Those of us midsters who are also still 9-to-5ers now have many colleagues who are younger. By a lot. When they talk about being “in high school,” they make references to the Internet (and we’re not talking AOL); when you were in high school, the Internet was still a figment of Al Gore’s imagination. But take comfort—there are advantages to being the workplace Yoda.
You Appear to Be More Financially Stable
When you invite 20-somethings over for an after-work drink, they’ll think your roommate-free home is swank. Your posters are framed! Your chairs match the table! No need to mention that it’s because you got to, say, keep the good dishes in the divorce, or because after said divorce you went on a decorating spree that involved overspending on furniture that your mom, feeling sorry for you, helped pay for, and that you continue to lug from apartment to apartment since you may never be able to afford stuff that nice again.
You Always Have Takers for Happy Hour
Millennials are always up for an after-work drink. Well, really, who isn’t? But the more responsible representatives of your generation (i.e., not you) often have to head home to make dinner for the kids and supervise homework. Added bonus: When you go out for drinks with the youngsters, the server might card you, too. It counts, even if it’s only a pity carding.
They’re Not Judgey When You Show Up in Age-Inappropriate Outfits
Sometimes you forget how old you are and accidentally buy a cute little dress at Anthropologie or Urban Outfitters. Or you come to work wearing that tunic-sweater thing over jeans that looked so fantastic just a few months ago. (At least, you think it was a few months ago. It may actually have been seven years ago.) Sweet things, they haven’t yet had to learn the notion of dressing your age; they’ll tell you your getup is super-cute.
They Teach You Foreign Phrases Just Like Your Host Family Did During That Junior Year Abroad
The last time you were cool was around the time people stopped saying “cool.” I, for instance, just learned what a selfie stick is, and that “basic”—which always seemed so positive, as in “a basic black dress”—is the absolute worst insult ever. For reals, you wouldn’t call your bestie that. She’s on fleek. And tfw you don’t know an acronym? Cray.
They Can Explain ‘Girls’ to You
That show. You get it. But not so much. Like, why don’t they need jobs? What is the appeal of Adam Driver? Oh, and that episode where Hannah goes to the ER wearing only a T-shirt—do young people not wear pants anymore? In my day we wore pants, even—no, especially—if we had to go to the ER. (Note: I should mention that my 20-something colleagues are very together and always remember to wear pants.)
You Get to Be a Minor Guest at Weddings
Back in the day, when all your friends were getting hitched, you were either stuffed into a fuchsia bridesmaid dress or writing a toast through an epic hangover. Now that you could use a little black-tie event to look forward to every once in a while, everyone you know is deeply ensconced in boring family life. But when you have 20-something coworkers, there’s a chance that at least one of them is headed down the aisle and you’re on the guest list. Plus, you’re probably toward the bottom of that list, which means you’re not the one tasked with ordering the penis cake for the bachelorette party; all you have to do is show up and buy a place setting off the registry.
Who Knew? You Know Stuff!
Yes, you. These young ones are just starting to go through big breakups, career frustrations, and family tiffs. They may cry to you in the office, at lunch, over a glass of wine (see #2). To your surprise, you find you have a lot of advice to give, and you even kind of know what you’re talking about. After all, you’ve been there, done that. Done it again. And made it this far.
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