This week has been a busy one within the job market for me. I have been attending many business meetings with my independent business, interviews, and work meetings, which is nothing out of the ordinary. I have enjoyed the increased amount of activity this week and have felt extremely productive. With the increased amount of meetings, however, I have also learned that there is a slight empowerment issue within the working world.
Let me make this clear before I start: I am in no way a feminist. I do agree in equal rights for all, but I am also thankful for the rights that all share right now. I have noticed, though, there there is this age gap and gender gap when meeting with other professionals. I noted this to my partner in crime and boyfriend who is also an independent business owner within the same MLM company. We work alongside each other. The other day we had a networking meeting that allowed us to pitch our business and brainstorm with other professionals. While I felt that it was a very successful meeting, I felt like that success fell a lot on Josh’s work, and not mine. It wasn’t that I wasn’t putting in effort. Quite the contrary, my dear friends. Instead, I tried to speak out, only to be looked over and talked over. That’s when I realized that is often hard to be a business woman in a field that is male dominant. How do you speak up in a situation like this, where you are spoken over? How do you make yourself stand out more, and let others know that you aren’t just the assistant or secretary (not that these are bad positions at all)?
I also realized, after another meeting this week, that it pays to have close networking, which may balance the scale of equality in your direction. I have done a lot of work with the Student Veterans’ Center of FSU, as you may know, and have kept in touch with them continuously since graduating. This has paid off quite in favor of myself. I have been asked for professional assistance with a project that they are working on. It made me feel valued for what I’m good at, and not looked down on just for my age.
I spend a lot of time with individuals who are older than me due to my work. Often times I am not taken as seriously because of my “lack of experience,” or rather because I am young. I think age does not have full control over experience if you have studied or practiced in a field for long enough.
So, I’m curious: What have been some of your experiences within the workforce? Have you ever been looked down on for age or gender/race? How did you handle it? What advice would you give me?