The Seniors in the Office
This is Alex and he is old.
Alex is in his 21st cat year which makes him about 100 in human years. He stopped grooming himself about a year ago, and takes pills everyday for his heart and high-blood pressure. He is able to jump-up on his favourite chair, climb stairs, and find the litterbox. The vet says that apart from his minor health issues, he can continue to trudge the corridors of his little life. He isn't going to let himself give up just yet.
Alex is "that guy" (gal) in the office who keeps on working despite the hip replacement and seniors discounts. In the predominately younger offices, these individuals are truly relics. However, like old relics, they can be treasures. If you can be patient through the anecdotal evidence of how things were harder when they entered the corporate world, and the politically incorrect rants on humanity, you find nuggets of golden insight that they have cultivated over 40 years of experience.
The senior, senior staff, contribute to the company in unique and often intangible ways. You need to respect the thousands of meetings they have attended, hundreds of invoices they have processed, numerous failures and accomplishments, and voluminous daily tasks. They appear not as fast or technologically savvy than their younger counterparts, but those years of experience mean that they do not have to think as hard or work long hours to solve a problem.
Occasionally, golden individuals do need to be escorted to the exit door, but only if their distaste and resentment has reached the corporate tolerance saturation point. At this time they become disruptive and unruly - not caring how loud they are talking about the idiots they work with or eating any lunch they want out of the staff fridge.
These individuals can also be the most relaxed and unwavering on a project team. I watch them navigate the intense and chaotic deadlines with calm and ease. On my first large project, a golden consultant told me to chill - the project would get done with or without me. It really is about the project process - the journey, not the destination. Although, if you aren't good at your job, you will not like the destination. Years later I am still trying to explore this word "chill", but looking to those golden individuals, I have hope that I will enjoy a better project temperature. When you are on a team with them or in the staff kitchen, remember that they are as scared of you as you are of them.
Kevin walks over to Alex and gives him a bat on the ears indicating that he wants to play. Alex stares at Kevin in silence - Kevin disarms himself as Alex clearly isn't taking his bait. Then, with a steady paw, Alex thumps the unsuspecting Kevin to the ground. That is the elegance of age and experience. Even with technology on our side, we too shall get old.
Fiona Warren - 17 years experience with large high-profile projects and teams.