People make assumptions about me on an almost daily basis at my job. I am young and I work with a lot of older, more experienced, women and men. However, I do have quite a bit of experience and an expertise in an area that the others lack. This is why I got the job. However, I still get treated like I do not belong.
I am constantly being treated with kid gloves. What I mean by this, is my co-workers treat me like I am a child incapable of handling adult responsibilities. However, it is never an outright display. It is more subtle. They refuse to give me assignments, they constantly are checking in with me to make sure I am okay, they socialize without me and seem confused when I actually have something to contribute to the conversation. Most importantly, I get lumped into the “millennial” stereotype.
This “millennial” stereotype is prevalent throughout society today. Older generations have this skewed idea of what millennials represent. Millennials are viewed as entitled, uncaring, and lazy about their work. I observe this prejudice every day at my job. The upper levels of leadership are constantly checking in with me to make sure I’m doing my job and that I do not feel “overburdened”. However, they do not do this with anyone else in the workplace. I find this offensive because I am far from lazy and have worked really hard to get where I am today. I believe that the fact that I got this job in the first place shows that I am qualified and I have worked really hard since starting here to prove this to be true.
I do believe in “paying your dues” in an organization. However, the treatment I receive does not feel like a simple initiation process. I am singled out by their actions and I believe it is a combination of ageism and stereotyping that has put me in this position. I only help it will improve with time as I prove to them that I belong here.
Age is just a number and I have worked really hard to get where I am. And hopefully, one day they will realize that.