We’ve all been there. A coworker says “wait, you’re how old?!” in a meeting and then it feels like the only thing someone in the office thinks about when they look at you is... your age.
While there’s nothing wrong with being young and successful, a lot of times your age (and your looks) can determine how you’re seen by others at work more than your work itself.
Let’s have a chat about what I like to call PYGS (Pretty Young Girl Syndrome). It all comes down to yet another age-old stereotype: the pretty, young, ditz.
A lot of people see an attractive young woman and assume, intentionally or unintentionally, that being attractive is her most powerful tool. Little do they know, being attractive and being smart are not mutually exclusive characteristics.
It can be a difficult stereotype for women to overcome. How often does someone jump to the conclusion that a woman has either beauty or brains?
“Because society values women for their appearance, this carries over into the workplace. If we are not used to taking women seriously for their intelligence and hard work in general, then these traits may be overlooked by employers or coworkers,” says Dr. Jennifer Brandt, Director of Women and Gender Studies at High Point University.
“Or, women are prejudged based on stereotypes, and passed over for assignments and promotions because they are not seen as "mature" or "serious" enough for the task.”
It’s an issue that women in business, especially women with higher job titles, seem to face fairly often. Iman Oubou, crowned Miss New York in 2015, shared her take on the subject in an interview with Harper’s Bazaar she titled “I Was Told I Was Too Pretty to be a CEO.”
But, no matter what anyone thinks of you, or the way you look, the only opinion that really matters is what you think about yourself.
Reminder: You are a #girlboss - not because of the shoes you wear or how much makeup you have on, but because of your attitude and work ethic. Never forget it!
Let’s face it, we all know that plenty of us are doing far too much work for far too little money. There are a few common reasons this occurs:
Each of these factors play a role, but let’s focus on the second one: asking for a raise or promotion when you feel you deserve one. A lot of employees don’t ask for raises or promotions for the same reason that they don’t negotiate their initial salary offers - it can be awkward and intimidating.
According to Business Insider, women are 15% less likely to receive a promotion than their male counterparts. Let’s solve that with one simple tip from The Brand Girls Founder and CEO, Rachael Bozsik: THE BRAG SHEET.
Rachael suggests that you create your brag sheet in a Google doc. This allows you to have access to it anytime, anywhere, and you can take it with you even if you leave the company. At the top of your brag sheet, write your job description and a few goals that you and/or your supervisor have established for your position.
Pick the least hectic day out of your work week and set up a recurring appointment on your calendar - once a week for 10-15 minutes. Each week during that time, write down any big wins. Did your boss appreciate how quickly you responded to your CEO’s request? Did you hook a big new client for the company? Find a new method of doing something that saves the company time or money? Write it all down says Rachael.
FastWeb.com recommends using a brag sheet to help set yourself apart on college applications.
Pro tip: Back it up! If your boss sent you an email saying how impressed she was by how you handled a marketing disaster, screenshot it and include it in your brag sheet! When it’s time for your annual review or promotion discussion, you’ll be able to refer to specific times coworkers and supervisors complimented you throughout your tenure.
When it’s time to put yourself out there for a promotion or raise, don’t just look back at your brag sheet - use it! Take quotes and examples from throughout your role and use them in conversations with your manager. These will help show that not only do you want a promotion or raise, you deserve it.