I guess you could say that this is a much more personal blog post than what I’m used to writing. I was struggling with a bad case of writer’s block until I reread my blog post from last week and I thought of this topic! Here goes…
Getting used to being a young professional has definitely been a learning curve for me. I’ve always been a server, and I’m used to living the server life: going to bed late at night, sleeping in during the day, working few hours and making good money. There have been many things that I’ve had to get used since becoming a young professional: going to bed at a reasonable time, waking up early, working 40 (minimum) hours per week and having to practice managing my income. But what I didn’t expect to struggle with the most was the confidence that I would need to gain in order to survive being a ‘young professional’.
Everyone’s heard these words at least once in their life, “What would you know? You’re so young”, “Just wait until you’re my age, then you’ll understand what I mean”, or “You did a really good job on that…especially for your age”. When I first started at Plan A as a Lead Recruiter, I was told by the women in the office that they had my back. They told me that they would support me in my decisions when it came to recruitment because they trusted that I knew what I was doing and they trusted that I had a good sense of judgement. But that was because they knew me. In the back of my mind I always worried that I wouldn’t be taken seriously by those who didn’t know me because I’m young. I was worried that people would assume that I lack knowledge or consider me to be too inexperienced to know what I was talking about because of my age.
It wasn’t until a conference last fall that my fear became a reality, when my boss Sheri was introducing me to a few gentlemen who worked for the Ontario Long-Term Care Association. When she introduced me as the Recruitment Manager, one man gave a slight chuckle and responded with, “What are you, seventeen?” That was it. That was the moment I had feared since the day I started working for Plan A. I could feel myself go beet red and I quietly answered, “No. I’m twenty-two actually”. The rest of my day was thrown off, as you could imagine. From then on out I thought, “If he didn’t take me seriously, no one will”. It hurt my feelings, it hurt my ego, and it killed my confidence.
Like I said, it bothered me for the rest of the day. I felt like I knew NOTHING and I felt like I was ‘less than’. But after speaking with the rest of the team, I forced myself to think of it with a ‘who cares’ kind of attitude. I know that I know what I’m doing when it comes to my job, and I don’t pretend to be something I’m not. I also know that my boss and the rest of the team trust that I know what I’m doing.
Since moving into my new role of a Solution Sales Specialist with StaffStat, the feeling of ‘what if they doubt me’ has been brought up all over again, but I know that it’s all in my head. To get over it, I remind myself of the following every day:
- I know what I’m talking about,
- I know the product I’m selling, and
- I know I can do this!