I often get asked the question, “Is there anyone younger than you in your office?” And when I answer with, “Nope, I’m the youngest. Why?” the next question I usually get is, “What’s it like being the youngest person in the office?” Today I thought it would be fun to jot down a few things that make it obvious to me that I’m the youngest in my office and that I’m sure others can relate to as well!
- You feel like you have to work harder to prove yourself. There is such a stereotype with people my age (those in their twenties). We’re known for being impatient, we’re known for needing instant gratification and attention, and we’re known for being ‘job-hoppers’. Those attributes aren’t very admirable to most employers. Being the youngest in the office might sometimes cause you to feel as though you have to work harder than everyone else to prove yourself – even though that’s not usually the case – and show that you’re worthy of the position.
- Your coworkers have kids closer to your age than they are. Just a few weeks ago my boss said that she was sitting at home talking to her oldest son, when she realized that I’m only 6 years older than he is. Like I already mentioned, everyone in the office except for one is at least ten years older than I am, and some are closer to twenty years older!
- You have a different sense of humour. I will often make jokes or refer to whatever is trending on social media. Some days it lands, and some days it doesn’t. For example, one of the big Internet crazes for a while was Harambe. For those of you who don’t know who Harambe is, he’s the gorilla that was shot at the Cincinnati zoo when the young boy fell into his enclosure earlier this year. Shortly after his death the Internet started a craze, claiming that it was a huge conspiracy and his death was set up by those running for the U.S. presidency. Yes, it’s as stupid as it sounds. But the memes that the Internet had come up with were hilarious, or so I thought until I explained it to a few of the ladies in my office!
- You feel like people don’t take you seriously. This links back to the blog I wrote a couple of months ago about my struggle as a young professional. Although it’s definitely not the case with my coworkers at StaffStat, I sometimes fear that I won’t be taken seriously if I bring something up or make a point/statement about something. As I also mentioned in that blog, I’ve come to realize that it’s all in my head; I know that I feel that way because I’m more than ten years younger than everyone in my office except for one.
- You’re not allowed to be tired or feel exhausted because you’re young. While this never happens at StaffStat, I have experienced it in other workplaces. We’re young, so we should never be tired, right? Despite the fact that I work two jobs, despite the fact that I’m in a volleyball league, and despite the fact that I still manage to have a social life, apparently I should never be tired! I know others who are my age who get harped on by their employers for the same thing, “You’re so young! How can you be tired?!”
- You work differently than everyone else. The first thing that I do when I walk into the office is settle in at my desk, say hello to everyone, and then I plug in for the rest of the day. There are four of us upstairs in our office and one of the girls will usually put music on through her computer to drown out the noise from the chatter and interviews happening downstairs. Even though there’s music playing, I still need to put my headphones in and listen to music as I work. For some this would be too distracting, but for me it keeps me focused. We constantly have people coming in and out of our office and if I didn’t plug in I would never get anything done.