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young_office_workersHere’s a sobering notion: for the first time in my career there are people being hired in our office who are young enough to be my children. They were teething back when I was performing keg stands. They tell me that their moms have the same sweater I am wearing; I disappointedly walk away in my sensible shoes…

Why am I suddenly feeling so old? I know I’m not old per se, but I am certainly not the new girl around here — and why does that bother me? In my warped head it’s like a title fight, Age and Wisdom vs. Bright and Shiny. Naturally I’m not the first to enter the ring under this marquee, but it still feels like a swiftly delivered sucker punch. Why do I feel like I am in some sort of competition with the younger set? For once in my life I have deep sympathy for models — imagine their feelings of insecurity as they age. Plus, they haven’t eaten in decades. Think of all the donuts they’ve missed.

My Outlook calendar has a midlife crisis scheduled for mid-2015, and clearly I’m not prepared. Taking the ounce of prevention approach, I have decided to do a few things to maintain my sanity and be an affirmative force in the office, rather than feel sorry for myself (which apparently does nothing to improve frown lines).

Be a Cheerleader: Support and promote young co-workers who need some positive reinforcement. Sure, you were thinner and didn’t have a mortgage to worry about, but you were plenty uncertain in your young 20s. Remember those days when you wish you had someone singing your praises and pay it backwards.

Be Thoughtful: Bright shiny things do not have history on their side. Over the years you’ve made hundreds of invaluable connections and irreplaceable friendships; take the time to introduce newbies to your contacts and encourage them to build their own relationships.

Be an Example: Avoid gossip and negativity. Whether you realize it or not, new hires will look to you as a barometer for the office temperament.

Be Helpful: Roll up your sleeves and help with the grunt work. Dispel the “not my job” attitude early; others will follow suit.

Be Proud: Don’t lose sight of your accomplishments, even the small ones. You’ve learned from each mistake, which is a win in less attractive packaging. Remember that the new kids still have plenty of mistakes ahead of them (and try not to enjoy it too much).

Be Thankful: If you are comfortable (footwear aside), it means you are in a good place – in my case, a very good place. Your happiness and security are what most people starting out in the workforce would consider their goal; embrace it.

A recent addition to Institute, Leading Real Estate Companies of the World’s online learning platform, is a new series called “Legends from Leaders.” Our team is harvesting the collective brilliance of our network member leaders who share their stories about the journey to the top. The first edition features Ebby Halliday’s Mary Frances Burleson. Upcoming segments feature iconic names in real estate including Bill Watson of Watson Realty Corp., Michael Saunders of Michael Saunders & Company, Harold Crye of Crye-Leike, REALTORS® and Rob Sibcy of Sibcy-Cline Realtors.

LeadingRE does a lot to educate and empower young talent through its Institute. Courses are available for agents just starting their careers, as well as industry veterans. Syllabi have been carefully crafted to act as a road map for navigating the vast amount of content. Those of us who have already been down that road can help pave the way for others — just remember to wear sensible shoes.

Learn more about LeadingRE at