Post # 1
Frustrated bee here 🙁 I’m not old by any means. I’m 24 though so I definitely consider myself an adult. I know I dont pack that much experience with me yet but I’m not a child anymore!
I admit it, I have a baby face. Everyone goes “blah blah you’ll appreciate it someday” well yeah, someday that will be great. Today? Not so much.
Im going into a field where I work with kids with special needs. I do a lot of paret interaction and I’ve met/am meeting some parents in the last and next couple weeks. The faces they give me when boss lady introduces me are just like.. Jaw dropped. They look all confused and when boss lady assured them I’m an adult and I know what I’m doing, they just kind of nod and smile but I can zsee.. It freaks them out a bit. I know I can literally pass as a high schooler but Im a real live adult, I swear!
I know they will see in time that I am capable but it just makes me wonder when the heck people will stop looking at me life a fifteen year old? Does it ever end?
Post # 3
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
@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
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
@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
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
@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
- 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
@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 # 11
Thanks friends 🙂 I like to think I have a pretty professional look most days. not over the top (I do work with kids after all!) but i think it’s pretty neat and tidy and not young.
Its not just in the professional world that I get this flack either. A perfect stranger told me I was too young to be engaged until I told him I was 24 and the liquor store lady looked at the year I was born and said “really??!” And proceeded to check my id for validity. I just look like a baby I guess!
I guess I just wish the immediate reaction wasn’t so strong. I don’t know how else I’m supposed to look grown up? Other than heels which are just never ever going To happen, not on my watch in my field! I appreciate your support and advice though. I will be perusing for more professional outfits!
Post # 12
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
Hello Mrs. ____
Good Evening. etc.
“Hi” never does it for me.
Post # 14
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
@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
@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.