Sat at my desk looking around the office, I’m increasingly noticing the variety of age groups around me and how they interact with each other.
I call this ‘observational procrastination’ and I welcome you to do the same.
See, we have a mix of age groups in the office and the general consensus of the women in these groups is as follows;
18-25 “Aww she’s a sweet girl!” or “she’s fit.” from the David Brent-esque sales reps.
30-40 “She’s a nice lady!”
40 -50 “She’s a strong woman and she knows what she wants.” or “Someone’s going through the change!”
50-65 “Aww she’s a sweet old lady!” or “Someone’s counting down to retirement!” from the reps.
65+ (There is one lady!) “Someone’s waiting for death!” from, well everyone really.
Then there I am. Slap bang in the middle. The only one ticking the 25-30 box. Lacking that innocence of youth and the experience of age, I feel unnoticed by a majority of the people.
To clarify, I’m not that shy. I try to speak to these people frequently and always greet them in the morning.
But I’m past the point of receiving the mothering instincts from the older ladies, slightly too young to befriend the middle aged women (they seem to only speak about kids and low calorie dinners, nothing in common!!) and slightly too old to want to catch Pokémon at lunch.
Now, this is not across the board.
I can think of many women and girls who trample all over these sweeping generalizations of age groups.
But I feel it is magnified in an office. You can easily slip between the cracks of age brackets and groups of people. This is ultimately confirmed by the fact that no one remembers me.
Or they get my name wrong.
I’m within a bracket of my life where I resemble a needle in a haystack. Thin, sharp and difficult to spot.
Just last week a woman who I would have considered someone I knew (I wouldn’t hide if I saw her at the weekend) called over “Katie there’s a parcel for you.”
I looked at her. I looked behind me. I let out a dumbfounded giggle. I looked at her expectant face again.
“Are you talking to me Sue?”
“Oh, aren’t you Katie? Oh sorry I thought you were Katie.”
I speak to this woman daily. Now I think of it I always say “Morning Sue!” and she just says “Morning!”
She’s probably thinking ‘who is this fantastically leggy woman who keeps wishing me well every morning!?’
Even in my last job I was constantly referred to as Charlotte in the Events team when I was Sarah in the Database team. It got to the point that I just said “YES I’M IN THE EVENTS TEAM” and I signed off some artwork for lanyards. It was an impulse move which I instantly regretted but if they want to believe that I am someone else then sod it I will become someone else!
I worked there for almost 2 years. It wasn’t a huge organisation. There wasn’t lots of comings and goings of staff. My name isn’t particularly hard to remember. It’s easily spelt, pronounced and apparently, forgotten.
The only saving grace is that I started the same day as Charlotte who is also my age, tall and brunette. Although her hair is considerably larger than mine and we look nothing alike. The caveat to that point is no one called her Sarah by mistake. So, how does that even work!?
It wasn’t that they were mixing us up in a big bowl of twenty something girls who worked there. They just thought I was also her rather than ever being me.
Then I got a text yesterday from one of my former colleagues.
This is the nail in the coffin.
“James was asking me ‘Where has Jenny gone?’ … It took me a second but then I realised he meant you! Did he ever call you Jenny to your face?”
I worked on an exhibition with James. We were sat together for hours chatting, laughing and working. And he thought I was called Jenny.
I look nothing like a Jenny!
SIGH. What am I to do?! Start wearing outrageous clothes and dye my hair luminous?
I’m off to get SARAH tattooed on my forehead.
Actually, I have a fringe that won’t work.
SA (on one cheek) R (in the middle) AH (on the other cheek)*
*face not buttocks