Invisibility is one of those topics often discussed throughout midlife social media. When I was working as a high school teacher, I never experienced feeling invisible…although there were times I wished I was!
I realize the publisher of the magazines I am now editor over took a big risk placing a 63 year old at the helm while other publications are retiring editors and hiring much,much younger professionals to edit their publications. In a communications world dominated by the younger generation, I get it. I understand why I would be a risky move. I am thankful and humble to hold the new position I now have.
However, I was surprised when I began to become invisible to some of the magazine’s suppliers. After all, it did not make sense to me, for anyone to discount my position. But, it has happened. My favorite story so far is a “supplier” (trying not to be too specific) who came in to pitch us. He sat with me not six inches away, and spoke only to my boss the entire time. He did not look me in the eye when introduced, nor welcome me to the position, nor respond to me when I spoke in the meeting. My chair was empty to him…I was invisible. And he is about the same age!
Two days later, we both sat at an event media table. A local blogger sat down and began to congratulate me for my new magazine position. The same man looked up and actually said, “Oh really, what magazine are you with?”
I could have played along and simply answered the question. But, I believe when faced with invisibility to confront it head on. I am not going to give anyone permission to make me feel invisible. So, I smiled and said, “Well I believe my boss is kind of cute and can certainly understand why you might speak only to him in a meeting, but two days ago I sat right next to you through an entire meeting and I believe if you think about it, you will know what magazine I am with.”
When the light dawned, the look on his face was as if a haunted house zombie had jumped out unexpectedly from behind a post….absolute horror.
He called a few days later to apologize. I am not going to be one of those who waste time railing against invisibility…of course, it is rude, of course it should not happen, and of course, it can make us feel insignificant. But, life is short…I am going to stand up to those who are that way…one at a time…and not give their actions a second thought.
Take control…don’t let them take it from you!