“Do you remember back when… oh, you won’t remember this,” is something I hear at least twice a day at work. Being the only millennial in the office isn’t easy. Especially when you’re the youngest employee by 15 years.
I’ve worked hard to get where I am. In fact, I have more education and experience than some of my colleagues who didn’t go to college. However, I lack the same respect they give each other, all because of my age.
Although I was perfectly qualified for the position when I applied, there was a lot of pressure that came with landing this job. During the interview, they asked if I would be okay not working with anyone my age because I wouldn’t have the opportunity to go out for drinks with coworkers after work. I was shocked that I was asked such a question. Not only is it illegal to bring up my age, but it was insulting to have my work ethic questioned because of my age. Just because I’m young doesn’t mean I’m looking for a job that is a part 2 to college. Also, not all young people want to drink with their coworkers.
Later, I found out my company wasn’t looking to hire someone under 30, but I changed their mind. Long story short, I worked hard to make a good impression and ended up being selected.
Here’s exactly how I slayed my interview, despite opinions that were formed before the interview.
I dressed for the job I wanted.
In my opinion, you can never overdress for a job. Make sure you clothes are ironed, make-up is modest, and hair is fly-away free. The more confident you look, the more confident you’ll feel.
I acted instead of reacting.
The interview process will make or break you, so it’s important to make a great lasting impression. My secret is to smile no matter the tone of what’s being discussed. When asked about my age, I smiled. You can also get away with saying more if you’re smiling. I was able to make a dig about age not mattering, and also stated that I keep my work and personal life completely separate so going out for drinks isn’t something I would do.
I made my good impression last after the interview.
Not only did I stay sharp and friendly during my interview, but I also extended politeness after my interview by writing thank you letters immediately when I got home from my interviews. This shows you care about the job and also have good manners.
I was prepared
I’m an event planner, so it’s important for me to be available for anyone that needs anything and also knowledgeable of what is going on. Being ready for anything shows that you’re willing to do what it takes to get the job done.
I was organized.
Having all of your ducks in a row is very important. It shows that you know what you are doing and are capable of training others.
I thought before I spoke, and I listened thoroughly.
With a bunch of millennial-hating old mules in my office, sometimes I am really shocked at the things they get away with saying to me. However, I am the newbie here so I have to make sure I take the high road and kill them with kindness. I bite my tongue a lot, but I make sure to keep track of what is said. That way if there are issues down the road, I have backup.
I worked hard to get the job, and I’m working even harder now.
I honestly believe that I got my job because one person was really pulling for me. I am grateful he saw my potential so strongly that he fought for it. The other final candidate ended up being hired for another position, which is good because she is not knowledgeable in my field. It’s my goal to prove that the one member of the hiring committee was right in fighting for me and change the mindset of the others who are against having younger people in the office.
Hopefully they will come around and treat me equally. If not, either they will retire or I will move on as time passes. Older generations seem to think that millennials are spoiled, narcissistic, computer geniuses that feel entitled in taking their jobs. The reality is that we are stuck in the result of an economy they didn’t take care of, and fighting for the jobs we’ve worked hard to qualify for, that they are holding on to for an extended amount of time. Hopefully I can feel comfortable enough to share this with them one day in a conversation of them complaining about how my generation won’t get off our phones. The important thing is that despite the ageism going on, I managed to beat the odds and land the job.