On Friday afternoon, a few people were hanging out in the lunch room, where, by no small chance, the admin staff puts up a monthly list of birthdays (not ages, but days in the month). And I had glanced, and realized that Sunday is the birthday of one of our new colleagues, one who was there in the lunch room. I said something, and suggested we should go to lunch on his birthday or something, but lunch on Sunday here is difficult (places often aren't open or are buffets, and some of the people there hate buffets). So we decided on dinner yesterday instead.
We had a nice dinner, about 12 people total (including a couple kids and non-departmental spouses). It felt like a good idea to celebrate a bit with a new colleague, especially this early in the academic year. Zie has moved here alone, as lots of people do, and trying to make sure that we treat new folks with at least a little care is important.
But it was weird, because I'm in the, say, upper third in age in my department (I'm 52), though there's a cluster of people right around my age, a few into the 60s, and lots in the 40s. The younger folks are mostly in their 30s, which given the years to degree for phuds in our fields makes sense. (The people who want to say that baby boomers are selfishly taking up jobs that should rightly go to younger people would be hard pressed to find evidence in my department.)
Anyway, as I was saying, it was weird because while I don't think of myself as an oldster usually, I was clearly the oldest in this group, probably by ten years. I really noticed this when folks were talking about some pop culture stuff, and their references were kids TV shows that I've vaguely heard of, but that were popular when I was in my 20s or 30s, and not watching kids TV.
It's one thing to think that you should try to keep up a little with popular culture to be aware of stuff your students are into, but it's weird to realize that you become outdated in your 20s because you don't have the cultural references your future colleagues will have in the future.
We had a meeting on Friday. You know how you read the job wiki, or some grad student posts, and there's this analysis that purports to know what's going on in so and such a department?
This was a meeting about hiring stuffs, and I have no idea what is going on. I'm not the only one, either.
I hope at some point a grad student writes in the wiki and explains it all.