When I started my first job, I was the youngest person in my organization. No, really.
Although I could legally drink (barely), every single one of my 300-or-so co-workers was older and more experienced than I was.
I felt like the low woman on the totem pole — and worse, I probably acted like it. (Exhibit A: My email signature was hot pink and in Lucida Calligraphy font.)
But looking back, I shouldn’t have let it affect me so much. Here’s what I know now: It doesn’t matter how much experience (or gray hair) you have compared to everyone else. You were hired to do a job and to work together with the people around you. So, the more you can position yourself as an equal, the more you’ll be treated like one.
While you shouldn’t go to the other end of the spectrum and act like you’re more important than the rest of your team, you should never feel afraid to present yourself confidently as a peer. (Oh, and this is true whether you’re in your first job or joining the ranks of upper management.)
How do you do that? Here are a few commonly used words and phrases you want to avoid, since they instantly make you sound more inexperienced — plus what to say instead to ensure you come across as the capable, competent professional you are.