The young child is crying and pleading to go home. He screams, “I want mommy!!” He gets up and throws a chair and tosses all the markers on the desk to the ground. With the help of his teacher, we calm him down and engage him in a game of Connect Four. His father walks into the room and gives him a stern lecture. He turns to his son and says, you better listen to your teacher and “Ms. Lauren,” after quickly glancing at my name tag. I say, it’s actually “Dr. G.” He smirks, rolls his eyes, and says sarcastically, “really? Is it really?” I shoot daggers at him and say “yes, it is REALLY!”
A man comes to my office and asks to meet with Dr. G. I respond, “Yes, How can I help you? The visitor says, “Please go get Dr. G for me.” I repeat, “what can I help you with?” “He repeats, “Go find Dr. G for me.” This interchange goes on for another minute or so. At this point, I am just messing with him. Finally, I say, “I’m Dr. G. What were you expecting?” He responds, “An older man with a beard. Basically, I was not expecting someone who looks as young as you.”
A staff member comes to talk to another professional in the room where I am working and begins gossiping with her. I am typing on my laptop, half listening to the conversation. I hear “blaa blaa blaa blaaa had an affair with so and so.” I am asked what I think of all of this. I pick my head up and ask for clarification. I ask, “who was married?” She responds caustically, “Don’t you even know what an affair is, Dr. G? Come on! What’s wrong with you? You have all these letters after your name and a fancy degree, but you know nothing about how the world works! How can you be so naïve? You know nothing about life.” I sit there stunned and wonder what I did to her to warrant this.
This is a small sampling of what I put up with on a regular basis. The fountain of youth has both blessed me and cursed me. I have been asked for my hall pass when working in high schools and been threatened to be written up for not being in school uniform. This goes beyond how I am treated professionally. I am carded on a regular basis. I have had people assume I am my three children’s babysitter. I have been talked down to and treated like a child at doctors’ appointments. I have been asked for me to get my mother, when turning down a door to door solicitor. My response to that one was “She lives 10 hours away. It may take her awhile to get here.”
Possibly, I bring this on myself. I typically dress for comfort and I do not always look very professional. I have a sarcastic sense of humor that I have been learning that not everyone appreciates. However, I do deserve to be taken seriously. I have several degrees that I worked my butt off for. I have a dozen years of experience in my field. I have almost 40 years of life experience, with plenty to bumps in the road along the way. Please do not judge books by their covers (even if it’s a youthful, new looking cover).