5 Ways to Avoid Being Given the Baby Treatment at Work

In today’s global economy, one way students are gaining a competitive advantage is beginning to work at an earlier age. Instead of just spending time studying, participating in school events or playing games, teenagers are also getting jobs, whether they’re in retail, manufacturing or administration. This is a positive step for a generation that has been deemed lazy and ineffective.

Although this initiative can be described as virtuous, the office staff may apply the baby treatment. This is where older colleagues will look down at the newest and youngest staff member and treat them as if they were infants and unable to complete the most rudimentary office tasks.

Of course, this type of shabby treatment isn’t just consigned to teens but millennials, too. Older workers may feel intimidated by the new blood or perhaps have preconceived notions that the youthful employee will just be late for work, shift some of the workload to somebody else and quit before completing their three-month probation.

This can be disruptive to the work environment and to the company itself. Feeling inferior and ostracized can hurt a young person’s desire to work, finish the duties the job entails or communicating with other team members. Instead of talking to management about this uncouth behavior, you should tackle this issue head on by incorporating some of these tips to end this baby treatment immediately.

Here are five ways to avoid being given or ending the baby treatment at your place of work:

#1 Appearance

If you work at a fast-food restaurant then it’s likely that you’ll be sporting a uniform. However, if you’re employed at an office or a retail establishment then your appearance will be important upon first impressions. Rather than wearing the latest fashion trends that your peers find cool at school, such as mini-skirts, flip flops and ripped jeans, decide to dress professionally. If you’re a man, wear a suit or business casual; if you’re a woman, wear a conservative outfit. There’s no need to wear 12 accessory pieces or a ballroom gown. Simple is best.

#2 Behavior

Millennials and today’s teenagers have been labeled as a generation that refuses to perform work duties that are beneath them, such as scrubbing a toilet, filing away documents or making coffee for others. Whether or not this is true, you should not confirm their unfounded suspicions. Instead, be professional in your mannerisms, do any and all work ask of you, refrain from saying “like” and “you know” all the time and be polite to your superiors at all times.

#3 Interest

When you’re young and you work somewhere you’re trying to learn as much as possible. However, don’t consider your colleagues as just inanimate objects; get to know these people as exactly that: people. Learn about their interests and hobbies outside of work, how long they’ve been working at the company and what are their future goals. Once your detractors understand that you’re not like others before you, they’ll welcome you with open arms.

#4 Air Your Concerns

Don’t tattle to your supervisor or boss as this will just reaffirm that you’re simply a child. Here is how you can go about your discomfort: speak with some of your colleagues, explain that you feel as if you’re being treated like a toddler and note how you want to be treated like everyone else since you’re here to learn and do the job at hand.

#5 Respect

If all else has failed and your older colleagues are babying you, still make the difficult decision to treat them with respect. Be cordial, polite and kind even if they’re not. It’s possible that they’ll find the errors in their own mannerisms and think twice before disrespecting you by identifying you as just another adolescent.

It is rather common to work at an office where the older generation feels threatened by their younger counterparts. Today’s economy and labor market are tough and the competition is at its highest in decades. In other words, everyone is trying to stay afloat and will react if they believe their job is being threatened. Be sympathetic and understanding and your baby treatment will soon vanish.

Have you ever been given the baby treatment at work? Let us know in the comment section.


Photo by Pedro Ribeiro Simoes via Flickr.