A Weekly Q&A Column About Professionalism, Etiquette and Problems in the Workplace
by Sue Morem
Tips for Young Workers
Dear Sue: I am an Academic Advisor. A student of mine recently
asked me how to approach and deal with professionals who are older, wiser
and more experienced than she is.
I encouraged listening a lot, demonstrating respectful behaviors and
monitoring her language. Do you have other ideas to add to my advice?
Sue Says: While it is important to show respect for others, it
is important to show respect for yourself too. You may be younger and less
experienced than many of the older and wiser people you encounter, but
never diminish the value you bring to others and to an organization.
You have skills and knowledge that others (especially older workers)
may lack. Your inexperience, open mindedness and your naiveté enables you
to envision outcomes and a workplace that others no longer see or have
given up on. Your energy, enthusiasm and vision can be a welcome relief
for those who have stopped dreaming and resigned themselves to the way
Don't fear those older than you; most people enjoy helping others and
appreciate being asked for advice. Ask for clarification when you don’t
understand something. Ask someone to show you how, to tell you why, and to
talk about their journey. Ask someone the most important lessons they’ve
learned over the years, what they wish they had one differently. Ask
someone to mentor you. Ask for help when you need it.
You show respect for others when you do things their way and conform to
their standards. Some young adults resist wearing more conservative and
appropriate styled clothing to work. Look and act like those who are
already successful and you will be perceived positively; when you resist
conforming and fail to meet expectations, others may perceive you
Respect yourself; value the contribution you are, and be humble. One of
the most important aspects of any job, especially when you are starting
out, is to listen and to learn. Your education is far from over. You may
no longer be in a college classroom, but there is much to learn in the
classroom of life. The more burning your desire to listen, learn, and
conform, the better off you will be
Sue Morem is a professional speaker, trainer and syndicated columnist. She
is author of the newly released
101 Tips for Graduates and
How to Gain the Professional Edge, Second Edition. You can contact her by email at
firstname.lastname@example.org or visit her web site at
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