I splurge a hefty amount of my monthly salary on skincare and makeup products. So, I always welcome compliments on my looks.

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Remarks such as, “You don’t look your age,” or “You look very young!” usually warrants a smile, because, who doesn’t want to look fresh-faced?

But as I got older, I realised that those comments weren’t as innocent as they seemed — especially at the workplace.

Some of my pals were working with colleagues who were twice, some even thrice, their age. So, sometimes, these “compliments” aren’t about the way you look. They actually undermine your skills or capabilities just because you “look young”.

Not A Girl, But Not Yet A Woman

Have you ever heard your much-older colleague tell you that you’re about the age of their children? It may sound sweet but being treated like their own kids instead of a professional won’t serve you at the workplace.

Proving yourself becomes so much harder when you’re not taken seriously at work. Not because of the way you dress, or the way you present yourself, or even because of the things you do. But because of how “youthful” you look!

When you’re not taken seriously at work, you will be assigned easy tasks that seem more like office chores. Instead of tackling the real work alongside with them, you’ll be babied to the point of no impact. Your opinions in the meeting room will probably be drowned out by remarks that insinuate you’re too young to know anything. 

When your opinion goes unheard during the meeting

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You can have six years of professional working experience and enter the company as a senior executive. But just because you look young, you find yourself on the receiving end of countless mansplanations.

It may even reach a point where you’re tempted to change the way you dress just to make yourself look more mature to gain respect from your coworkers. 

But before you start using a pencil liner to draw on wrinkles and swop out all your clothes for drabby office attire, there’s a better way to prove to the naysayers that you’re worthy of your position in the office.

‘Not Taken Seriously At Work’ Has GTG

Instead of merely smiling and nodding whenever they make a backhanded compliment regarding your youthful appearance, make a conscious effort to show them that these remarks are not okay.

Name-drop the previous projects you’ve worked on that were huge successes. Or politely remind them of the number of years of work experience you have under your belt. You’ve worked hard to get to where you are now. So don’t let anybody make you feel like you’re a rookie who knows nothing.

If your supervisors or higher-ups aren’t giving you challenging tasks because they think that you can’t handle it, show them that they’re wrong. Be more proactive in the next department meeting and ask for that spot in the next big project.

Speak firmly so that it makes it hard for people to say ‘no’ to you. Think Miranda Priestly from Devil Wears Prada but take the arrogance down a notch, or four.

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Your efforts don’t stop once you’ve been assigned a challenging task. Do your best to get those results so that your stellar performance can’t be ignored. 

When it comes to casual conversations in the break room, don’t be a wallflower. By building close relationships with your colleagues, you’ll basically be shedding off your image as a “fresh-faced rookie” the more they learn about you.

They’ll no longer judge you based on their first impression of you, so throw them as many fun facts about you that you can possibly think of. Don’t be shy to indulge in more personal, bare-all conversations. 

Unleash Your Inner Sasha Fierce

Having a baby face is a blessing, so don’t let some difficult times in the office make you feel bad about it. You don’t have to look more mature to earn respect from your colleagues.

Just like how Sasha Fierce is Queen Bey’s alter ego, consider coming up with one for yourself when you’re in the office to help show off what you’re truly made of. Once you’ve clocked off work, you can go back to being your most comfortable self.