What it's like being a ~very~ young professional.

I didn't do the Uni thing. At 18, instead of heading to University, I headed straight into the big, adult, and (very) corporate world. I had an office to go to and I had clients. I had to wear business dress every day and be up at 5.30am. I had a 2 hour commute (each way) and I had meetings. I had a manger and we reported to the partners of the firm. Basically think Suits but much less fun. Although tbh if there was a partner like Harvey Specter I probably wouldn't have left this job tbh. ;)

I stayed in this job for 3 1/2 years until I wanted to do something more fun, more creative, more me, and somehow landed myself a job in radio. Fast forward another year and a half and I've just moved down to London to take up a role as Digital Services Manager for the biggest commercial radio group. And I love it.


Being in this position at still only 23 is amazing. I feel very lucky for the opportunities I've been offered but I also know that I've worked really hard to get to where I am. And while there are many pro's to this, my age along with the fact that I'm a girl and I look about 12, there were a fair few cons to this, too. 

It's a lot harder to be taken seriously. | I don't really find many of these in radio, because well, radio is awesome. But when I was in my old job, it was pretty much a daily occurrence. People who are higher up in a business, particularly clients, will take one look at you and think that they can just walk all over you because you're young. They presume that you'll do everything that they say, that you have no experience or knowledge and it used to drive me insane. 

People can be a lot more strict with you. | You may have only stopped by your friends desk for 2 minutes to ask what they're doing for lunch, but it'll be presumed that you're just trying to avoid doing your work and you'll get stared down right back into your seat. But y'know, it's totally cool when your older colleagues do this because it's good internal networking and all that. 

You get 'I bet you don't even remember xxx!' a lot. | Actually yes Janet, I do remember dial up Internet, cassette tapes and I was around for the Spice Girls. I may look like I'm 12, but I'm not. 

People at the same level as you presume that they're better because they're older. | This one. This one drives me even more nuts. We are at the same level professionally. So clearly someone, somewhere, thinks I'm just as capable at my job as you are. So please don't be all patronising, try and delegate your work to me or act like you're in charge. I'm more than happy to work alongside you, if you are.


However, there are a lot of pros!

Most people actually do respect you, a lot. | When they find out your age and what you must've done to get here, most people actually do respect you, your place in the team and your decisions. It generally starts with a 'oh, I couldn't have done that at your age!', but as I say to everyone - of course you could. We can all do anything we put our minds to, right?!

Surprising people is the best feeling. | I wrote a little post here about proving people wrong, and it's a similar thing. People underestimating what you can do, and then you showing them just how much they did indeed, underestimate you, is the best. It's a total confidence boost and can really make you believe in yourself a lot more.

Life skills & experiences. | There's no doubt that I wouldn't be where I am today if I hadn't had the experiences that I have. Being thrown into the adult world suddenly is very scary, but it also means you have to learn very quickly, and there really isn't a downside to this.

Getting ahead in your career. | Again, there's really no downside to this. I've always been rather career driven, and getting a good job has always been a priority for me that I've wanted to work hard for and it's one that I'll continue to work towards.

If you're a young professional, let me know if you can relate to any of these! I'd love to swap stories & hear your experiences!

Soph

22 comments

  1. Gahhhh I remember the awful feeling of trying to convince people I was good at my job when I first started a proper "office" job - I definitely had a lot of people doubt my opinions because I was young. That being said though, you only need to deliver a couple of times before people start to take you seriously, and it feels even better when they do! x
    Sophie Cliff

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes! I totally agree with that last part! And it is a really awful feeling, isn't it? I found that I started to doubt myself because other people were xx

      Delete
  2. Its so impressive that you've got where you are at such a young age! I'm leaving uni soon and am quite worried about where i'll end up because of my lack of experience! Lovely post x

    www.yourealreadyinvited.com

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you! Ahh, don't worry at all, everything will work out the way it should - and there are SO many graduate schemes now, I think it's amazing :) x

      Delete
  3. You are incredibly inspiring. I can relate to the looking young and people not taking you seriously, even though I don't work in an office. Just last week someone said "Do you even know the show Saved By the Bell?" I was like "Excuse me? Of course I do, I'm nearly 30 not 13!!" But in all seriousness, you really do inspire me and congratulations on your new job! :)

    Kelly xx
    www.theblossomtwins.com

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh, thank you so much, Kelly! <3 haha I used to love Saved by the Bell! x

      Delete
  4. This all sounds so interesting! I did went to uni and I'm almost done (thank god). But it's kinda scary for what comes after uni. I'm also 23, although I look 19 so I will probably get the 'you're so young' thing a lot when I get a ''real'' job haha. Luckily you are doing something that you love now. Working in radio sounds amazing! :)

    X Marjolein
    www.misscocoblue.com

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Haha, you definitely will! Thank you lovely, it really is! :) x

      Delete
  5. Love this post! I'm in a similar position where I am the only person who does my job so people are surprised sometimes when I say I don't have a huge team helping me do what I do. You go girl! You're rocking it anyway x

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you, Allie! Ahh that sounds like you're a total girl boss doing everything by yourself! x

      Delete
  6. So bladdy true! I was the youngest by about 7 years in my first job in PR, I did get A LOT of 'I bet you don't even remember' comments, also 'ugh, you millennials' comments too haha. It is crazy how age in the professional world affects how you are treated - I find in the creative industries it matters less. Age was far less of a deal when I worked in TV and radio! Immy x

    www.immymay.com

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That's quite the age gap! It definitely matters a lot less in the creative industries and I have no idea why there's such a difference! xx

      Delete
  7. I have been to university but I can still really relate to all of this - especially the "I bet you don't remember this..." one!

    www.sweetserendipityblog.co.uk

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That one actually really annoys me haha! xx

      Delete
  8. Loved this, such an interesting read- it's not as often you see a posts with alternatives to uni and how they're just as good, if not better for some! Congratulations on your new job, an amazing position to have at 23!

    Gabija | EveryLittleThing Blog

    ReplyDelete
  9. I loved this read! I'm heading into my second year at university and always wondered what it would be like if I never decided to go and head out into the big world of work sooner. I think it's definitely an individual decision but it's nice to see a perspective I don't often see :-)
    Sarah x
    http://www.saraheliza.co.uk

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ahh, thank you, Sarah! I hope the rest of your university experience goes really well! x

      Delete
  10. This was such an interesting post to read! I'm about to graduate and I start my first adult world job next week so I'm frankly terrified! It's silly because I've done internships before but I'm excited to get into the world of work properly now. I have a lot of respect for you!

    The Traffic Jam of Life

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm glad you liked it, Fiona! Ahh good luck for next week! I'm sure you'll smash it :) x

      Delete
  11. I'm not in a full time job, but have gone for positions and work part time where I've experienced the whole 'walk over' young people thing. It drives me insane!

    Lucy | Forever September

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It's literally the worst, isn't it? x

      Delete