Author Topic: Any advice for someone who looks much younger than they actually are??  (Read 5526 times)

MrGville

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I am 26 and I have a job that requires frequent meetings that are comprised almost exclusively of 50+ year old men.  Most people think that I am 20 or 21 years old (some as low at 18), so they are often surprised (and sometimes extremely rude) when they have to interact with me and listen to what I have to say at meetings.  It has gotten to be very frustrating and it's hard to keep my confidence up at times.  I also feel that looking young tends to take away from my credibility during meetings/presentations.  The line of work I am in depends on our customers buying into what we have to say. 

There obviously isn't much I can do...I can't magically make myself look older.  People have suggested growing a beard, but thats not possible for me.  My plan is to RE when I'm~35, so it will be a little comical to tell people that I'm retired when they'll look at me and think I'm only in my late 20s!

I am very aware that this is somewhat of a silly post, but just curious if anyone else had a similar experience.
« Last Edit: February 20, 2017, 02:52:55 PM by MrGville »

Lentils4Lunch

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Re: Any advice for someone who looks much younger than they actually are??
« Reply #1 on: February 20, 2017, 02:42:35 PM »
A few ideas:
  • Dye your hair gray.
  • Gain thirty pounds.
  • Start wearing a wedding ring.
  • Get some tattoos.

trashmanz

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Re: Any advice for someone who looks much younger than they actually are??
« Reply #2 on: February 20, 2017, 02:47:03 PM »
You can always dress up to the part.  But yeah, a lot of people nowadays seem to like the dyed grey hair look. 

Other than that, this goes right there with the list of many 1st world problems I think. 

hops

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Re: Any advice for someone who looks much younger than they actually are??
« Reply #3 on: February 20, 2017, 02:50:13 PM »
Speak slowly and gruffly, like Sam Elliott. This will also make women (and some men) want to date you, and men (and some women) want to be like you.

Edited to add: There were times in my career when I was not taken seriously, and was sometimes treated disrespectfully, because of my gender or my perceived inexperience (clients often thought I was younger than I was), or some combination of the two. I never figured out a magic formula for winning people over. There were those who stopped being dismissive once they started paying attention to the work I produced, and there were a few who never seemed to stop being dismissive. Trying to cultivate one-on-one relationships with some of them helped, but that isn't necessarily something you'll be able to do if your meetings are often with different people.
« Last Edit: February 20, 2017, 03:19:24 PM by hops »

Hoglet121

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Re: Any advice for someone who looks much younger than they actually are??
« Reply #4 on: February 20, 2017, 02:58:27 PM »
I have this same problem. I'm 33, prematurely grey, and married (obvious wedding and engagement ring), but have a baby face. It drives me nuts, epseically as I work in an environment with much older people.

Sorry, I don't have anything to help other than to sympathise and say I get exactly where you're coming from.

jmwagner5

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Re: Any advice for someone who looks much younger than they actually are??
« Reply #5 on: February 20, 2017, 03:09:53 PM »
You could start smoking, getting sun damage, and eating like crap.  All three will age you prematurely and cause some nice skin damage.  Excessive drinking helps with this as well.

People understand competence at any age.  Demonstrate that you are capable of doing the job just as well as some 50+ year old dude and it will be readily apparent that you should not be ignored.  Anyone who is treating you like crap at that point is just worried about their own job security and trying to put you down to make themselves feel better. Ignore them as best you can since anything that detracts from your confidence in yourself will only make it harder to demonstrate what you are capable of.

Otherwise I have to agree with Trashmanz that this is one of the ultimate 1st world problems from someone on the path to RE at 35.

Syonyk

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Re: Any advice for someone who looks much younger than they actually are??
« Reply #6 on: February 20, 2017, 03:20:50 PM »
Beard toupee!

How you dress certainly can have an influence, but a babyface with a more traditional/older suit style looks really weird too.

Maybe consider your hairstyle?

Ocinfo

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Re: Any advice for someone who looks much younger than they actually are??
« Reply #7 on: February 20, 2017, 04:09:53 PM »

People understand competence at any age.  Demonstrate that you are capable of doing the job just as well as some 50+ year old dude and it will be readily apparent that you should not be ignored.  Anyone who is treating you like crap at that point is just worried about their own job security and trying to put you down to make themselves feel better. Ignore them as best you can since anything that detracts from your confidence in yourself will only make it harder to demonstrate what you are capable of.


What he said...I've dealt with this same issue. I started working at my current job when I was 24 with the average employee being in their 50s. If you know your stuff and produce results then only a few insecure people will treat you poorly. I'm 31 now but still look young. I generally have a beard that helps a lot. I'm advancing faster than I'm aging so will probably deal with this until I no longer work.


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PepperPeter

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Re: Any advice for someone who looks much younger than they actually are??
« Reply #8 on: February 20, 2017, 04:16:45 PM »
Telling someone this is a first world problem is actually pretty demeaning.  When she retires is irrelevant.  The point is she is being disrespected by her peers and telling her to "get over it" really just perpetuates the problem that women have in the workforce.

I have finally aged into my career and spent the last 10 years being talked down to by old white men. 

1) Do not EVER let anyone interrupt you.  If someone tries, continue speaking and finish your thought.  It will be awkward, you will cringe internally, but KEEP TALKING.  The moment you let someone talk over you when you are running the meeting, you have lost all your credibility.

2) Make lots of eye contact.  Do not cross your arms.  Do not play with your hair.  Speak loudly and clearly.

3) Make peace with looking young.  I still look young for my age, but not shockingly so anymore, and I spent years agonizing about it and trying to dress older, fix my hair to look older, etc.  It doesn't work.  You look young.  You have to rely on your body language and knowledge of being a boss at your job to convey your authority.  You are running meetings, so you obviously know your shit.  Don't ever let anyone make you feel less than them because they are older than you.

I understand this is both a societal problem and a self confidence issue.  I can't fix society for us, but at the end of the day, if you need to give yourself a pep talk in the bathroom before you go into meetings - go for it.  That won't change at 25, or 35, no matter if you are working or not.  Some old man is always going to try and talk down to you, and it's your job to nip that shit in the bud immediately.  Find some positive self talk that gets inside your head and pumps you up.


Syonyk

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Re: Any advice for someone who looks much younger than they actually are??
« Reply #9 on: February 20, 2017, 04:32:59 PM »
When she retires is irrelevant.  The point is she is being disrespected by her peers and telling her to "get over it" really just perpetuates the problem that women have in the workforce.

Sorry... help me out a bit?  How did you get 'she' out of a poster going by the handle "MrGville"?

Frankies Girl

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Re: Any advice for someone who looks much younger than they actually are??
« Reply #10 on: February 20, 2017, 04:37:25 PM »
It doesn't matter how old you are/look, as long as you make sure to act confident and assured that you can do the job you were hired to do, then anyone that judges you based solely on your appearance is the loser in the interaction.

Don't get bogged down in the idea that you look young. Dress professionally, make sure your hair is neat, hands/nails properly cared for, clothing/shoes are well fitting. And make sure you're not speaking with any "young folk" buzz words that aren't in common business language and/or speaking down to your clients either; not that you are, just that you may want to review mentally how you speak to ensure you're not doing anything like this. They may be upset with the manner/language that you're using and not how you look.  If you are clean, well-groomed, project competence, and are good at your job, then screw what others think. You'll prove them wrong.

But more than anything, I would ask your boss what they are seeing in regards to your perceived age and your perception from the clients in the meetings. You may be misreading things considering that you are used frequently, and I doubt that the boss would use you if the clients think you are off-putting and a waste of their time (why put forth a sub-par/too young looking worker to be the face of your company and besmirch the company's reception for the possible client interactions if they are seeing you as instantly distasteful?)

And if your boss agrees your youthful look is a disadvantage, then are they emphasizing that you are their best "whatever it is you do" and make sure to tell clients that you are in your job based on skill and performance? But again, I don't understand why they'd be using you constantly if they also feel contempt/distrust from clientele based off of your appearance, so maybe it's something to discuss?
« Last Edit: February 20, 2017, 05:20:02 PM by Frankies Girl »

PepperPeter

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Re: Any advice for someone who looks much younger than they actually are??
« Reply #11 on: February 20, 2017, 05:00:47 PM »
When she retires is irrelevant.  The point is she is being disrespected by her peers and telling her to "get over it" really just perpetuates the problem that women have in the workforce.

Sorry... help me out a bit?  How did you get 'she' out of a poster going by the handle "MrGville"?

You're right - read his handle too quickly and somehow saw "MrsG". Either way, my advice is the same.

Roots&Wings

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Re: Any advice for someone who looks much younger than they actually are??
« Reply #12 on: February 20, 2017, 05:13:05 PM »

People understand competence at any age.  Demonstrate that you are capable of doing the job just as well as some 50+ year old dude and it will be readily apparent that you should not be ignored.  Anyone who is treating you like crap at that point is just worried about their own job security and trying to put you down to make themselves feel better. Ignore them as best you can since anything that detracts from your confidence in yourself will only make it harder to demonstrate what you are capable of.


What he said...I've dealt with this same issue. I started working at my current job when I was 24 with the average employee being in their 50s. If you know your stuff and produce results then only a few insecure people will treat you poorly. I'm 31 now but still look young. I generally have a beard that helps a lot. I'm advancing faster than I'm aging so will probably deal with this until I no longer work.


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Same! Develop your confidence and poise, understand what you can control (your competence and how you present yourself) and what's out of your control (like having 100% positive response rate from colleagues during those meetings).

MrGville

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Re: Any advice for someone who looks much younger than they actually are??
« Reply #13 on: February 20, 2017, 05:15:19 PM »
Thanks for all the constructive comments.  Not sure how wanting to get treated fairly is a first world problem...but perhaps I didn't explain the situation clearly.  All in all, yes, this is a minor issue compared to some things.

Dollar Slice

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Re: Any advice for someone who looks much younger than they actually are??
« Reply #14 on: February 20, 2017, 05:17:10 PM »
My friend's son has been shaving the front of his head into a fake receding hairline, but that might be a bit extreme and probably wouldn't help your self-confidence  :-)   The haircut can make a difference though. There are definitely haircuts you'd rarely/never see on an older person, so make sure you're not giving yourself a younger look that way.

If you can manage to add muscle to your upper body you may look more physically mature - many men tend to add muscle and body hair in their 20s, so a very slender build can add to a youthful appearance.

trollwithamustache

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Re: Any advice for someone who looks much younger than they actually are??
« Reply #15 on: February 20, 2017, 06:20:16 PM »
Working in an old line Energy industry this happened a lot to me until my early 30s. So, hang in there, it may be a while.

Confidence is the first step. Doing your homework is the second step.

The old guys can be their own "we are experienced" click, but they actually know who amongst them is good and not so good. It takes time, but if you keep doing your homework on stuff you'll find lots of things they miss or things they never actually knew how X worked anyways. For me it was piping design codes. There are lots of good rules of thumb out there that the old guys know, but hardly anyone actually reads the code document itself and the codes let you do all sorts of things to solve problems that the rules of thumb may not.

If you are going out there doing a solid job, many of the guys who are ignoring you because you are young tend to be less good at their jobs.

ketchup

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Re: Any advice for someone who looks much younger than they actually are??
« Reply #16 on: February 20, 2017, 06:41:52 PM »
I'm 25, most of the college-grad newbies at work (22-23) seem to think I'm 35.  Receding hairline, give zero fucks, act confident, be good at your job.  You have control over three of those.

waltworks

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Re: Any advice for someone who looks much younger than they actually are??
« Reply #17 on: February 20, 2017, 07:34:59 PM »
Talk about how much Vanilla Ice sucked back when you were in middle school, or ask around if anyone remembers Crystal Pepsi, or talk about how the Home Alone sequels sucked compared to the original...

I kid, I kid.

If you are doing a good job, you are fine. Don't sweat it.

-W

Dollar Slice

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Re: Any advice for someone who looks much younger than they actually are??
« Reply #18 on: February 20, 2017, 07:39:56 PM »
Talk about how much Vanilla Ice sucked back when you were in middle school, or ask around if anyone remembers Crystal Pepsi, or talk about how the Home Alone sequels sucked compared to the original...

:-)  Or just keep it simple and complain about how entitled those darn millennials are.

tarheeldan

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Re: Any advice for someone who looks much younger than they actually are??
« Reply #19 on: February 20, 2017, 08:15:29 PM »
Obviously, what you say will matter most (so excel) but how you say it matters.

I bet you don't, but just in case - never say "like." (You know what I mean). Speak well.

Your clothes and your hair cut can make a huge difference as well. Not the brand name or whatever, but the cut. Baggy clothes make you look like a child in his older brother's clothes. Too tight is the opposite problem, you look like you've out grown them and can't afford to replace them. Get clothes made (or make then yourself) or make use of an alterations tailor (or learn to make alterations yourself). Wear a tie (if people do) that suits your build. If you wear a sportcoat, lapels should match your build.

On hair, a classic hairstyle could make you look older. I have a young face and used to wear my hair short. I went back to the classic side part I had when I was twelve and ironically I get called "sir" all the time now. I'm 32.

Good luck!
« Last Edit: February 20, 2017, 08:17:18 PM by tarheeldan »

khangaroo

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Re: Any advice for someone who looks much younger than they actually are??
« Reply #20 on: February 20, 2017, 09:32:52 PM »
Are you Asian?? I am and have/had this same issue.

I was getting my suit tailored for my company party when I was 25 and the tailor asked if I was doing this for prom :P

Since perception goes a long way in the professional industry, I've found that dressing "older" really helps build your credibility initially. Also, speaking more formal makes you sound more mature - avoiding using the word like between every other word. Another avenue you can seek is to get non-prescription glasses to add an additional "allure" of intelligence and knowledge.

Not saying these things will work 100% but if you're trying to improve the perception than you have to look and act the part.

CheapScholar

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Re: Any advice for someone who looks much younger than they actually are??
« Reply #21 on: February 21, 2017, 05:35:58 AM »
I'll admit some of these jokes are funny, but this issue is a real thing for some people that can really stunt career growth.  I'm 36.  People often peg me for 21 or 22 still.  I work at a university and people still mistake me for an undergraduate all the time, even if I am wearing a suit.  I have a bit of a baby face, no hair loss at all.  I'm a bit below average weight, but not a skeleton.  Having blonde hair makes this worse, because even if there are slight strands of grey they would go unnoticed easily.  Still to this day, when people come to my door, they ask if "my mom or dad is home."  This has happened by lawn care service people, Comcast salesmen, and even 18 yo punk ass Mormon missionaries.  I took my 7 yo son to a college football game this year and the woman behind me told me I was sweet to bring my little brother.  I was getting my haircut a few months ago and the woman cutting my hair asked if I was in HS or college.  I told her I was 36 and she got extremely embarrassed and kept apologizing.

Obviously, the suggestions about altering your experience are bad.  The only advice I can give you is to work hard and build up your reputation.  That's what I've done. 

ShoulderThingThatGoesUp

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Re: Any advice for someone who looks much younger than they actually are??
« Reply #22 on: February 21, 2017, 05:55:55 AM »
I looked 14 until I was 19, and then I've looked 35 since. (I'm 27.)

Can you grow a decent beard? They are so popular now nobody would have a problem with it, and it'll help you look older. But a crappy beard makes you look like an idiot, so one can go wrong here.

NoStacheOhio

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Re: Any advice for someone who looks much younger than they actually are??
« Reply #23 on: February 21, 2017, 06:18:38 AM »
My wife has this problem, and I think it's much harder for women than for men. There are regional differences here too. I feel like it really doesn't matter what I do, because nobody in Cleveland takes you seriously until you're 40. I think I look about my age, and it's still something I deal with. I'm 30 and have a Master's degree in my field.

Clothes can have a lot of influence either way. Depending on what you do, one or two nice, well-tailored suits can make a big difference. Details will make a big difference too. Do you socks match your pants? Are you wearing decent shoes? Do your shirts bunch up in weird ways?

GreenSheep

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Re: Any advice for someone who looks much younger than they actually are??
« Reply #24 on: February 21, 2017, 06:31:49 AM »
Ugh, been there. Even in my 30s, a taxi driver once pulled over to ask why I wasn't in school, and a flight attendant thought I was traveling as a solo minor. At work, the topic at hand often gets derailed by people who want to know my age or comment on how young I look. It's usually meant as a compliment, but I would like to just move on a get the work done.

I really like the advice above about not letting anyone interrupt you. I need to work on that myself. Confidence and competence go a long way. I don't really have anything brilliant to add to what's already been said. Just posting to follow and to empathize!


Edited to change "comment" to "compliment." Typing too fast for my own good.
« Last Edit: February 22, 2017, 12:46:57 PM by GreenSheep »

BallerOnABudget

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Re: Any advice for someone who looks much younger than they actually are??
« Reply #25 on: February 21, 2017, 06:31:59 AM »
I agree with the people mentioning speech habits. Speak confidently, and drop any lingering "young person" phrases. "Ummm" and "like" are your enemies. Make eye contact, shake hands firmly, and just carry yourself as a professional. I can almost guarantee you people are not as weirded out by your young appearance as you are. I can also vouch for the old-school side part hairdo. I always looked significantly younger than my age, but job stress combined with having young kids caused grey hairs to sprout and I went with a more traditional haircut and it made a difference.

Good luck!

MrGville

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Re: Any advice for someone who looks much younger than they actually are??
« Reply #26 on: February 21, 2017, 06:40:07 AM »
Lots of good advice here.  I need to work on the eye contact, and I am sure I still use "young people lingo" without realizing what I am saying.  Typically my confidence rises during meetings/presentations, and it always feels good when someone approaches me after the meeting to say that they were impressed that I knew my stuff (a compliment, but sometimes somewhat of a backhanded one). 


jade

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Re: Any advice for someone who looks much younger than they actually are??
« Reply #27 on: February 21, 2017, 06:52:11 AM »
Interesting thread. I've definitely experiences this too. When I was temping once in my early twenties the manager was introduced to me and laughed and said I looked about twelve! Rude! I think there's good tips here though. I  think it's about being confident in our  abilities but it doesn't harm to tune into what might make a more receptive audience. I'm now 41 and I think am beginning to look more my age though people often think I'm about a decade younger still which I like more as I get older though but I've wondered about letting my grey grow through, partly for this reason, particularly at work. Anyway, all the best and congrats on your career advancement!
« Last Edit: February 21, 2017, 06:54:34 AM by jade »

teen persuasion

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Re: Any advice for someone who looks much younger than they actually are??
« Reply #28 on: February 21, 2017, 06:55:49 AM »
Work on your confidence - remember that the company has put you out there precisely because you know your stuff, and your competence is what is important, not your age or appearance.  Learn to project that confidence, and others will respect you.

Yes, I was often mistaken as much younger than I was.  I remember one time when I answered the door (surrounded by my 3 kids and obviously expecting #4) and the delivery guys thought I was under 15 - umm, more than double that!  Now my daughter in the Navy gets the same treatment at times; she's 26 but got carded for an R movie.

I left my prematurely gray hair natural.  Now I've apparently swapped to the other extreme: people have asked me if my DS5 is my grandson!  I figure it is because most women dye their hair these days, so seeing gray hair immediately makes people think "senior citizen", despite seeing a youthful face and fit body.  I've decided I don't care how others categorize me.

katsiki

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Re: Any advice for someone who looks much younger than they actually are??
« Reply #29 on: February 21, 2017, 07:00:49 AM »
Grow facial hair.  People will assume you're older based on that.  Silly but it works.

BabyShark

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Re: Any advice for someone who looks much younger than they actually are??
« Reply #30 on: February 21, 2017, 07:02:56 AM »
This thread is awesome and I'm mostly posting to follow because I have the same issues. 

OthalaFehu

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Re: Any advice for someone who looks much younger than they actually are??
« Reply #31 on: February 21, 2017, 07:05:50 AM »
Says things like 'If I had my druthers"

and that you don't 'like the cut' of someone's 'Jib'

Also consider a chin Merkin, a lot of the old taboos are falling away in our new open society

MrGville

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Re: Any advice for someone who looks much younger than they actually are??
« Reply #32 on: February 21, 2017, 07:23:40 AM »
I'm thoroughly enjoying all of the funny comments.  Here are a few stories of rude encounters I have had during work:

I walk into a meeting and an ~60 year old man walks up to me and says, "are you old enough to be here?  seriously."  His statement caught me off guard, and I simply said yes.  Then he went on to say how I looked like I was in high school. 

At another meeting, everyone had sat down around the conference table, and when I began to speak, one lady interrupted me and said that she thought I was someone's child...as if it was bring your kid to work day.  Everyone seemed to get a good kick out of her joke.  Definitely a hard way to start a meeting for me. 

One thing that I always think is funny is when I have been dealing with someone on the phone for a few weeks, and then I get to see their look of surprise when we finally meet in person. 

At least these rude encounters have providing me with some entertaining stories to tell my friends/family.

Fishindude

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Re: Any advice for someone who looks much younger than they actually are??
« Reply #33 on: February 21, 2017, 07:33:49 AM »
I used to struggle with the same issue.  Felt like clients just didn't have the comfort factor to trust a young guy with their business.
Really not much you can do about it.  It just takes time.   

If you are good at what you do, people will take notice and word of mouth will get you where you need to be in business.

Seems like 40-50 is about ideal business age.  You are young enough to work with the 20 somethings and have enough age that the 60 somethings will begin to trust you.


teen persuasion

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Re: Any advice for someone who looks much younger than they actually are??
« Reply #34 on: February 21, 2017, 07:40:51 AM »
Build up a repertoire of ways to handle the various responses you get.  Try to use humor to defuse the awkward situation.  Don't make them the butt of your joke, try to turn it back on yourself or the age thing, to get everyone laughing with you rather than at you.

I'm clueless about exactly what to say - maybe an offhand reference to Benjamin Button, and the drawbacks of aging backwards?

plainjane

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Re: Any advice for someone who looks much younger than they actually are??
« Reply #35 on: February 21, 2017, 07:48:12 AM »
I agree with the people mentioning speech habits. Speak confidently, and drop any lingering "young person" phrases.

I'm going to build on this.  It isn't just word choice, it is inflection.  Make statements, avoid upspeak. 

Make sure you wear good shoes (trainers are fine in some cases, just make sure they are in good shape) & have your pants properly tailored so they don't pool (you really want to avoid looking like that little kid in a too big suit).

2Birds1Stone

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Re: Any advice for someone who looks much younger than they actually are??
« Reply #36 on: February 21, 2017, 07:53:50 AM »
Get face tattoos and shave your head/eyebrows.

MrGville

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Re: Any advice for someone who looks much younger than they actually are??
« Reply #37 on: February 21, 2017, 07:56:50 AM »
Get face tattoos and shave your head/eyebrows.

This will certainly get people to respect me in a business environment!

spuggy

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Re: Any advice for someone who looks much younger than they actually are??
« Reply #38 on: February 21, 2017, 09:31:51 AM »
Just commenting to add to the support - I'm 29 and a psychologist, and often at work when I do joint consultations with the medics someone will ask me what I'm studying. My colleagues think it's hilarious *eye roll* I also get ID-ed in bars quite regularly (in the UK it's 18 for alcohol).
I also have to have the conversation with most patients about me being "young enough to be (their) granddaughter", which I tend to handle by asking if it's going to be an issue. Only two people have said yes in my five years of qualified working, and both of them decided by the end of the first session that it actually wouldn't be :-)
Rude people are horrid, but try not to let them knock your confidence. It says way more about them than it does about you. It must be hard for them to be reminded that they're getting older ;-)

Ocinfo

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Re: Any advice for someone who looks much younger than they actually are??
« Reply #39 on: February 21, 2017, 09:39:19 AM »
Figured I'd add that I know plenty of people that have the opposite problem. By age 25 they had pretty much transformed into their parents (overweight, balding, etc...). So all in all, I'm glad I look a bit young.


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MrGville

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Re: Any advice for someone who looks much younger than they actually are??
« Reply #40 on: February 21, 2017, 09:52:25 AM »
Figured I'd add that I know plenty of people that have the opposite problem. By age 25 they had pretty much transformed into their parents (overweight, balding, etc...). So all in all, I'm glad I look a bit young.


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Very true.  i have a friend from college (he is 26 as well) who regularly gets mistaken for a 45 year old man.  He gets people to guess how old he is and tells them to keep in mind that he is younger than he looks, and they still guess that he's in his forties. 

garion

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Re: Any advice for someone who looks much younger than they actually are??
« Reply #41 on: February 21, 2017, 09:56:51 AM »
I have one friend who looks so young that his wife has been asked if he were her SON (he is older than her).

He seems to be doing well in his career, but he is in tech, so being a "wunderkind" is to his advantage.

joonifloofeefloo

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Re: Any advice for someone who looks much younger than they actually are??
« Reply #42 on: February 21, 2017, 10:06:18 AM »
Definitely jerks will find reasons to be jerks, yep. For one it's gender, another sexual orientation, another an age-gap, another spirituality, another diet, another medical treatment choices, another religion, another youth (or perceived youth).

I fully agree with the tips re: body language, speech, etc. i.e., The issue isn't that you look young; the issue is that there are some rude, ignorant jerks in your environments. The latter is what needs to be navigated, and the tips given here are great.

I've had a similar experience of having much more success working (in my case) via email. By the time they meet me, they think I'm older, wise, intelligent, organized, focused, etc. It's much easier doing it in this order than getting past all the barriers they create the moment they see young, female, etc. I guess that technique is called: surprise them with our faces ;)

Your competence and EQ are what will sort things out in the long run, but as others also said, it will take time for some to get past their own barriers to see those. That's one of those crappy things, for sure. If you are patient with their barriers, most will come clear.

bognish

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Re: Any advice for someone who looks much younger than they actually are??
« Reply #43 on: February 21, 2017, 12:36:26 PM »
I faced the same thing. You don't say what you do for work or your role in meetings, so I am not sure how applicable this will be. Establishing a relationship before face to face encounters helps. Can be emails or phone. This way they see your experience and knowledge base first and expect you to be older.

At the meetings don't do the role of more junior positions. If you have junior staff or assistants at the meeting have them do the set up, make copies, bring you a coffee etc. If you are doing all of the entry level activities then I would expect you to have entry level experience.

BlueHouse

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Re: Any advice for someone who looks much younger than they actually are??
« Reply #44 on: February 21, 2017, 01:47:19 PM »
she got extremely embarrassed and kept apologizing.
OMG, my boss brought his daughter in to work one day (she came for a visit from England).  When she told me that her mom had stayed home and that she flew alone, I gushed "oh wow, how old are you?".  I thought she was 12 or 13.  She was an adult.  She actually came straight from the airport to pick him up for dinner. 
Gosh, I felt terrible and try not to be so quick to make assumptions any more.   Sorry!

BabyShark

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Re: Any advice for someone who looks much younger than they actually are??
« Reply #45 on: February 21, 2017, 02:30:17 PM »
Ask A Manager happened to have a column on this exact topic today:

http://nymag.com/thecut/2017/02/ask-a-boss-should-i-try-to-act-older-at-work.html

Granted it's from a woman so it doesn't 100% apply to OP but the tips are good and I'm planning to incorporate them.

k-vette

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Re: Any advice for someone who looks much younger than they actually are??
« Reply #46 on: February 21, 2017, 02:34:37 PM »
Funny thread, only because I'm in the same boat.  GM of a company, owner of another.  Confidence certainly is key.  My simple response is a firm, "I get that often" with a SMILE.  :)  I let them know it's ok (without directly saying so) and I'm fine with being/looking young.  (I'm 28)  I quickly move on to the subject at hand and verify that I'm all business.

I never get the question in emails or on the phone, only the surprise in person meetings!  It's NEVER caused a business problem or issue in any way.  Don't let it be a thing.  Eventually you might miss it.

hope2retire

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Re: Any advice for someone who looks much younger than they actually are??
« Reply #47 on: February 21, 2017, 02:36:48 PM »
Get face tattoos and shave your head/eyebrows.

This will certainly get people to respect me in a business environment!

Not much, just a small tear drop under the eye tattoo...:)
« Last Edit: February 21, 2017, 02:39:03 PM by hope2retire »

BigHaus89

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Re: Any advice for someone who looks much younger than they actually are??
« Reply #48 on: February 22, 2017, 04:51:12 PM »
Lift weights and gain muscle mass. People seem to respect(intimidated?) people in good shape. A side benefit is an increase in confidence. 

I was the youngest person at my company for years. Fortunately, I can grow a mean beard and just did that(not to look older, just because I wanted to). Many of my friends have also had success with the beard disguise.

PaulMaxime

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Re: Any advice for someone who looks much younger than they actually are??
« Reply #49 on: February 22, 2017, 09:13:39 PM »
I grew a mustache when I was younger and shaved it off later. Made me look older when I was younger and younger when I was older.

Don't know if that is an option for you or not.

Also, eventually you will age and if you are lucky you will still look young. That's a good problem to have.