Thursday, July 06, 2006

Age and experience

I had a funny conversation with a co-worker yesterday, call him M. He's in his late 20's, maybe 27 or 28--a little younger than I am, but not by much. I've learned through previous conversations that he's single and living the single life to its fullest--recently backpacked around Europe and I recall a conversation about a "bus party" where a bunch of folks hired a bus to take them barhopping for a night.

Anyway, we were nuking our lunches and talking about our holiday weekends, and the conversation turned to where we went to college. He attended Purdue, and I mentioned that several people I went to high school with also did, but couldn't recall off the top of my head anyone who would have been in computer science. M replied, "Oh, I don't know if I would know them, I graduated quite a few years ago." "How many is quite a few?", I asked, wondering if he was some sort of boy genius who'd gone to college straight from elementary school or something. "I graduated in 2000". I had to giggle at that--I myself graduated from college in 1998. "Really?", he said, "I thought you were a lot younger than that!".

I know I look young, and I suppose it's flattering to be told you look like you're barely legal to drink instead of pushing 30 with a kid. I am young for my years of work experience--I was barely legal to drink when I graduated from college 8 years ago. But still... Right now I don't know whether to be grateful for my youthful looks, or annoyed that people I work with think that I'm much younger/newer/less-experienced than I am at my job.

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