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March 29, 2007

Oh Polly, not again.

You know...since moving from New Mexico I've read the ABQjournal off and on via the net to keep up on news. Since starting this blog just a few weeks ago, I've been reading the ABQjournal much more thoroughly. I've now determined something.....one Ms Polly Summar, "journal north" columnist, someone whose work I'm not familiar with and as of today have only read twice, is going to provide A LOT of fodder for this blog.

First off...I want her job...because I far as I can tell, she gets to complain for a living. Sure, I'm doing that here on this blog, but she's getting *paid*.

Second...dear, dear Polly. You gotta get out of Santa Fe sometimes. There's a whole bright world out there! I don't know why you think the world oughta bend to your will...it ain't gonna happen. I suggest taking some of those over priced Santa Fe yoga classes and get in touch with your Kundalini or something...because, nice lady, you are going to pop a vein if you keep letting all this stuff get to you.

You say you are a baby boomer...I thought the hallmark of the boomers was their "live and let live" demeanor. What happened to you?

Today Polly is on about the younger employees of her office. In the same way I found her to be rather rude about the tourists in her beautiful town, now she's snubbing the 20-somethings in today's article, "Don't Bother Trying To Bond With Office Youths".

Don't bother? That implies these people aren't worth your valuable time. If you walk around with that attitude it's no wonder people don't want to "bond" with you.

Who bonds with their coworkers anyway? They are not your friends. They are not there to be your moral support. They are all there to do a job. And so are you. Leave your coworkers alone fer goodness sakes!

I think Polly's point number 5 chilled me the most:

"It is fine for you to do some things with 20-somethings during the week, like lunch or a quick dinner after work. But don't go and start inviting them to do things on the weekend. That is both gross and weird. Or maybe it's just weird. Just don't do it."

Oh my god! That's both gross and weird at ANY age! No one goes around asking coworkers to do things on the weekends unless you have already established that kind of friendship with them, which is rare at work. I don't hang out with any of my coworkers anywhere other than work. If you go around randomly inviting ANY coworker, regardless of age, to do things on the weekends I can guarantee folks will avoid you like you've got a stinging case of the avian flu.

Are you that lonely, Ms Summar, that you are trolling your place of employment for friends? I've always, personally, made it a policy to keep work at work and keep personal to personal. It's a lighter version of "don't dip your pen in the company ink". I don't WANT my coworkers involved in my personal life...because I have to WORK (you know, as a professional) with these folks. I don't want to have to negotiate a huge contract with someone who knows that I worry about my hair color being too brassy and that I’m confused because last night I cried my eyes out again over something that happened over two years ago.

THAT is not conducive to work.

I think the tone of this whole article is sad. You are doing nothing to improve your situation or the over all situation of "us vs them". You are making it worse. Much worse.

I remember being a fresh faced kid out of college working at Sandia Labs. The median age at Sandia isn't exactly "youthful". I was a fresh faced 23 year old MBA grad and I ran into a lot of curmudgeons who couldn't be bothered to mess with a "young kid" (they actually called me that). They constantly reminded me that I was young and "didn't know anything" (they actually said that). It was, actually, pretty demoralizing. I knew there was much to learn from these folks. They had made successful careers and I wanted one too. But they dismissed me much the same as Ms. Summar dismisses the younger employees of her office. And I lost out on a lot because of that attitude.

The good news is that my first boss, and the boss that followed, both took me under their respective wings. They are boomer-aged folks, had been at the labs twenty years or better at the time, and they knew they didn't have to talk to me in the "lingo". Here's what they did, Ms. Summar, they talked to me like they would talk to any adult, without regard for my age (hey, there's a respectful concept!). I formed deep friendships with both of them that last to this day (that was about fifteen years ago). They mentored me and today I can honestly say I owe my quite successful career to them both. I still email with them regularly. They still help me when I'm stuck with a work situation. They still make me laugh. They tell me how much they miss me, and I believe them because I miss them too.

And guess what? Today, I mentor the people in my office they way they mentored me. There is a very bright 21 year old working in my office. I made a reference to a 70's show, "The Jeffersons", much like Ms. Summar did with "The Odd Couple" in her article. The young girl of course said "what?". I laughed, she looked at me odd, and here's what I did...I said "here's what I meant...." She got it, because I gave her the benefit of the doubt.

Give people (regardless of age) the benefit of the doubt, Ms. Summar. Please!

Look what you are missing out on. Your elitist attitude is standing in the way of what could be a meaningful mentorship, passing on all you know to those that come after you in your same chosen career. Hey maybe THAT is a place to start, the fact you both chose careers in journalism. By sniffing and snubbing the "youth" (who but a curmudgeon even uses that word anyway?), you lose the chance to pass on all you've learned.

You seem to have had a successful career. Why are you keeping it to yourself by imposing all these obstacles?

Dictionary.com (wait, you are familiar with the internet, right?) lists one definition for curmudgeon that fits our friend Ms. Summar to a tee:

"a crusty irascible cantankerous old person full of stubbon ideas"

Maybe *that* is why the "youths" don’t want to hang out with you....

(P.S. I'd actually written a different post for today, but reading Ms. Summar's article fired me up so much I bumped it for another day.)

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All content of Oh Fair New Mexico by Karen Fayeth is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.