Are you too young to be a Director?

posted July 26, 2021 at 07:20 pm
by  Arielle V. Mariano
Is there an age requirement to assume a top position? Should not job and management skills be given greater importance?

I, along with other millennials, are experiencing ageism in the workplace. I work in a non-profit organization and am one of the company’s youngest members. When I got hired, I was offered an officer position. To say that other company members are surprised is an understatement, especially since the culture values seniority and age back then.

Imagine being a newly-hired millennial with a higher position and a more competitive salary grade than those who have stayed in the organization longer and older than you are. Imagine their hawk eyes whenever you are performing your tasks. It feels like you, a millennial with stage fright, are always doing a catwalk in front of a room full of judgmental people.

In the years that I have worked, I have encountered this situation several times. It can either make me lose my self-confidence or simply encourage me to show my capabilities and worth. And I chose the latter option. I was able to overcome that stage fright and worked hard to provide superior service.

During all these challenging times, I confided with my director. She engulfed me with her motherly presence and assured me that the burning passion that she saw in me gave justice to the position I was offered. She motivated and pushed me to go out of my box and continue improving myself. Little did I know, she is already training me to follow in her footsteps.

Since the pandemic hit the country, our organization is one of the companies that was affected. Thus, we are currently undergoing restructuring. By the end of May 2021, three directors were retired, including my director. Upon learning her status, my director has told me that she recommended me to replace her but did not know if the top management would approve it.

I was overwhelmed with the news and the recommended promotion. However, I started to feel uneasy when no one from the top management or HR contacted me since the release of the retirement news.

As May approached, I still have not received any news about job posts or promotions from within. While my colleagues were vying for me as the next director and friends supported me to keep a positive outlook about my career, some made me feel incompetent or questioned my worth.

I heard from a very close friend, CF, that my previous colleague and a mentor, CM, was asked by top management to replace my retiring director. CM told CF that management was looking elsewhere because of my age and lack of experience. CM further said to CF that the gesture would not get in our relationship if CM accepts the offer.

Before management’s call to CM, I met CM to confide in my current status in my organization and how I feel so low because I was not informed about the succession or plans regarding our unit. Learning these stories hit me hard, and I got so upset about the age discrimination. My self-esteem got trampled on, most especially from the person that I least expect it to be. I doubted my capabilities, my faith, and myself.

On my retiring director’s last day at work, she emailed all our network to bid farewell, and to my surprise, introduced me as the Officer-in-charge (OIC). She knew that I was getting demotivated due to top management and HR’s delay in deciding her successor. Hence, before she left the organization, she made a final push for me. A strong stance is that she believed that I am well-equipped to be her successor.

If that’s how my retiring director sees me, why should I doubt myself? Even people in the office are cheering me on after our Chief Operating Officer’s official announcement regarding my status; our network has welcomed me warmly as the OIC and expressed their continued support of our programs.

So, if these people see me as a gem, then I might really be a gem, right? It is not about your youthfulness. It is about your capabilities. It will come one at a time.

OIC first, then let’s fill the gap and push for that promotion!

One person’s derogatory remark does not define you. Your work, your connections, your principles, your vision does. So, carry on, millennial. As Dr. Seuss said, “you’re off to Great Places! Today is your day! Your mountain is waiting. So...get on your way!”

The author is an MBA student at the Ramon V. del Rosario College of Business, DLSU. She can be reached at  [email protected]

The views expressed above are the author’s and do not necessarily reflect the official position of DLSU, its faculty, and its administrators.    

Topics: age requirement , management skills , director
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