October 10, 2013

Being Young in the Professional World


On Tuesday I was out of the classroom for a county wide training. I was sent to the training with another teacher from Marlowe as our school's representatives who would come back and train the rest of the staff.

When I got to the meeting I realized it was one of those meetings where they force you outside your comfort zone and make you sit with people besides the ones you came with. Yuck!

As I searched around for my assigned table I found myself at table in the very front of the room with different, more senior, elementary school teachers from around the county. I instantly felt the eyes on me at the table. As the morning went on, I noticed the other three people at my table failing to make eye contact with me during our discussions and doing everything but turning their backs to exclude me from the discussion. I could tell they thought of me as young and inexperienced teacher. {:I may be young but I have been teaching for six years so I don't know that the inexperienced part fits anymore.:}

I appreciate the fact that they thought I am still young. That is true. I didn't however appreciate the fact that they devalued my participation in the group and were not treating me as an equal professional.

So it got me thinking. As young professionals we have to be more on top of our game than our senior counterparts because there often comes a negative stigma with young professionals. If you find yourself in this boat, here are a few things I have learned along the way:

1) Dress the Role

What you wear to work is saying something to everyone around you, whether good or bad. If you want people to treat you like a professional, dress like one. {:We can tell the difference between yoga pants and dress pants, just saying. :}

2) Put Down Your Cell Phone

Nothing says unprofessional like someone who is browsing Facebook, sending out tweets, and Instagraming selfies during work hours. These things are time stamped people! Your colleagues {:and your boss:} will know when you posted it and know that you obviously weren't on task at your J-O-B. If your job doesn't involve social media, stay off it until you're off the clock. They are not paying you to keep up with Kim Kardashian on Twitter.

3) Be Prepared

Being prepared not only brings respect from colleagues, but it will make you more confident. Confidence is obvious in a person both in and out of the work place. Take the time necessary to be prepared. You'll regret it if you don't.

4) Speak Up but Don't be "That Girl"

We have all been in meetings with "that girl." You know the girl I am talking about. This is the girl who has a comment or questions about everything. {:Sometimes it's okay to think something and never let it exit your mouth!:} Speak up in meetings when it's appropriate. Make sure your question wasn't something they answered 5 minutes ago while you were secretly texting your BFF. Also, make sure when you have something to say it is beneficial to others and say it with confidence.

5) Some People Just Won't Accept You

Some people will forever think you are "young and inexperienced." Let them. It's their loss not yours {:as long as you don't prove them right:}. Don't spend the rest of your career trying to prove yourself to them, that wastes precious time you don't have. Spend you time bettering yourself not proving yourself.
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2 comments:

  1. I love the truth of this post. It is so important to carry yourself as a professional in order to be treated as a professional. The older teachers obvioulsy don't know what they're missing. Great tips for everyone young and old!

    ReplyDelete

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xoxo

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