Discover more from 45 NotOut Newsletter
ACTING OUR AGE AT WORK
Because we should never apologise for our age....
Hi There, dear reader.
I hope you are well and you are managing to survive the dreadful summer. And if you have children at home on their summer break, I hope you’re managing to find things to do. As I write, the weather gods are predicting things are due to improve later this week. Fingers crossed they are right…
This week I’m guest posting on a colleagues small business Facebook Group - he’s allowed me to post what I like on his group, as long as it is relevant to the membership. Well, me being me, one thing I include in my week long production of posts, is how we, as mid-life and older women, do and should behave at work.
It’s my guess if you work in any way in an office setting, be that remotely and you “speak” on Teams; hybrid working or in the office 100%, then the majority of the team you work with is younger than you. Am I right? And does that mean you’re a little guarded in your behaviour and what you say, for fear that you might be considered too old to be doing your job?
I know as a freelancer, I’ve worked on-site in offices where I’m easily one of the oldest in the office and I’ve really watched what I say, how I behave and what I wear etc. All out of fear that I may not fit in, or worse, that they consider me too old to be doing the job they’ve commissioned me for.
But, you know what, we really shouldn’t have to. It should be the case that our experience, knowledge and worth should be recognised and admired. But it isn’t is it? The “vibe” of an office is often determined by the majority - so that will be the younger team members and it’s very tempting to just say (and look) how they think we should be.
However, in an ideal world, we could act, behave and dress exactly how we want. But the working world is far from ideal and, unfortunately, at this point in time, a bit of compromise might be needed for a smooth path in your working life.
But, there a few things you can do to maintain something of your own authenticity without offending anybody.
Here’s a few tips I’ve tried when I’ve easily been the oldest person in the room and needed to maintain my own identity.
Try and cultivate a manner of being proud of your age and experience. Don’t force your views on people, but take any opportunity that comes up where you can offer a different idea or view to one this is being discussed in general discussion, but with sincerity. Be proud of what you’ve experienced and what you’ve seen etc
Advocate for yourself and others. If you experience ageism, or see it being done to others, then it’s hoped the company you work for has procedures in place that will allow you to call this out.
Similarly, show your belief in yourself by volunteering for tasks or opportunities where your depth of experience puts you in a more advantageous position than other members of staff. This is gold dust and will do your reputation no harm at all.
Don’t compromise on how you dress. For example, I rarely wear jeans and would never wear them if I was working on-site on a clients premises. And because I work mainly in the creative industries, jeans and casual dressing is very much the norm. But, if you’re the same age as me, you would have started your career in the 1980’s where it would have been embedded into you that you “dress for success”. So, for me, it’s trousers, skirts, dresses etc - never jeans. I wouldn’t wear a pair of jeans for a days work at a client’s premises just to fit in.
I hope these points help and give you a bit of confidence to be more “you” when you’re next in the office. And building on that confidence day after day will reap its own rewards in how you regard and project yourself. Trust me on that ;)
So that’s another quick edition from me. I hope my musings resonate with you and you get something from every post. Each issue I write (and often research) the issues that I talk about, free of charge. So, dear readers, I’m asking a favour of you. If you like the newsletter and it brings something to your life, would you consider buying me a coffee? You can make a small donate via my Ko-Fi account - a fiver would be very gladly received - but only if you have the means :) You can find my Ko-Fi account here and if you do donate, know that this will allow me to keep producing the newsletter as I do. You are a hero!
So, that’s it for another issue. As I mentioned before, I hope you enjoy the newsletter and it brings something to your life.
Take care until next time