Or so they make it seem.
In a world where millennials are gaining higher positions and credentials, my age seems to be everyone’s problem, except my own #Unbothered. I look like one of the students. I get it. You know, if I had a dollar for every time I heard that nonsense, hell, my teaching salary might actually make sense. As if being a black woman wasn’t already a feat in itself, try bringing issues to the forefront with facts or presenting a bomb ass idea in a team meeting. In wanting to excel even while being the youngest in the room, here are the three things I had to tell myself.
1.Check your attitude at the door
If there is anything that I have learned in my two years of being in the adult world, it is to never let my coworkers or administration see me sweat. Why not? Well simply put, it is the expected behavior. Your colleagues already have their minds made up that as a twenty-something, you are irrational and possibly even unaware of policies and protocol. You can’t give them that power of being right, but rather have to take pride in proving the masses wrong. Next time you feel “checked”, respond in an effective yet professional manner. Put your foot down yet keep your job (remember: passive aggression is for the weak). Then call mom and really GO. OFF. It works for me every time.
2.Be willing to adapt and grow
While I might walk in with a chip on my shoulder 10 times out of 9, I do respect the people that have been in this field for quite a while. Not everyone’s advice is needed, but to those providing substantial help and gems to survive working in such a high-stress environment, I am all ears. I used to believe it was my way or none at all until I realized that being malleable in the workplace was just as vital as being amicable.
3.Let your work speak for itself
I mean, I could spend my days drawing out abstract pictures of why my ideas are just as vital to the growth of our workplace but I’ve always been more of a quantitative girl myself. I rather bring my reports of passing percentage and growth in social skills and reading levels to the table. So often as the youngest in the room, people connect you to lack of work ethic, poor vocabulary, and ideas that are laughable at best. Do your research, stay abreast of the issues, and get the work done. They’ll eventually have nothing to say except, “I’m impressed” (which even then makes me feel as though you thought I was incapable but hey). The workplace is a give-and-take situation, no matter the age. And if they aren’t willing to take what you’re giving, they weren’t worth giving anything to anyway.
Today’s Keyword: aplomb (n.): self-confidence or assurance, especially when in a demanding situation
Now I’m not telling you to burst into work tomorrow ready to take over the control panel because truly you have a lot to learn. But don’t for a second let naivety take over and allow people to take advantage of you. Your age is a definition of creativity and fresh bright ideas to whatever company you are apart of. Learn the from best to be the best, but also pack your ideas in the work bag the night before.
So fine. I may look like the exact population I teach. Who cares. I am confident in the changes I am making in their lives.
So never mind checking my I.D. –
check the resume.