What happens when you are a young ambitious woman, who seemingly achieve great things at work when other take 10 more years to achieve? You will be hated on and/or dismissed by a sizeable public.
2021 sounds like a modern and new enough chapter in the history of mankind to judge people by their age and gender. Yet things still happen, at least in the surrounding that I’m in. It’s undeniable the progress that society has on young adults with the trail blazing stories of successful 30 under 30 list or young billionaires in tech. It’s aspiring to see so many new role models for young adults to strive for the better, seeing a part of themselves in the media, rather than some old 50 something executives. Yet the general public has not caught on.
In Vietnam, whenever we talk about a young successful adult who barely pass quarter life crisis, it is common to rely on the mantra of they come from a line of privileges. Sure it may be coincidentally that way but striving oneself for greatness is not a guaranteed of heritage. The burden of a rich family is equally difficult with the hardship of poverty. Sure they are different issues, but millennials have high expectation of ourselves.
There are cases when people question the authenticity of one’s CV because “How can you be so young yet achieve so much?”. It’s astonishing to see older colleagues or even peers jealously assume you have to do something dirty to get in, rather than with your own merit.
It’s tough and detrimental for the mind of young successful person because it can instigate self-doubt. Imposter syndrome is not uncommon among high achieving young adults because society tells you “It’s impossible”. It’s also frustrating at the receiving end when people do not acknowledge the hard works you put in. I had been feeling so discouraged for 4 years simply because the society keeps pushing back expectation. It made me wonder if it is easier just to let it be, without trying so hard since society doesn’t take it anyway.
This issue is exaggerated even more when you are a female. There have been countless time when meeting with a potential partner to be asked “Where is your boss?” – “What do you mean, I’m the boss”. This often happens with misogynistic males who feel that a young woman cannot do such big tasks of decision making.
Another common workplace practice is mansplaining. This is when a man trying to explain to a woman in a condescending manner, coupled with pre-existing hierarchy of age. It’s especially exhausting when a young woman is in the table. She will need to speak louder and more often or else being mistaken as a secretary of the meeting.
Frankly speaking in order to get in the “big boy’s table”, you must have had support from an older male. In the 21st century, the sentence sounds outdated but it is still especially true. With the general public seems to like the propaganda of female empowerment, some older men choose that path as a win-win situation. They get to have the good name of supporting female, while the young ones are grateful for their help.
The only way to know if the move is genuine, is to see how they behave in the meeting table. This is where mansplaining comes into play and work its power. You will have to scream elegantly, argue like a lady and lean on your feminism to get heard. Being too straight forward and direct just get you ignored and called a bitch.
What’s your experience at the workplace? and how do you solve it?