Will people ever treat me like a grown up??

posted 3 years ago in Career
Post # 3
76 posts
Worker bee

I’m older than you by some years and work with high schoolers and although I am 10+ years older, it is hard. I can remember being told by many people my young looks would get me in trouble because the boys would try to flirt with me (I’m thinking in my head I’m not a perv, but okay). Anyways, one thing I have learned is dressing and speaking as professionally as you can helps. Other than that, people probably won’t stop looking at you in that manner until they know better or you look older 😉

Post # 4
105 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: October 2013

@lalalyanne:  I’m 32, a pharmacist and still mistaken for a high schooler with the same “you’ll appreciate looking young” comments. I remember walking up to the pharmacy window for questions/consultations and people looking at me like uhhhh…kid I need to talk to a REAL pharmacist. 

Previous bee was right. Dress your part and act professionally. I find that attitude/confidence works wonders as well. Do your job right, know you are good at what you do and walk and talk to parents/peers etc and let that exude. When I talk to patients and they realize I know my stuff, they begin to listen and not be so judgmental. 🙂

Post # 5
7997 posts
Bumble Beekeeper
  • Wedding: December 2013

Fake it til you make it. Like PPs have said, go that extra mile to dress professionally. Wear a more sophisticated hairstyle than a ponytail etc. I look young for my age and I like it. Luckily I work with a good bunch of people who do take me seriously.

Post # 6
2576 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: November 2013

@lalalyanne:  A good friend of mine had this issue when she was interviewing for summer jobs in the legal field. No one would take her seriously b/c she’s shorter and of Asian descent (hence looked young for her 23-24 years) – they thought she was still in college if not high school. She mitigated it by letting her experience and sucess at school (law review, etc.) speak for themselves AND dressed a decade older. Basically she wore heels everywhere and wore clothes from the women’s section at Macy’s/Nordstrom.

In your case, I would avoid shopping at “young” places like EXPRESS and go to places like Ann Taylor and Banana Republic. The more polished and expensive-looking your clothes are, the more people are likely to assume you are “grown up.” Just my 0.02. 🙂

Post # 7
57 posts
Worker bee
  • Wedding: August 2014

Try to dress professionally and be typical . but you don’t have to become a caricature .In the end people will take you seriously if you make it clear that you know your stuff and don’t lack confidence.

Post # 8
748 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: May 2014

@lalalyanne:  you’ll earn it with experience. At 24 you don’t have much. I’m sorry to burst your bubble but it’s true. 

Post # 9
8850 posts
Buzzing Beekeeper
  • Wedding: August 2013 - Rocky Mountains USA

I’m 31 with a master’s degree and I run into this all the time.  I have a definite baby face and look way younger than I am, AND I work in a male dominated field (wildlife biology, with a lot of interactions with oil and gas).  So I definitely get the “aw this little gal is gonna talk to us about birds!” attitude all the time.

Unfortunately I can’t do as PP suggest, dress super professionally.  My coworkers and bosses would look at me as if I sprouted another head if I wore a suit and heels to work.  But I still do what I can – wear button-ups and nice blouses with jeans, whereas my male coworkers mainly wear t-shirts.

I agree with others about just fake it til you make it!  Act confident and that you know what you’re doing, don’t speak hesitantly or with a questioning tone, don’t ever preclude statements with “I’m not sure but…” etc, and people will believe you know your shit.

Post # 10
2052 posts
Buzzing bee

@lalalyanne:  Yes it does.  I began my career at 19 while I was still in college, and got promoted early on.  I’m now 30 and finally benefiting from my hard work.

My best advice to you is to carry yourself as professional as possible.  Even if your job doesn’t call for it, invest in a blazer that you can wear with dress pants or over jeans and wear it when you have parent interactions.

I also read a lot of books on leadership, including Winning with People, The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership (Both by John C. Maxwell), and ‘How To Say It At Work’.  How you present yourself and carry yourself are huge in changing any perception of you being a ‘too young’.

Post # 12
1929 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: May 2013

I get this ALL THE TIME.  I’m an 11th grade teacher, and the parents ALWAYS say I look too young to be their kid’s teacher.  I’m 26!  Luckily, all of the teachers at my school are young so I at least blend in a bit.  Whenever I have parent meetings, I try to dress extra professionally. I wear heals, slacks, a very nice top, and I make sure my hair is neat.  But when I’m actually teaching, I dress professionally but in flats.

Good luck!  It’s really frustrating to not be taken seriously.  I also try to hold myself very professionally.. Sitting/standing up straight, being on the more serious side, not speaking in slang at all… It’s hard!

Post # 13
4819 posts
Honey bee
  • Wedding: May 2012

Formal greetings.


Hello Mrs. ____

Good Afternoon..

Good Evening. etc. 

“Hi” never does it for me.

Post # 14
43 posts
  • Wedding: June 2014

Oh my gosh, I know exactly how you feel. I’m 22 and I get real tired of being treated like I can be walked all over because I’m young. This isn’t my first post-college job and I hate being treated like a little kid. I’ve had people ask me “your hourly, right?” and when I tell them I’m on salary they don’t believe me.

Post # 15
164 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: May 2013

@lalalyanne:  I totally feel you… I’m going to be 30 this year and I look like I’m im HS… Sometimes I know with the way they’re talking to me, that they think I am in HS (strangers of course). 

Post # 16
900 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: February 2014

@lalalyanne:  Let their jaws drop.  

The second you open your mouth you show them that you’re an adult.  They’ll fall into line soon enough.   We teach people how to treat us.

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