Hurdles for a Young Professional

Overcoming Age-Related Difficulties in the Workplace

At a young age, entering a field dominated by people who are much older is a challenge. But being the youngest one in a department has as many advantages as there are disadvantages. It is crucial to make an impact and make supervisors and managers see an employee’s value.

The Age Perception

As the youngest employee, some people may act condescendingly because they think age is equivalent to life experience and maturity. Some people in the same age range may not possess the same ambition and motivation so it may form a negative perception of young professionals.

Remember that age is not a factor in professional maturity.

Standing by Convictions in Following Workplace Rules

All careers come with their own sets of rules and regulations. As someone who is just entering the field, it may feel like it is an obligation to follow these guidelines. However, it seems that the longer someone is working in the profession, the more lax they may become, and guidelines become less important. It is difficult to try to do what’s right when all others are slacking. As the new person, it doesn’t feel right to outdo those who are considered veterans in the field.

If a superior teaches by using incorrect methods, the new employee should follow along and as he gets settled, start to slowly enforce the correct methods so as to not step on any toes or upset anyone’s sense of authority. After some determination and possible resistance from those who are used to the old ways, changes will eventually stick. This persistence in following set guidelines may actually make superiors notice the strict adherence to previously set procedures that have lately been overlooked.

Dealing With Workplace Adversity

Working hard and efficiently may cause some ire amongst other co-workers. Some people may even find something to complain about to superiors. New employees need to remember that they can’t please everyone, but it’s usually more important to please the ones who have a say in the future of their job. Younger workers should aim to ignore jealous ramblings of discontented employees. The unhappier people are, the harder they try to bring others down. It’s not time to worry until the manager calls a meeting to discuss performance issues.

Understanding Age Diversity in Today’s Workplace by Robert W. Wendover shows the different perceptions of work that different generations may have. This tool also outlines stereotypes that many people may have in the workplace.

Being the newbie in the field is always hard. This is why it is so important to make the correct bureaucratic moves as well as proving that one has something to offer, whether it be persistence in getting something done correctly or efficiency to perform a job that is well beyond the capabilities of others.

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