Rachel, I feel I’m left out of things
The writer, who's older, is not invited to after-work get-togethers
June 22, 2012
To tell you the truth, I feel a bit isolated at work. I am older than my boss by 20 years, and many of my co-workers are the age of my youngest daughter. Come the end of the day, the young people invariably meet up for drinks, sometimes in large groups, and I'm never invited. A part of me says fine, I don't really drink and I would rather be at home with my family. But another part of me worries that I'm missing out on something and that at some point it could hurt my career, or what remains of it. I am happy here, and I want to stay here—and employed. Am I worrying about nothing? Or should I be worried? Sign me More Senior and Anxious
I would not worry, were I in your boots. I'd focus on my work, doing the best job I could, and go home at the end of the day feeling good about what I had accomplished.
There are several good reasons why you are probably not being invited. For one, you have a family, and a lot of places young people go after work are places to meet other singles.
When you were 26, would you have invited someone in their 50s to go with you to a singles bar? Probably not.
Consider also that if you did go out, wouldn't you find yourself bored with a lot of the talk? Those young people are probably talking about things you have no interest in. Or if the talk relates to work, they're talking about the sort of career issues you've long ago resolved.
Simply put, a lot of what gets talked about in those post-work settings is pretty ho-hum.
More important, though, you have to consider your value to the agency and how well you get along with your boss and others during office hours. That's the real measure of your standing.
Are you getting good performance reviews? Are you seeing pay raises? Are you put in charge of projects?
True, many great friendships are created over drinks, but at the end of the day what really matters is the quality of one's work. Friendships built over drinks are often just that. They are seldom the building blocks of great careers.
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