Last week, I shook hands with President Daniels to celebrate 25 years of service. I have spent the prime of my life administratively supporting hard-science research projects at JHU. I like working beside and with smart, ambitious people on prestigious projects, even if I am “only” an administrative member of the team.

You’ve heard of the “Old Boys’ Network?” I consider myself a part of the “Old Girls’ Network.” We are the generation of admins who say, “Sure, I can help with that and then stay late to finish the task.” We have our strengths, and our weaknesses, we Old Girls! Just the other day, I was commiserating with another lifetime admin about the stress of working for a younger supervisor. I too used to resent having to explain basic business procedures to someone 20 years my junior, whom I imagined was earning, at his/her hire date, more than I made after 20 years on the job! Now, ironically, I spend my days as a trainer, spoon-feeding and/or shoveling knowledge into these youthful bosses so that they can flourish at this institution and help continue the mission of discoveries for the world. Resentment has been replaced by mild anxiety about whether the next generation will be ready and able to step up as we Old Girls contemplate retirement. My bosses are still older than I am, just barely. But my co-workers are all younger, so I still have to refer to some of the tactics cited in the article by Susan Adams, “How to Deal With a Younger Boss.”

After my last class, I jokingly asked the students NOT to text me with questions because I wasn’t good with that medium. One of the young students made this very sweet and telling comment, “Wow! You know SO much about this software [that you are teaching us] and yet you have trouble texting?” And I had to admit that she was absolutely right! I should be texting more. I Need To Evolve. I have two thumbs and a slider phone. Over the past year, I have even learned to deal with punctuation problems and misspellings that used to cause me to recoil in grammatical horror. Now, if I could just not resent the texting during a face-to-face meeting…

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