DEAR HARRIETTE: I started a new job after graduating from college. I work alongside four other women. Everyone on my team knows that I just graduated from college and this is a new position for me. For the first few weeks, my boss had a habit of taking time to tell the clients and other colleagues that I am young, and she refers to me as “the baby.” It bothers me, so I tried to ignore her and represent myself as the young adult I am. But occasionally she will still call me a baby and pat me on the back.
I want to be taken seriously in my career and start it off without everyone judging me on my age rather than on my skill set. Would you suggest sitting down with my boss and telling her how I feel about being called “the baby”? -- Not a Baby, San Mateo, California
DEAR NOT A BABY: The next time that you and your boss have a one-on-one conversation, tell her how much you like your job and what you are learning. Point out positives about your experience, including how you are transitioning from school to the workplace. Thank her for her support. Then tell her you would like to make a request of her -- this should get her full attention. Tell her that it makes you uncomfortable when she calls you the baby. Make it clear that you are a professional and you want to be taken seriously in this job. Ask her to stop referring to you in that manner as it doesn’t help you to stand fully in your role in the company. Chances are she has been thinking that her nickname for you is a term of endearment. Your clarification may help her to see that you don’t share her view.