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Ask L2: HELP! I'm under 40 and 5'1 in the corporate arena!

Updated: Jun 29, 2023

"I feel like I'm being dismissed since I'm the only one in the room under 40 years old."


THE CLIFF NOTES

​PROBLEM

SOLUTION

In most circles that I'm in, I'm the youngest person in the room. When I'm in these circles, I constantly feel like the elephant in the room

Lauren's response: What other people are thinking of you is none of your business. What they say when you’re not there has nothing to do with you.


 

Disclaimer: Identities are kept confidential. The advice given here should be taken at your own risk. If you are having true mental or physical issues, please seek professional assistance.


Hey elletwo, big fan! I am a 23-year-old woman who just graduated and started my first marketing job at a local hospital a few months ago. Typically, all the other people my age working at the hospital are clinical, whereas I am on the corporate side and don't get much interaction with them.

In most circles that I'm in, I'm the youngest person in the room. When I'm in these circles, I constantly feel like the elephant in the room, and others are looking down on me because of my age (I'm also 5'1'', which makes me feel like a child even though I'm a grown-ass woman). I have a lot of potential to grow and succeed in this company, but I feel like I'm being dismissed since I'm the only one in the room under 40 years old.


Am I crazy, or is this just something you get more comfortable in as you climb the corporate ladder?


 

First off, we never dismiss women as crazy here, so there’s that. You’re not crazy.


Second, I can’t say for certain whether it’s happening or not, but I can say that you earned your spot there, no matter how other people make you feel.


Imposter syndrome is probably something that is going to come up from time to time. Basically, it’s your brain telling you that you didn’t earn the things that you have and that people are going to find out that you’re a fraud.


It has crippled me many times in my life.


I can imagine that if you only have a few years of experience in your field, your brain plays all kinds of tricks on you about what other people around you are thinking. I remember being that age and wondering what people thought of me all the time.


Here’s the thing though:


What other people are thinking of you is none of your business. What they say when you’re not there has nothing to do with you. You can’t finish their thoughts for them, and any thoughts that you give them aren’t theirs. They’re yours. The less time you spend trying to figure out what someone else is thinking and the more time you spend asking for those answers, the better off you will be.


I also know that, even with only a few years of work history, you already have a track record. So ask yourself, how many times have you missed a deadline? How many times has a project totally missed the mark? How many times have you screwed something up and then did it again the next time without carrying that lesson with you?


Give yourself credit for the things that you’ve done, and keep them in a tangible brag book if you need them nearby to remind you. When you question yourself, you have the proof right there to refresh your own memory. On the off chance that someone in your workplace outright questions you too, you have the receipts. Be proud of them. In my experience though, the only person who actively questions my abilities to do anything, at least where I can hear them, is me.


Maybe they really are thinking those things. Maybe you’re thinking them for them. Either way, they’re not true, so go do the thing and put it in your brag book.


L2



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