From preschool through college you are grouped with people that are very similar in age to you. You’re all pretty much going through the same life events and it is usually easy to find something to talk about. So it’s difficult that once you start working you are thrown into a place where the age ranges from 22 all the way up to 75 (extreme for some places but here it is the case). At a consulting firm you all work together on projects and are constantly interacting with people that are not your age. For the most part the age difference will go unnoticed. But then there are times when it becomes awkward or you feel like someone is treating you differently because you are young in their eyes.
After a meeting a client that is around my parents’ age was talking to me and some of my coworkers. We were talking about something and I made a comment that showed my age. The client looked at me and I watched as the realization came over her as she said “Oh, you’re about my son’s age.” The conversation continued around us but I could feel her eyes boring into me as she continued to ponder this thought. She could have been thinking a number of things but I’m sure it revolved around the fact that someone who grew up watching Rugrats like her son was now assisting with a multi-million dollar project.
There is also someone in my office that is much much older than me that has relatives in her family near my age. That somehow translates to her talking to me much like how I imagine she talks to them. For example, if I’m wearing a nicer outfit one day she will gush that I look “SO CUTE!” in front of my coworkers. I realize that this is very sweet of her to say and she is only trying to be nice. However, there are different ways to compliment my outfit in front of others when I am trying to maintain a more professional image (which can be difficult as I am the second youngest person in the office). The only person allowed to give me grandmotherly compliments is my Nana.