Brandi Dye, Iowa intern

“Hi, Brandi. Our Fraud Watch Educators are happy with the video you posted.”

“Dope.”

This is a representation of a typical interaction I might have with my boss, the AARP Iowa communications director, as we pass in the hall. What is harder to represent with words is the look on her face when I respond with the word “dope.”

I like to think that I know how to behave myself in a professional setting. But until I started at AARP Iowa, I never thought twice about using terms that are technically slang. The communications director might notice when I use the word “dope” but my fellow interns don’t blink. AARP is a multi-generational workplace. There are plenty of perks. Being around full-fledged adults, versus my collegiate peers, spurs me into an air of maturity (at least during the work day). From a PR perspective, my understanding of the AARP audience is not as good as someone who is closer to that audience. Ideally, I add something of value to the office too, something like technology troubleshooting or a digital first mindset?

Working in a multi-generational office is a learning experience for everyone. I am lucky enough to learn from my boss’ experience in this field. And I honestly don’t know if I bring much to the table, but hopefully my ability to shoot and edit video from an iPhone has made her job a little bit easier. I am here all summer and one of two things will happen: I will learn to respond with a word more professional than “dope” or the communications director will stop reacting to me saying “dope.” Which will happen first?

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