In both my office and my client's office, I am the youngest one by 25, 30 years. Given the seriousness of our respective workloads and being surrounded by an older workforce, I suppose it was only inevitable that I was going to wind up a young old bureaucrat.
- I wake up early and arrive in the office between 6:30 and 7 every morning. I also consider a 9 hour day a short day.
- I find myself hungry at ridiculously early times. Today, I was craving my lunch at 11 am. I managed to stretch it out past noon by eating slowly, but still.
- I pack healthy lunches and breakfasts almost every day.
- I carry a briefcase. A sexy briefcase, because I have to haul around so many papers between my company office and my client's office, but a briefcase nonetheless.
- I considered it a personal triumph when the office grump warmly wished me a good morning today.
- I spend my days doing bureaucratic things like "providing input on policy brief xyz," trying to scheme how to get the most authority behind an assignment so the minions do not resist completing the assignment,, and explaining, over the phone, how to use specific databases and computer programs to less technically-savvy colleagues.
- Apparently, the latest I am capable of sleeping in on weekends is 7:15 am.
- I can generally figure out how much power and influence someone has by the way they respond to my assignments and/or the way they record their voicemail messages.
- I rank tasks with a priority level by likelihood of a fast response from the minions.
- While I still prefer fashion over practicality, I find that practicality is creeping into my wardrobe. Heels I can walk 5 miles in? Check. Layers so I can adjust to horribly fickle office tempratures? Check. An umbrella smartly tucked into said briefcase? Check.
- During the week, I barely see 11:30 pm anymore.
- I can hold my own, and indeed, am considered an "expert" in meetings involving "valuation," "thresholds," "accountability," and "legacy systems." That comes solely from having developed and refined the bureaucratic speak, since my background is in policy rather than fiscal management.
- I just said "my background is in policy rather than fiscal management." Bureaucrat-ese if I ever heard it.
- I get excited by supporting documentation.
- Track changes is my best friend.
- I'm great at appeasing those who need to be appeased, kissing up to those who need it, and deferring to give an "official" opinion all while actually getting the things that need to get done done.
While all this is great for building a phenomenal resume, even more so when you consider that I'm only 24 years old, it also means my 24 year old soul is squawking its death screams.
Peeps, I don't think a vacation was ever more needed or better timed than this one is. I've got the right amount of adventure and hedonism planned with the perfect partner-in-crime to reassert my youth and rediscover my inner badass (or at least stave off the death screams of my soul for a bit longer).
In the meantime, I have to go scold someone for setting an arbitrary deadline by invoking the power and prestige of the rank of my office over theirs. My poor soul might never be the same again....