Dealing with Stereotypes at Work

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As you embark on a new career, you will inevitably face co-workers and bosses with whom you disagree. It’s difficult being the “new kid on the block” in any situation, but in an office it can be even tougher. It’s hard to avoid stereotypes as the youngest employee. You will probably meet people who think you are incapable of working hard just based on your age. It’s hard to shake these stereotypes because they have prevailed for so long. Each generation thinks the younger generations are lazy, cynical and entitled. How will you change their minds? First, keep your personal life separate from your work life. This is especially important if you work with others who are young. Typically, you will bond with like-minded people. In turn, you can be viewed as a clique and suddenly it’s high school all over again: everyone will be in your business and harmless chatter can turn to gossip. That’s why it’s best to avoid common pitfalls. Share enough about your life that you don’t seem reserved, but realize what’s appropriate and what’s not at the work place. If you socialize with co-workers outside of the work place, it can be a great networking and bonding experience which is always encouraged. However, don’t talk about things that you would not want repeated. At the end of the day, you still need to work with these people and you never really know who is friends with who. Keep a professional relationship with everyone, even if your personalities aren’t a perfect fit. Secondly, stay upbeat despite any naysayers. It can be great motivation to do an excellent job if others think you will not rise to the challenge. Keep the energy positive without seeming like you want to squash others on your climb to the top. A great way to do this is to ask for advice in a creative way. If someone is great at cold-calling, ask how they come up with what to say. This shows you pay attention to others’ strengths and want useful feedback. In turn, if you show promise at a particular task, the same people you rely on will turn to you for advice. This bridges the gap between being a “newbie” who needs extra help and being a team player. Lastly, it’s important to quickly figure out who the boss relies on and who is deemed a backstabber or needlessly petty. Associate with people who have positive and consistent work relationships and generally you will be on the right track. I’d love to hear some of your new job stories, so please leave a comment below. Read more advice at Amy worked in corporate public relations for three years before returning to graduate school to become an English teacher. She is also a freelance writer for CollegeJobBank.Com. Her strengths include: drafting speeches, writing talking points for media interviews, making corporate presentations, and writing for publications. Read more of her blogs at Find jobs and other information at Nexxt.

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