Workplace Woes: I Got 99 Problems and Being Young Is One

May 10, 2017 3 Comments

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.

-Ki.

3 Comments

  1. Reply

    Jesikah Jazz

    May 10, 2017

    Such a great read. Really enjoyed this Ki!

  2. Reply

    Brittany Chantal

    May 10, 2017

    I really enjoyed this!! I think as a young professional we can all relate and use your methods to succeed ❤️

  3. Reply

    Tiana

    May 10, 2017

    I agree with this 120% . I too work in an environment where I am not only a black woman but the youngest on my leadership team. In a sea of white faces I am faced with challenges each day from the moment I walk in the door. They have their conditioned thoughts about what I am capable of but fail to realized I carry more credentials then most on my team. I am guilty of checking people in an unprofessional manner and this post served as a reminder that you can’t let them see you sweat. I have to continue to hold my head high and let my work do the talking. Many on my leadership team have been with the company for 20 years plus and myself 2 years but what I bring to the table is just as substantial and relevant. Thanks for this great read!

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