It's hard enough to be the new person at a job when first starting out at a workplace, but it may feel even more daunting if you end up being the youngest person there.

A character from L Word: Generation Q tells her coworker she's excited to be at work.

When you're young and fresh-faced at a job, older coworkers can react one of two ways: feel encouraged oract condescendingly.

However, there are a few things you can do to help them see past your youth and see you as a potential MVP.

A young boy removes baseball cap that reads

1. Learn From Others

Okay, so you walk into the break room and as you look around you realize that everyone else is a bit older than you. Some have kids, spouses, have graduated college more than once, etc...this isn't a bad thing.

You can still find common ground with them and have them respect you if you do the following:

Pay attention and take notes!

Whether you're already familiar with the nature of the job or not. It helps to observe how your more experienced coworkers do the job.This gives you a chance to see who is doing it the right way and even more importantly, who is doing it the wrong way.

A man in black suit and light blue dress shirt sitting in a leather chair writing on a legal notepad.

Paying attention to the different types of work ethics gives you a chance to find a mentor if you want to move positions later on as well as possibly learn how to work smarter and not harder on the job.

2. Be Professional

Use good work etiquette!

When you develop a rapport with your coworkers then they will have a chance to better view of you as a dependable colleague. However, it's important not to blur the lines.

A female cartoon character wearing a blue top and has yellow blonde hair, furiously typing at a computer.

Limit the use of slang.

It is best to be as professional as possible and even if you should develop a rapport with them, avoid getting too comfortable when at work. Keeping good boundaries will allow your older coworkers to respect you.

Avoid oversharing your personal issues.

This includes conversations you may have on your phone and knowing when to appropriately answer those kinds of calls while at work.

Stan from South Park says,

At one of my previous jobs, almost all my coworkers were older and married or in some kind of long-standing committed relationship.

Despite their daily updates about their family lives, I was very careful not to mention my dating life, as being one of few who was young & single, because it could have led to many awkward conversations that I wouldn't be able to live down.

A young woman with brunette hair in black top says,

If you're going to share personal details at work, try to give anecdotal details from the perspective of someone seeking advice from a more mature individual or someone you hold in high regard.

A curly haired caucasian girl holding a strawberry milkshake. She says,

This way, you're selective about who you share with, and hopefully, the person you pick is someone you view as a mentor who would be comfortable with knowing "just enough" detail to give helpful advice.


Select all the work-appropriate conversations you can have at work while setting boundaries:

3. Seek Feedback

Own what you do!

No one likes a slacker and oftentimes that is the judgment that will be passed on you because of your youth. To have your older coworkers see you as an equal,know how to do your job and know how to do it well!

A blonde haired caucasian female in pink sweater top with silver glitter, brushing off her shoulder.

Once you've mastered your own job, don't be afraid to offer your help to others either in the same department as you or in another department.Just be sure that all this helping doesn't take away from your own role and doesn't have you doing ALL of someone else's work.

A Black woman in a lab coat at work says to her coworker,

Older coworkers will remember when you were helpful and this will help build a good rapport at work.This can mean they will be more likely to assist you or provide help when you need it.

A caucasian woman says,

Lastly, if you mess up at work, be sure to own up to it.Being able to take constructive criticism is important, especially if it's coming from those who are more experienced at the job than you.

Instead, take the opportunity to ask for positive and negative feedback and use it to improve.

Evaluations are a big part of many jobs, and although I hated being on review, it was an opportunity for me to have an honest conversation with my supervisor about my progress at work.

SNL cast members singing about being

In those meetings, I was able to:

  • voice some of my personal career goals with my supervisor

  • find out how I could improve towards my goals

  • learn about other opportunities that highlight some of the skills I already had

  • learn about how my supervisor sees me and my contributions to my team (as well as the company)

  • resolve any issues or misunderstandings


During a team meeting, your colleague points out an error in a report you contributed to. Initially, you feel defensive. How should you react first?

Take Action

A blonde woman in multicolored jacket shrugging her shoulder sitting in front of a computer saying,

Your youth and experience are valid in the workplace, but for your coworkers to see that value, you can try the following:


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