You assumed you would be sent by the company to attend. After all, clients praise your ability to get their social media posts high on search engines.
Shock. Millennial John is chosen instead. Not only are you out of a wonderful trip to San Francisco. You're humiliated in front of your office peers. After all, the choice of the Millennial signals that you are out of the loop. You have been passed over for this conference. The odds are you will also be passed over for a promotion in your work unit.
Being out of the loop is one of the most painful experiences in professional life. Of course, it doesn't only happen to the aging employee. At all stages of our career we find ourselves sidelined, at least temporarily. A star who twinkles more brightly is hired. There is a new boss who brought in her own team. We make a mistake and no one is forgetting that.
However, the suffering seems to be more profound as we age. That's because it represents another signal from a youth-oriented work culture that our brand equity has gone down.
That's the way it usually is. We can decide to find another opportunity where we will have access to more goodies. We can approach the powers that be about being included in more high-profile projects. We can research opening our own business. We can retire. And/or we can retrofit ourself to be perceived as more of value in the work group.
The retrofit might include providing new ideas, taking charge of an initiative and bringing home the gold, enhancing our network with more influential contacts, learning a skill no one else has, and putting in more face time.
What we can't do is sulk. Then we become a joke in the office.