5 Things Older Employees Should Never Do With Younger Co-Workers Around

Hanging on to a job tops pretty much every midlifer's short list of things they'd absolutely like to do. So with that in mind, here are five things that Post 50s should probably never do in the office:

1. Manage the lives of their adult kids from their cubicle.
Offices are communal work spaces and, let's fact it, not even the white noise machine can drown you out when you scream into the phone at the stupid airline that cancelled your son's flight in Zurich and left him stranded there. Since many of your co-workers are likely around your son's age, there's a good chance that this kind of thing makes them cringe, says Deborah Gallant, a business coach who counsels many mid-lifers. "Over-parenting an adult kid isn't something that endears you to your younger co-workers," says Gallant.

Your young office peers will be equally put off if they overhear you on the phone discussing your daughter's irregular periods with another mom. Ditto on those calls when you arrange your son's semester abroad, his summer job at your friend's art studio, his off-campus lease that you are co-signing and want him -- not his room-mate -- to have the bigger bedroom. Don't do things that remind your colleagues what they most dislike about their own parents. In fact, don't do things that remind them of their parents at all.

There's another side to this too. Micro-managers who can't discharge responsibility and must do it all themselves aren't all that well-thought-of by company managers. If you insist on micro-managing your adult kids' lives, how are you going to be on the project team? Nobody likes a control freak, so back off.

2. Eat lunch alone at their desk every day.
If you want to be successful at your job, you need to play well with others. Being part of the office culture is a huge part of whether you will survive any reduction in staff. If the office is going out en masse at lunch to try the hot new eatery, make sure you go along too.

If you don't make yourself accessible, you will be considered an outsider. Remember: It's always easier to fire the guy that nobody knows. Make sure you are known.

3. Dress like a kid.
You aren't, so don't. There are fashionable alternatives to styles that look silly on you. Your value to the office comes from your years of experience and institutional wisdom. Emphasize that, not the fact that you are still capable of buying a mini-skirt.

4. Behave as if their age entitles them to something extra.
You are paid for the work you do. It starts and stops there. Just because you are the oldest person in the room doesn't buy you any special considerations when it comes to work perks. You can argue that you want Christmas week off because your kids are home from school, but the Millennial at the next desk might also want to spend the holiday with her parents who live 3,000 miles away. Age doesn't trump; work seniority does.

5. Act like change is the enemy.
Our workplaces and jobs are constantly evolving. Don't be the guy who says things like "But this is how we've always done it." Don't roll your eyes at the suggestion that there may be a new way to do something. Status quo is the enemy of innovation and for companies to move forward today, employees must be able to respond to an ever-changing work climate. You don't want to be the person in the room who always says "no" to any new way of looking at things.



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