I once had a boss tell me that had she known I was 20 years old when she hired me, I would have never gotten the job.
But if you know me and/or if you’ve read my writing, you know that I’m a huge proponent of the fact that age has zero to do with success and potential. I’m sure that there are plenty of really, really, uber-smart 16 year olds who can do my job better than I can. So age, therefore, should have nothing to do with the hiring process.
Despite my strong opinion on this subject, let’s face it… ageism exists.
People who are older have to deal with ageism. Those of us fresh out of college have to deal with it too. Some people don’t think we’re capable of much. Some really underestimate our ability. It’s not fun.
So here are some things that we can do in our twenties to prove all those haters wrong.
Keep Your Word
Did you just say you were going to do something? Awesome! Now do it. There’s nothing more frustrating to a boss than an employee who says they’ll take care of something and then doesn’t. Be mindful of the commitments you make and have excellent follow-through. Your boss will be much more likely to continue giving you great assignments if they believe that you’ll really get it done.
Don’t Be Afraid to Ask For More Work
People, especially us in our twenties, tend to avoid voicing our work needs because we’re afraid that our bosses will think we’re annoying. Regardless of how busy your boss is, real leaders will take the time to listen to you. If you feel that you’re not being challenged, let it be known. If you want more work and more assignments, say it. That’s the only way you’re going to be given more opportunities. Don’t be afraid to be known as the employee who’s hungry for growth opportunities.
For The Love of God, Avoid Gossiping At All Costs
Having worked in a big-girl-real-life job for about 4 years now, it’s beyond sad to me how some “grown-ups” behave at work. I mean, it’s really worse than high school- or at least, high school all over again. If you want to get noticed at work as that all-star employee, avoid the gossiping at all costs. Keep yourself put together and avoid any kind of negative behavior that your co-workers are participating in. People twice your age will act like kids- you don’t need to be one of them. You’re a professional, so act like it.
Read Up On Your Industry
Read books. Read magazines. Read journal articles. Read at home. Read before bed. Read during your lunch break. You should be known as an expert in your field, and the only way to do that is to be constantly learning. Things change quickly, and if you stay on top of current industry happenings, you’ll be the perfect person to turn to when your boss needs to know what’s up.
Be Willing To Do The Work No One Wants To Do
I get it… no one wants to be the guy who takes out the trash on Friday… no one wants to be the guy who works with that difficult client… That new project that seems impossible? No one wants it. Not a single soul. And that’s exactly why YOU SHOULD DO IT.
Put a nice big smile on your face and get those things done, because if you say yes to those awful tasks, you will get noticed, and better opportunities and more responsibility will be given to you.
Your boss needs to know that you’re a team player. She needs to know that you can do the annoying stuff before she can fully depend on you to tackle the stuff you’d really love to do.
Bottom line: if you’re doing the right things in the workplace, you’re going to get noticed, but you’re going to get noticed as an amazing and capable employee, not as the little twenty year old fresh out of college.
For this post, YouTern thanks our friends at Gen Y Girl.
About the Author: Kayla Cruz graduated college at the age of 20 with a degree in Health Services Administration. She is currently working as a Regulatory Coordinator in Clinical Research while pursuing a Master’s Degree in Public Administration specializing in Human Resources. She has found she’s most passionate about helping young professionals navigate through their first few years as GenYers in the workforce. Follow Kayla on Twitter!