Caroline M's blog: Am I A Grown Up?
Some weeks back, my six year old daughter said ‘When I finish Year 6, will I be a Grown Up like you?’
It was a bittersweet moment mixed with the realisation that she actually believes I AM a grown up and panicking that one of these days she would uncover the reality that I am winging it. Or if she didn’t figure it out, her astute three year old sister might.
That said, there have been some break through grown up moments this last 15 months.
One such example was when I looked my children in the eye, and said, while truthfully meaning it- ‘Please don’t worry these are just toys.’ This was in response to my children’s heartfelt sobs that the only heirlooms I will ever have put my name to; 30-year-old Sylvanian families, had started breaking in their multiples within minutes of my girls having them in their possession.
Other back patting worthy moments have been digging into my handbag and taking out a full, fresh packet of tissues to wipe a runny nose. Driving others home after a night out. Reassuring someone it will be ok with a we have been there and come out the other side approach. Fighting sleep to make sure the tooth fairy didn’t miss her stop.
I’ve been with my current company for 32% of my life. Very precise I know, but when I mentioned ‘1/3’ to my husband he told me I needed to recalibrate the age I thought I was! Over that 32% of my life, a lot of growing up has occurred- personal events like getting engaged, married, having babies, adding pets to the mix and buying and creating a home. There has been an emotional evolution- packed with life lesson learning. Like a human-like form of ecdysis, at no point changing myself completely, but instead retaining some old me along the new and improved me.
There are still times however, I tend to default to being the junior. A light touch form of imposter syndrome. In work, I might find myself still ‘tidying up’ the tasks I initially prided myself on all those years ago, and which helped me climb the ranks. I catch myself, less frequently now, posing questions with a ‘sorry to bother you, but…’. To some degree, still feeling like the child of the company.
Since September, I have been privileged to have partaken in an initiative our company is running where we have five school leaver trainees learning under our guidance for the duration of a year. Their development has spanned across teaching basic excel skills, presentation skills, how to draft an email, all the way to identifying the individual’s strengths and teasing these out of them in the most encouraging way.
And it has been an avenue in work that has reminded me that yes, I am the grown up in the room, and I can provide counsel, teaching and whatever it is that we seek from the other grown ups that we believe we are not.
Caroline M is a Portfolio Manager at an asset manager in the city navigating a new way of working. She and her husband have two wonderful girls, aged 6 and 3 and together all four try to manage their puppy.