Being a young woman in a professional business environment has it’s challenges. People not only disregard you for being a woman (yes, this does happen all the time), but because you are young as well. I’m 21 years old and working alongside my father learning as much as I can, so that one day, I can run his business. A lot of people think I only have the job because it’s my father’s company. Others think I get special privileges. And even more often than not, they think I don’t do anything and get paid more than all of them. The facts of the matter really are, that I work my butt off everyday and put in numerous hours of work at home, I get paid less than many people at the company, and I wouldn’t have this job if I wasn’t doing well. While I have nothing to prove to the people I work with, I have compiled some things that have helped me get taken more seriously in the work place.
- Dress the part. If you come to work in ripped jeans and cropped tops (or even t shirts), you will not be taken seriously. In order to look like an adult, you have to dress like one. This doesn’t mean that you have a wear business suits everyday, but no ripped jean, no shorts, and no graphic tees is a great place to start.
- Act like a professional. Don’t get caught up in the drama of it all. Stay level headed, stay professional, and DO NOT drag your personal life into the workplace. If people ask me personal questions, I give them polite vague answers and then end the conversion. Anything you say can and (I promise you) will be held against you at some point.
- Forget about what people think. You can’t control what people think. They might not really think you’re dumb, but mad that you’re so young and have an important role in a company. In fact, what you think they think might not be what they are actually thinking. Bottom line is that you can’t control what people think, so better just to ignore it and do the best you can do.
Being a young woman in the workforce is not an easy place to be. Just remember that you made it there for a reason and you will never grow if you don’t push on and work hard. I love my job and love the responsibility given to me there. People can think what they want, but I know how hard I work and what I bring to the company, and that’s way more important, than what other people think.