When I first told my friends and family that I was giving up my scholarship and dropping out of college, they looked at me like I had absolutely lost my mind. I didn’t exactly fit the profile of someone who might be your typical college dropout, if there even is one. I was getting good grades, I had made some really nice friends, I loved my school in NYC, and I like to think I had (and still have) a good head on my shoulders.
It was my dream job ever since my first architectural drawing class in the 8th grade and I never even considered doing anything else. Once I actually started my courses though, I got a big reality check.
I quickly learned that being an architect wasn’t only about being a creative artist who gets to decorate the world with my creations. It’s also obviously a lot about designing someone else’s dreams. It’s plenty of long nights and early mornings and getting underpaid to do more than I wanted for less than I was worth. For some people, it’s a rewarding and exciting career and they do really well, but for me it was quickly becoming something that I was no longer passionate about.
I then chose to pursue a degree in Accounting, as it was something that would give me useful skills that I could apply to any career I wanted, even if I never actually became an accountant. To no one’s surprise, it also wasn’t for me and after my second school year, with some encouragement from a friend, I moved on to the Entrepreneurship & Small Business Management program at my school.
I was with passionate, like-minded people who were creative and knew how to hustle but also made sure that they had fun while they did it. I learned that I never felt truly comfortable before because I hadn’t found something that I enjoyed doing. I missed Architecture, but now I had this newfound interest in small business, and I knew that I could blend the two and find myself happy with a career in real estate.
Once I told my friends and family that I was done with school and had decided to become a real estate agent, they all told me to finish school first so that I had a degree and something to fall back on. Their reasoning was simple: they said that no one would take me seriously because I was young and didn’t know what I was doing, and that no one was going to buy anything from me. I knew I would prove them wrong.
I knew that failure was something everyone experienced on the road to success, and you only truly fail when you decide to give up. If real estate didn’t work out how I’d hoped, I would move onto something else. But absolute failure? No way.
I felt like my friends and family simply didn’t understand, and that my reasons for leaving school were totally and completely valid. School was putting me into serious debt (over $20,000 which isn’t even a lot compared to some people), I was wasting over an hour getting there and back every day, and I didn’t need a degree for the career I wanted or for any entrepreneurial path I planned to take.
Through it all, I learned that people typically don’t take you serious for one (or all) of the following reasons:
Real estate is a tough business and I know they were just looking out for me, but it wasn’t the way I wanted them to. I’m okay with making mistakes and you should be too. Just learn to accept them, expect yourself to make them, and know when to admit you’ve done something wrong but that you will do everything in your power to correct it and make sure it doesn’t happen again. People will almost always forgive you and probably even respect you for it.
So what can we do when we secure a job we love but we’re stuck working with people that make us feel like we’re not being taken seriously?
In reality, I had few issues in getting people to take me seriously once I joined a real estate company and learned how the older, more experienced agents worked. I quickly picked up on how to dress, how to speak professionally and handle clients, and ended up finding an experienced agent to work with who would (and still does) show me the ropes.
I have received plenty of compliments from clients telling me that I was more professional and easier to work with than many other agents they have dealt with, and some agents have also told me that they even prefer to work with young agents. I don’t say any of this to brag by any means, I still have a ton of things to work on. I simply want you to understand that age doesn’t have to prevent you from pursuing your dreams.
It’s never going to be easy to get automatic respect in the workplace as a young, inexperienced individual. You will ALWAYS have to prove yourself to earn your stripes but if you just stick it out and follow these 5 pieces of advice, you’ll be well on your way to being taken seriously in no time.
Have you had a time where you weren’t taken seriously because of your age? How did you overcome it? Let me know in the comments below!
Originally published at mindsetstoassets.com