I’ve been thinking a lot about age lately; I’ve had a few reminders of my young-ish age recently, so it’s been on the brain.
Not long ago, at a conference for professionals in my field, a colleague and acquaintance (the only person I knew at the conference) mentioned that I could have a hard time convincing my clients to adopt certain methods because of my age. I politely agreed with her in the moment, but it had me thinking later on…
Ok, yes; I don’t have the same level of experience – I’ve only joined her career field a little over a year ago. But, would my young appearance truly prevent my clients from discounting my advice and knowledge…?
While leaving that same conference, I was waiting in the airport for my plane to arrive and begin boarding. I heard a couple folks discussing the conference, the speakers at the conference, and the books they’d purchased from there. One of the ladies said she liked the book she’d purchased (which was written by one of the speakers I had watched a couple times during the conference); in her words, she was able to glean a couple good tips from the book and was surprised “because the author is so young!”……
This is surprising and annoying for a few reasons:
- The author of the book, as I mentioned, was a speaker at the conference we JUST left; and the conference is literally one of the biggest in the field. Only the best and brightest at the cutting edge of the field are invited to speak there.
- The author has written and published several books in the field and even several books in a separate genre. She knows her shit.
- In addition to knowing her shit, the author also walks the walk: she owns her own business; she takes the difficult clients; she has put in the hours to back up what she’s saying.
Now, I’m not going to complain about how millennials got it so bad and moan about how we’re expected to have 20 years of experience to get an entry-level job, but we can’t get the experience without the job, etc….But, it’s comments like those I’ve mentioned that have me thinking closely on a regular basis about how I’m dressing, how I cut my hair, how I carry myself, etc. to ensure that potential clients and my current clients see me as a reliable source of information. The energy I put into thinking about things like that would be way better suited to researching the latest in my field, reading up on studies and science-backed techniques, taking webinars and attending more conferences, etc.
These are the things that SHOULD make me more credible to potential clients, but, unfortunately, when it comes down to it, it’s my appearance and age that are attractive to some clients and unattractive to others.
All of that said, I’m probably the oldest 26 year old I know with my old lady hobbies, my old-fashioned phrases, and my refusal to learn how some pieces of technology work.