You know they are harmless, but they just pierce through you like knives in your stomach. Those age comments, somebody thinking about them and relating it to your work is something you thought never would happen to you. But how wrong were you on that front. Further, it does not end there, as it is a morale killer and a productivity killer. People feel inexperienced or with a lack of skill set at the helm of these comments. Who likes to be labeled and categorized into something they are not, anyway? Moreover, age has never been a measure for talent, however much people may say so.
Don’t you worry child! Here are some ways to counter the comments with all the eloquence
They Don’t Mean It
Not all of them, but most of them just may not mean it maliciously. Maybe it’s their way of relating to you. You could then give them the benefit of doubt that they were just being careless about it. Instead of getting annoyed you could just say a thank you or a ‘glad to know it’ and move on with the task at hand. They are usually one of those older lot of employees, who pick up the habit of commenting on people in a good-natured way.
Maneuver The Conversation
When comments on your age make an appearance, be a gymnast and trigger them off. Place the conversation back where it started from, thereby stubbing the whole idea of age and comments altogether. For example- somebody talks about a series which was launched when you were not born, track the conversation to a similar series which everyone can talk about. Something that irrelevant should not even be given a second thought before steering the conversation away.
Deflect It Funnily
The best comeback to that nasty comment is a sarcastic reply to the comment, or maybe a funny one which puts the audience into fits of laughter. Humour is the best counter-medicine to anything remotely offensive to you personality. So, if somebody comments with a hard-hitting- ‘You wouldn’t know it, you are so young” reply them with- “I’m not as young as I look, I just stay out of the sun” This sets the tone for a light-hearted conversation to follow, without rightly getting into a personal argument with anybody.
Do Not Take It Lying Low
If the offensive remarks just go on ceaselessly, then perhaps you have no option except to speak up about the whole scenario once and for all. For example- a meeting where your coworker mentioned your age under the context of how naïve you are, you could make it clear that the mentioning of the age took the client attention away from the presentation you were trying to give. This shows that you aren’t getting into the argument for personal reasons but for business purposes and because you care. This will not only prove the naïve comment wrong, but also the coworker would be careful the next time.