Age, gender, ethnicity, sexuality and more – everyone talks about being anti-discriminatory and like to tick all the boxes, but it’s one thing saying you support equality, as opposed to actively supporting it.
In my personal experience, I’ve climbed the ladder, from starting out as a Freelance Web Designer and Photographer, to Junior Account Executive apprentice at a local marketing agency and currently, Office Manager at Creightive. I’ve learnt a hell of a lot and honed and developed my skills, and still am! However, at every step of the way, I’ve found that as I’m still young, at 24, people automatically put me in this box. Whether that’s in meetings, networking or even just talking to strangers – people see how young I am and assume that what I have to say doesn’t matter, or I don’t have the life experience to deal or even remotely understand what they are talking about.
Well, that’s a crock of shit.
It’s like the typical, ‘I’d like to speak to the manager’ move, where you are the fucking manager… Calm down Karen and let’s talk this through like adults.
Just because we are young, doesn’t mean we are totally incompetent. What you may get creatively from someone typically older, verses someone who is a lot younger, will be very different, obviously. We have our own ideas that are just as valid and should be considered so.
Just because you don’t have 15 years in the web design field for example, this doesn’t mean that your opinion is less valid if you were to have 1 or 2 years in comparison. In the same sense, just because you are a lot older than say a 20 something year old, this doesn’t mean you’re your marketing ideas are outdated or should be pushed aside either. The industry is ever changing, ever evolving and our mindsets need to develop alongside this with new, constructive and exciting ideas – no matter your age.
This industry is a creative and diverse one – but more often than not, you are expected to have all this experience under your belt before you even start… No matter if you’re fresh out of uni, or trying to get into the industry after working in jobs to get you by… I’m not saying this is every agency or business in the world, obviously there are exceptions, but for the most part young people are expected to pull this out of their ass like some sort of fucking magician.
It’s an unrealistic expectation to hold in terms of employment. Whilst it’s nice to see professional experience, this doesn’t always mean that the person is right for the job. This person may have discovered they are good at branding in their free time, or they’ve learnt coding in their spare time. As well as that, you need to consider, would their personality fit well in the team? Do they personally also live by some of the ethos and values that are important to your business? Are they willing to learn and develop? All these factors are still significant.
I guess what I am trying to say is, there is a clear difference between saying you support equality (in this instance, age), verses actively supporting and encouraging it. Are you announcing it just to check some boxes, or are you giving people a shot or your time even, no matter their differences? It’s time to rethink.