Here I am at my second “real” job, where I am still the youngest employee. If you are an intern or at an entry-level position you will likely face the same dilemma. This is both a disadvantage and an opportunity. Like all situations, it is what you make of it.
The disadvantages you will likely have to overcome will come with your lack of experience in the technical areas as well as the workplace etiquette.
It might get weird..
It helps to take note and observe how your co-workers interact with others, what the dress code is, and who has certain expertise. Learning if your environment is laid back or more professional can prevent embarrassing comments. Know when and where it is appropriate to joke. Dress codes vary so greatly it’s a good idea to play it safe and conservative for a bit. I’d rather be overdressed than underdressed.
You won’t click with everyone and it will likely be harder to make friends. How much in common can you have with them when the closest age gap to you is ten years? Try to test the waters with everyone and find common interests. If there are any employees who started as an intern they will have great tips for you.
On the other hand, you have skills and talents that older generations do not. You may catch on to the technology quicker than others. Growing up with new gadgets can ease that learning curve. You may even be able to help someone who is slower or just isn’t getting it. (Warning: Everyone will automatically think you know how to fix anything electronic because you are younger than them!) Millennials are known for their creativity and passion. While your passion may not be your day-to-day work, try to bring that to your workplace. Your motivation and energy will certainly stand out and impress your boss.
One of the best advantages is that individuals who have a great deal of experience in their field will likely be surrounding you. If they are willing to act as a mentor or share their knowledge, take advantage of it! Use the resources that are around you.
What challenges have you faced on the job being the youngest employee? Share in the comments!