March 02, 2012


I didn't work long today as another part of my life had gone sideways. I walked in at close to noon, just going in to check my email status as it appears I'll be going out to Tyndall for a week in May.

I stopped by the front desk to the building to talk to the woman who mans it. Out of the corner of my eye, at the back door, I saw a group of teenagers.

Me: Hunh. Did someone bring their kids in so they could all go out to lunch? An impromptu take your kid to work day?

Frontdesk, craning to see the backdoor: Wait. Who is that? They can't be in here if they didn't sign in...

Me: Are you sure they didn't sign in?

Frontdesk: Positive. This is a secured facility...

I got kind of wide eyed and said 'OK...' and I left for her to do her job.

Now we're not an armed facility, but folks that I work with do have Secret Clearances. I, fortunately, do not. That is a REAL hassle only being able to work in certain rooms and all the other crap that comes with it. No thanks.

An hour later, I was leaving to get one of my kids from school when the woman at the Front Desk stopped me.

Frontdesk: Bou, I wanted to tell you, that JT (the head of our Security Dept) and I looked up the security films and he told me to tell you that he wants to make sure you ALWAYS feel comfortable stopping someone if you don't think they belong in this building. This is what we want. We want people to let us know when something doesn't feel right. But... we also want you to know... those weren't teenagers. Those were new engineers hired upstairs in Mike's group.

Me: Holy crap.

Frontdesk, laughing: Yeah. You probably don't interface with them much.

Me: No, not at all. I work field problems. Holy crap. Do you have any idea HOW OLD I feel? They are new engineers here? I thought they were frickin' TEENAGERS coming to meet Dad for lunch.

Frontdesk: bwhahahahahaha! If I had seen their faces, I would have recognized them, but I could only see from behind.

Nice. I'm so old that when we have new hires, I think they're someone's kids.

I hate it when that happens.

And I'm going to be out in the field in May and I know dang well I'm going to be old enough to be the mother of all those mechanics. Last time I was in the field, it was the other way around... I was old enough to be everyone's daughter.

Posted by Boudicca at March 2, 2012 11:54 PM

Oh Bou! I do feel for you! I remember the exact day I had that gawd-awful revelation that the tables had turned...and it sucked buttermilk.

Still does.

Posted by: Mell at March 3, 2012 01:09 AM

Brace yourself ... one of them will call you "maam". I hate when that happens!

Posted by: PeggyU at March 3, 2012 01:46 AM

Welcome to my world! ;) But I still hate it when people call me 'ma'am'.

Posted by: pam at March 3, 2012 09:39 AM

Oh no doubt I'm going to be Ma'am'd all over the place. I'm going to be with the military. That happened in my 20s... and the mechs were my age. (Their supervisors were 20 years older than I.) After the first day I said, "Look, I'm not military. You're going to have to call me by my first name or I'm going to struggle the entire time I'm here..." I think it was more of a shock as I was the only female.

But this time, I know darn well it will be an age thing.

Posted by: Bou at March 3, 2012 10:49 AM

*sigh* Yeah, it's one of the not-so-fun things about getting older. I hate it when my students tell me I remind them of their grandmother. But then again, many of their grandmothers are in their 30s...

Posted by: Mrs. Who at March 3, 2012 11:23 AM

Age is but a number........

But it is an accurate barometer of just how young you are.

Posted by: bx19 at March 3, 2012 02:54 PM

Heh. We are associated with a "charter academy" that is aviation focused, so we regularly see honest to goodness teenagers visiting the facility. Charter academies are university sponsored primary & secondary schools that are not a part of the regular public school system. They are sort of like your magnet schools in southern Florida.

I also work on a program that leads new hires to our tribal knowledge, so I am very clued in to what they look like ...

We too went through those lean years of very little (or no) hiring, which kept me just under the median employee age. I'm glad that's over.

I don't think you will have a problem when you are out "in the field" as (although they may be young) they are much more focused than teenagers or college students. They will be THERE to get the job done, just as much you will be.

Have fun getting your hands dirty. Its been years since I got to visit Pax or any of the other sites.

Posted by: The Thomas at March 3, 2012 11:27 PM

I think what threw me was the female engineer was wearing jeggings and a tshirt type top with a big floppy purse. It was so... teenage. And the guys were wearing... those big teenager shoes. High tops? Big shoes. With jeans.

We're a casual workplace, but that was that next step and smacked of "HIGH SCHOOL!" Evidently it was Friday so they were more 'dressed down'.

The typical guy wears jeans/khakis and a collared shirt tucked in, whether a polo type or a button down.

The typical woman wears jeans/khakis and a nice blouse. I wear sandals. Its my trade mark. I don't wear closed toed shoes unless it's cold outside. (No flip flops. I wear nice sandals.)

If I'm dressing down, it's a SATURDAY and I'm alone at work and I'm in shorts. It's MY time, I'm not dressing. But otherwise, I never dress down from the norm. I'd look stupid.

Posted by: Bou at March 3, 2012 11:49 PM

That is starting to happen to me at work, everyone I worked with (98% males) always referred to me as their work daughter.

Now I feel like someones .... Aunt, yea that is it, Aunt.

excuse me while I go get my walker ...

Posted by: Quality Weenie at March 5, 2012 10:20 AM

remember, "ma'am" should be taken as a sign of respect no matter the age. I'd rather be called ma'am than "yo bitch"! heh.

Posted by: Jean at March 5, 2012 01:49 PM