become the old person in the office?

Speaking truth — December 15, 2018

Speaking truth

I’ve wasted hours of my life pretending to be something I’m not while discussing a job I’m not too thrilled about with someone who isn’t all that interested in me either.

Wouldn’t it be a big time saver to just speak the truth in an interview?

Me: “I appreciate the opportunity to refresh my interview skills with you today.”

Recruiter: “No problem, I had an open time slot and needed to look a little busier anyway.”

Me: “The job listed sounded moderately interesting but it isn’t something I could see myself doing for more than a month before I would have to ghost your company to save my own sanity.”

Recruiter: “We do tend to lose a lot of employees without notice. It’s probably a reaction to the extreme micro-managing style of leadership.”

Me: “I have nothing more to say here.”

Recruiter: “No worries.We had no intention of making you an offer anyway. I didn’t notice the date of your college degree till after I’d scheduled the interview, my bad.”

Me: “I’ll see myself out.”

Recruiter: “Thanks, I don’t want to make polite small talk walking you to the elevator.”

Soooooo much more efficient.

Working in downtown Chicago — December 11, 2018

Working in downtown Chicago

I love the energy of the city, although I needed to learn a few things first.

  1. You will never have a good hair day in Chicago.
  2. Don’t wear loose clothing unless you’re comfortable flashing your nethers every time the wind gusts.
  3. You know you’re in the theater district by the smell of popcorn and pee.
  4. Traffic markings are considered suggestions rather than hard and fast rules.
  5. If you’re going to flip someone the bird, take your mittens off first. More impactful, y’know?
If only… — December 10, 2018
Job-hunting as a 50+ year old female — December 9, 2018

Job-hunting as a 50+ year old female

There’s a million websites and how-to’s posted about job hunting after the age of fifty, especially as a professional woman. It’s hard for many people to accept that there’s a bias against older women, but if it weren’t the case, then why is there so much written about it? A preponderance of evidence indicates reality.

Unless you’ve experienced age discrimination directly, I can see why it’s tough to believe.  Imagine this situation–two equally talented candidates, both with track records of success, both bright and engaging communicators, both physically attractive. One, however is 51 and the other is 31. Now seriously, who do you think the hiring manager will lean towards? Yep, the younger person, unless of course, the older person has some sort of significant edge. Not exactly a level playing field.

I was interviewing for a software sales job several months ago. I cleared the initial hurdles easily through my credentials, references, recent history, industry knowledge and multiple phone screenings. The entire process ground to a halt when they asked for my driver’s license info to buy a plane ticket for the in-person interview across the country. The process went from daily interactions to nothing but the sound of crickets for several days—until I received the “Thanks but we’ve decided on a more qualified candidate” email message. Yep, really happened. And that was NOT the first time for me.

I’m not complaining, honest. I’ve always been able to land a job. Thankfully I am good at what I do, have great experience, the ability to find myself incredibly amusing, lots of contacts in the industry and a nice smile. Thank God, I’m genetically fortunate and mentally sturdy.

I also believe that wherever I am is exactly where I was destined to be at that moment in time, even if it sucks the biggest weenie imaginable. There is something to be gained or learned from each experience. The life lessons aren’t always immediately apparent, some have taken months and some have me scratching my head years later.

If a job hasn’t worked out for me, it’s because I wasn’t meant to be there anyway. Stay positive, work hard and know that the right placement is out there.

What happened to Generation X? — December 4, 2018

What happened to Generation X?

It seems like the press is full of commentary on Baby Boomers and Millennials, but as a proud founding member of Generation X, I’m thinking we should get our due. A quick internet search says the Generation X is the one following the Baby Boomers, although I’d rather not be defined by what I am not.

Generation X encompasses people born between 1965 and the early 80’s. We’ve been called the MTV generation, the first group of “latchkey” kids, the first group of kids heavily affected by the rising divorce rate, a group of rebellious, cynical, independent thinkers, a group struggling to find our place while not really wanting to be categorized, a generation questioning authority and the permanence of relationships.

Seems to me that the idealism and loyalty of the earlier generations gave way to a recognition of the new world reality, and we were the group to blaze that particular trail. The funny part of my research (generic reference to something I saw in a Google search) has shown Generation X to be pretty well-adjusted adults.  How the heck did that happen, given our cynical nature?

Speaking for myself, I am fairly well-adjusted. Life isn’t perfect, but it could be a lot worse and I have a theory.

I think people are happier when they accept reality. Not saying reality is necessarily a pleasant thing, but accepting it is key. I also think people are happier when they have the space to question the status quo and have room to search for their own life, rather than having it dictated. Generation X has had to define itself and find our own identity. Not an easy task but very rewarding once you hit mid-life and beyond.

Maybe that’s just Generation-X-me speaking, though.



The dermatologist — December 1, 2018

The dermatologist

Yet another sign you’re getting older is when you see the dermatologist for something other than acne.

Here’s the backstory–in the 70’s and 80’s having a tan was a symbol of good health and an outdoorsy lifestyle. We’d smear baby oil all over our exposed skin and bake for hours. Before you’re too quick to criticize the choices at the time, think of all the people today willing to shoot paralyzing toxins and plastics into their faces for cosmetic purposes. You just know that stuff is going to come back and haunt them. The things society is willing to do in search of beauty.

Anyway, my previous life choices have come home to roost and now I see the dermatologist regularly to keep an eye on some funky-looking spots on my skin. One of which was funky enough to need removal.

Laying face down on the exam table, buck naked, with only a skimpy paper sheet covering my nether region, the nurses went about their business prepping for the procedure. Have you ever been in a doctor’s office and felt more like an object than a human being? As the nurses were gathering their instruments of torture, one nurse said to the other nurse, “Get the needle please. No not that needle, the other one, the big one. No, the BIG one.” Seriously?

“You know I can hear you, right?” I didn’t even say it very loudly, but it startled them both. They had the decency to giggle sheepishly as the doctor walked into the room.

The doctor began her pre-procedure speech. “Lee Ann, we’re going to numb you now and then I’ll cut-”

“Look, I do best with these sorts of things not knowing what’s going on, unless I really need to know what’s going on. OK?” The nurses and the doctor went about their business working on the funky spot.

A pinch here and there, a little pressure and some tugging on the skin of my back and it was done. Or so I thought until I was dumb enough to open my eyes and peek at what was happening around me. Really dumb considering my eyes were level with their hands and the items in their hands, including one small glass jar with a chunk of my back in it.

I will never eat steak tartare again. Ever.

You used to be really good-looking, weren’t you? — November 27, 2018

You used to be really good-looking, weren’t you?

I’m in a hard-core sales environment, where you need boundless optimism, tons of energy, a thick hide and a great smile. Thank God, I’m well-preserved. I have long ago accepted that I am significantly older than the majority of people in the office, by 10 years minimum if not 20 or more. I’m fine with that. I like being around all sorts and types of people. It keeps the days interesting and everyone brings fresh perspectives to the job.

Although I’m aware of my age relative to the rest of the group, I don’t think about it too much. Until I have no choice.

A couple of weeks ago, the crew was heading out to a bar to blow off steam after hours. One of our many workplace Romeo-wannabes, came into my office. His jacket and tie were discarded, top couple of shirt buttons undone. He leaned over my desk ( I suspect he thought a glimpse of his love rug would help seal the deal) and asked me to join the crowd for drinks. I hesitated a second, because a glass of wine sounded pretty darn good, but then he delivered the fateful line, “You used to be really good-looking, weren’t you?”

Yep. Someone actually said that to me at work. The funny part was that I believe he honestly thought he was giving me a compliment.

I literally snorted in his face and dismissed him from my office. And this is why I drink alone.