I was supervising a group of eight people in an office when I was 22. Almost all of them were much older than I was at the time. Later on in my mid 20′s I was one of the youngest Branch Managers at the large Savings and Loan I was employed with, and my staff was generally older than I was at the time. This trend continued until I reached my mid 30′s.
Being young and trying to supervise people with more experienced than you and who are older than you is a challenge. I did it though, because I never saw age. I saw a person. And a person is not flesh and bone, but energy. These bodies are just spacesuits or cars designed to carry us about the surface of this alien planet. The age of the car doesn’t matter. The person matters.
Now, decades later, I work at a college and supervise 28 people. Nearly all are much, much younger than I am. In fact, I have neckties that are older than a few of them,
But the same principle applies – treat people like people regardless of their spacesuit.
I learned early in life to not discriminate against people for anything, including the age of their body. However, I wish that was also true for others. When I was young, people outside of my workplace who did not know me would automatically treat me as a kid, as someone inexperienced, perhaps even stupid. I will never forget the feeling of being competent and young and having some old person look down on me because of my age. They would automatically dismiss young people. Have a view on politics? Forget it kid, you are too young, what can you know?
Now I am beginning to feel that same old feeling again. People are talking down to me, dismissing me, because of my age. This time I am too old.
One thing that surprised me as I lived inside my spacesuit (body) as it grew old is that the basic person I was never changed. Age is meaningless to the soul, the Person. You can say I am 18 years old or you can say I am 118 years old. It has no strength, no meaning to the soul. I thought it did. When I was young I assumed old people were somehow different. They aren’t. Granted, some people do not age well and allow bitterness to eat away at them, but that can happen to anyone, But the basic person at 20, is the same person at 90.
I don’t get real bothered when young people dismiss me due to my age. That’s their mistake, and in any sort of competition they will lose because of it. Like purchasing reading glasses at the optometry store today. The young person thought she could dazzle me with computers and sales techniques I learned a decade before she was born. She was out experienced and out maneuvered at every turn. If she had just treated me as a person and didn’t try to take advantage of me because of my gray hair she would have had a much larger sale.
I leaned when I was a kid not to underestimate someone because of their age, be they younger than me or older. Treat people like people. Ignore the silly flesh and bones that they ride around inside. Hopefully, she will learn that too one day.
Some Blogging Guy