Re-entering The Corporate World at 50

When going through hell and darkness, sometimes all you need is a break, a helping hand that will re-assure you that all will be well again. I am blessed to have a network of people who have extended loving hands and are helping me stand up and walk through the shards and fire. Each step is excruciating at the moment, as I need to emerge from my isolation and face the music. The people. The world.

3dguyscreen_0009_tnsMy life is all about starting over at the moment, moving on, and exploring alternative routes and routines. A new job in a familiar field was a god-send that I could not possibly refuse, although I knew very well that it could turn my life upside-down again. The cats are perplexed why we get up at 5:30am on a regular basis now. Kessy, who needs her longer hours of sleep, peeks out sleepily and grumpily waddles over to greet me. Champagne, who is normally bouncy and perky at that hour, also has trouble carrying out her duties as my shadow. Both cats keep me company during breakfast (they snooze) and escort me to the door when I leave at 7:30. It is heartbreaking to look at them each time I shut the door behind me and they are still standing there, wondering.

frog_laptop01_tnsIt is not just the change in the schedule that takes getting used to, but also the entire mind-shift. I am no stranger to the IT world, but this is a field that changes at light speed. Blink twice and there has been an upgrade or modification the software, and when you have been away from the industry as long as I have, I don’t even recognise traces of the version I used to know. Intra-office communication and document management is all electronic, and even here the software has changed leaps and bounds, accommodating those who work in other cities – gone are the days when a folder or clipboard would be handed over to you by an office gofer with a document to read and you had to sign for it! I have so much catching up to do, not just in terms of the company workflow, making the necessary changes I was hired to do, and learning the ropes for upcoming projects. I feel like Rip Van Winkle waking up after a 200 year slumber. I went to sleep with the hardcopy signature folders and woke up somewhere in a parallel digital universe.

3dguyscreen_0009_tnsCatching up with the technical side is just another aspect of the adjustment, but learning from my colleagues who are basically my daughter’s age give or take a few years, is a fascinating experience. The lunch conversations are funny because I realise the massive generation gap between us when talking about movies, for example, or when something is referred to as belonging to the distant past like the 80s and 90s. My age is definitely showing, but I’m not complaining. In the absence of my daughter living with me to keep me updated on the latest trends, I pick up the latest from my young colleagues, realising that I am now living on the other side of the coin. When I started out working after college, we always joked about the older executives who were out of the loop. Now I am one of the older ones. Thank goodness for a couple of colleagues who are in my age range and speak my generation!

Moral of the story? 50 is not such a bad age after all. I’m not too far gone that I can be accused of being too old and set in my ways, looking only towards retirement, reluctant to change. I bring the life experience with me that the younger people still have to acquire, and from them I re-discover the fountain of youth that pulsates in a city like Berlin.

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