Helpful information and advice from
America's favorite workplace columnist
Tuesday, February 26, 2013
Are You Seen as Too Young for a Challenge?
One of the biggest mistakes I made in the early part of my career was when my boss mentioned the year he graduated from high school.
“That’s the year I was born!” I responded.
The expression on his face should have been a clue to me that I had just made the man feel older than dirt. Never a good feeling to engender in your boss.
When you start your career, you cannot help it that you’re young. But some will use your age against you to hold you back, claiming you’re too inexperienced to work on an important project orget a promotion. That’s when you need to remember that you may be sending the wrong message to others about your capabilities.
Since people often judge you within seconds of seeing you, here are some ways to “mature” your image and help you be taken more seriously on the job.
If you don’t want to be seen as a kid at work, then consider these steps:
1. Ensure all clothes are unwrinkled.
Looking like you just emerged from the bottom of the laundry basket screams “My mom hasn’t bought me an iron yet” or “I picked this up off the floor to wear because I was told I couldn’t wear my pajamas to work.”
2. Forget wild nail color.
It’s fun to paint each of your nails a different color or go for the screaming neon orange, but not for work. Male or female, keep your nails short enough you won’t risk impaling a co-worker and stick to the sedate colors your Aunt Minnie would be comfortable sporting.
3. Take a break from the smartphone.
While it’s cool that younger workers are so proficient technologically and can take on new apps with a snap, it’s not so cool when someone asks you “how’s the weather outside?” and you immediately consult weather.com on your iPhone. Being unable to make small talk is critical to success in the workplace, such as conversing about (read more here)