How to Gain Respect as a Young Professional
I was one of those lucky grads who landed a job straight out of University. I remember preparing for the interview during exam week, as I tried to juggle the stress of studying and prepping. Most of all, I remember letting out a huge sigh of relief upon hearing I got the job. It felt as if all my hard work was finally over and I could just relax into my brand new career. Boy, was I in for a surprise.
As one of the youngest people in the office (and youngest looking, thanks to my baby face), I noticed my colleagues didn’t always treat me as an equal member of the team. Thanks to the media, a lot of people have a preconceived notion of us millennials, as being lazy, self-entitled brats. Of course, we know that’s not the case, but it can be hard to shake these ideas. Instead of telling your colleagues why you aren’t a “typical millennial”, prove them wrong with your actions. Follow these easy tips to gain respect as a young professional in the office!
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1. Be Punctual
We’ve all been there – sitting in a dimmed boardroom while the presenter is up with their meticulously prepared slide deck when they suddenly get interrupted by the creaking of the boardroom door. Running late, but with a hot coffee in hand, is someone who clearly couldn’t care less about the meeting. Not only do they disrupt the presenter, but they also disrupt all of the attendees as they shuffle through the room to find a seat. Even if they end up being an engaged participant, they’ve ruined their image by showing up late.
Don’t be this person. Your colleagues put a lot of time and effort into their work, so the least you can do is be respectful and supportive. More importantly, being late reinforces the image that you’re one of “those” millennials. That’s definitely not the image you want. You want to stand out at work for the right reasons. Want to learn how to be on time by having better mornings? Check out The Lazy Girl’s Guide to Your Best Morning Routine.
Of course, sometimes we simply cannot help that we’re late. In these cases, reach out to your manager as soon as possible to let them know you’re running late. Then try to make up the time by staying late after work. This will show your team that you have an excellent work ethic and truly care about the job, which will let you gain the respect you want.
2. Change Your Attitude
When you’re the youngest or newest member of the team, there’s a very good chance that you’ll be given some of the files or tasks no one else wants to do. It’s like a workplace initiation, where everyone has done this task before when they were in your position. It really sucks. You spent four or more years specializing in an area, just to be given grunt work.
However, you can use this task as an opportunity to showcase your enthusiasm for the job by keeping a can-do attitude. If you want to go above and beyond, try to find a new way to complete the task. Taking advantage of new software or finding ways to streamline basic parts of the task can show off your innovative abilities. In a time when technology is constantly changing, positioning yourself as someone who is innovative is a great way to earn respect. Your managers may also assign bigger projects to you if they notice you are able to develop creative solutions. Having a positive attitude is one of the simplest ways to gain respect as a young professional at the office.
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3. Be Responsive
One of the biggest shifts from school to work is the change from doing things at your own pace to having people constantly requesting things from you. Effectively managing your requests, whether they be email or phone calls is an important way to build trust with your team. People tend to view those who are late on deliverables as slow or lazy. These definitely aren’t labels you want as an office newbie. Always answer emails and voicemails within 24 hours, so that no one is stuck waiting on you.
Depending on the nature of the request, sometimes you won’t be able to respond within 24 hours. In those cases, acknowledge the receipt of the request and let them know you are working on their request. Nothing builds trust more than someone who is on top of their work. By being responsive, your colleagues will view you as someone who is organized and capable.
Interested in learning more techniques to gain respect as a young professional? Check out these essential tips to garner more respect from the Founder of The Protocol School of Palm Beach, Jacquline Whitmore.