It’s joke time! How you do keep a 20 something busy for 2 days? Give them a piece of paper that has “please turn over” written on both sides. How did the 20 something die at the baseball game? They drowned during the Mexican wave!
Not giggling yet? Didn’t think so. 20 somethings have become the butt of other peoples jokes. I mean come on, they are now lumping us in the with blondes; we must take action!
There have been times when my age has given me grief and I’m pretty fed up. I’ve lost count of the number of workplaces where I’ve been the youngest and had to face questions like “are you sure you’re not in High School?” and “are you even old enough to drink coffee?”
I’m lucky now to be in a work environment filled with other driven 20 somethings and with safety in numbers we are finally receiving the respect and consideration we deserve.
But if you’re stuck in your cubicle being teased about your lack of knowledge of world politics (seriously though, just watch the news) or being asked to do the lunch run yet again because you are the “most sprightly”, try these three tips to stop the stranglehold of age discrimination and stand alongside your colleagues as an equal.
1. Gain inspiration from those who have already paved the way for us
Girl power is not a new phenomenon but is personified in these kick ass girls, who refuse to let their age dictate their dreams. There’s Adele, with the hilarious cockney accent but angelic voice, who refuses to be a size 0 and when interviewed sounds like an understudy from Oliver. Next we have Jessica Rudd who was thrust into the political spotlight in her early twenties thanks to her father dearest Kevin 07. Now she is a successful writer and journalist and a great thinker in her own right. Lastly, there is J Lawrence, who got knocked back from Twilight by Kirsten Stewart (whose face would actually crack if she smiled) and fell over in front of half of the world at the Oscars and just laughed it off.
2. Show up and do the work
Though it hurts me to say, there are those out there in the job world waiting for us to fail. They think our inexperience deems us unworthy of achievements before we’ve earned them and we should wait in line like everyone else. 20 somethings are a lot of things, but patient is not one of them. In order to stand up and be noticed you have to put your work where your mouth is. That is don’t give them a reason to doubt you. Show up early, be attentive, go above and beyond and show them without a shadow of a doubt that you belong there. Own it girl. Not in your personality to be aggressive? Channel Lady Gaga (minus the meat dress), this always works for me!
3. Share the quarterlife love
So your list of skills might be shorter than some of your colleagues, and you haven’t been to as many conferences or bought in as many clients. But you have hidden skills you don’t even realise that can be leveraged to get you in with the water cooler crowd quicker than you can list what Paris Hilton is famous for (hint: nothing). Have a colleague struggling with their “i” device? Lend them a hand. Volunteer to start up your company’s social media presence, and give a couple of Facebook 101 lessons. If that fails, putting yourself out there to offer advice can definitely pay off. No your 23 year old daughter would prefer the Arctic Monkey’s album over Mariah Carey’s Greatest Hits and Finders Keepers is a fashion label and not a new board game.
So what’s the takeaway message? Embrace your age, you’ll never be this young again but you shouldn’t have to remain at the bottom of the food chain until those at the top wither away and die (graphic but true). Use this advice to crack through the assumptions that 20 somethings are immature and too daft to be put in charge of anything “important” and show up everyday with an attitude of self love. Remember, if you don’t believe in your talent it will be twice as hard to convince someone else. Slip on those stilettos and strut it out girls. I know without them, the vertically challenged me would still be mistaken for a Year 10.
Much love and till later