“You’re too young.” These words come from our elders every single day.
Too often, young adults — like me — feel as if we are disadvantaged due to our ages and quite frankly, we are right. The working world and, more specifically, our older coworkers, do not recognize our true potential because they view us as inexperienced and too immature to take on responsibility. Unfortunately, this can lead us to feel inferior and extremely uncomfortable in professional settings.
However, there are two very different routes we can take upon experiencing this agism for the first time: Succumb to our peers and accept the fact that our coworkers will never respect us until we blow out the candles on our 30th birthday. Or, we can believe in ourselves, our talents and prove them wrong.
As young professionals, the most important thing we must recognize is that our age is never the deal breaker when it comes to success. Regardless of what older generations think about our competence and ability to contribute, we are capable of achieving greatness. This, however, isn’t an easy road and there are several roadblocks through which we must surge in order to reach the top.
Furthermore, if we want success, we have to be willing to fight for it (mentally, not physically, of course). There are a few important things regarding age that we must remember so that we don’t let the arbitrary number compromise our professional potential.
Age Is Nothing But A Number
The only day of the year when our age is relevant is our birthdays, end of story. We will never reach success until we realize that age does not determine capabilities. Until we recognize that our age is irrelevant, we cannot expect our peers to do the same.
You Have Certain Skills That Your Elder Peers Will Not Necessarily Acquire
In certain respects, we are more experienced than our bosses and coworkers. Don’t go and preach that all over Twitter, of course, but members of Generation-Y have certain skills ingrained in us that our elders do not. Take social media for example: many companies turn to social media as a way to market themselves and maintain a positive image. Now realistically, how many 50 year olds can actually out “tweet” you?
Be Mature And Speak Your Mind
We have more to prove and because of this, it is essential that we are mature no matter what. The only way we will ever be treated as equals in a professional setting is if we are mature enough to act as we should. Additionally, as young people, we do offer differing opinions to our elder peers regarding certain issues, which allows us to offer a completely different perspective on an array of topics. It is essential that we use this to our advantages and are never afraid to share our opinions respectfully — the reactions may be surprising.
Never Settle For Less Than Deserved
The majority of us will give up and recognize that it is easier to sit in silence than attempt to be treated like an equal. Regrettably, this will lead never reaching goals. Undoubtedly, there will be times when we are not granted an opportunity because our peers do not think we possess enough “experience.” Take these exact words as the opportunity to prove them wrong.
Respect is not earned easily, especially when your peers fail to recognize that age does not determine potential. However, if you are like me and strive for success and the ability to lead, then you have to believe that hard work and the determination to prove yourself really does pay off.
The young adults who achieve greatness in this world are not intimidated by their birth dates.