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“Why don’t they respect me?”

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When people don’t respect you, you start to pick up on subtle little signs.

Years ago, in my early 20s, I noticed a few of them.

  1. People would say, “What makes YOU think you can teach people how to be rich? Are you rich?”
  2. When I would be out with my friends and we’d talk to girls, we’d say, “Hi, my name is R—” (they would turn around and walk away).

Think about how big of a blow that can be to someone. For most guys, being successful with their careers and sexuality is central to their identity.

And what about when it happens to women?

Every woman can share a story about being at work, making an insightful point, and having a manager say, “That’s a nice idea” and move on to the next person…who repeats the same thing and gets all the credit!

Is it that you’re young? Is it that you’re a woman? What can you do about it?

I thought about this when I got a question from one of my readers, Lori:

“I’m a 26 year old who looks 20 in scrubs and work with surgeons and doctors all day. In the hospital ladder I have more authority over nurses working there for 30 years. How can I get them to respect me and stop telling me how to do my job or questioning my decisions?”
–Lori

Maybe you look young. Maybe you ARE young. Maybe you’re a young woman in a male-dominated industry.

If you can’t get the respect of the people around you — if they just think of you as a hot girl, or a little “rough around the edges” — it can be impossible to change their impression of you.

Along the way, we’ve all encountered this.

So how did you beat it?

How have you gained the respect of the people around you? It can be your coworkers…or your parents…or even your friends.

Share your story below.

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129 Comments on "“Why don’t they respect me?”"

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[…] Be the Expert: “Why don’t they respect me?” is a post from: I Will Teach You To Be Rich. […]

Carl
Carl
2 years 8 months ago

I’ve come across one way to get senior people to listen.. You’ll need to be comfortable using the jargon of that group of people. My own background is in analytics so I’ll have to use terms such as variables instead of numbers, database instead of list and so on. Once they hear you speaking in terms and phrases expected from someone in your role, they’ll relax, get past judging if you know what you’re talking about, and start to listen. Silly but that’s been my experience.

Gabor
Gabor
2 years 8 months ago
Interestingly, I am arrogant. I am not a British person living in the UK, and people around me do not tell the world if they’ve done something awesome. But here’s the thing, I also make stuff happen. I tell people I will do some huge X, and then I actually do X. I do that consistently. I was promoted from new hire to senior developer in 8 months (small company though). Whatever my boss threw at me, I did it. I have actual knowledge, and I never wing it. If I don’t know something, I admit it, and whenever I… Read more »
Square
Square
2 years 8 months ago

This sounds like it, but it is not always easy to do anything the boss tells you if your conviction tells you otherwise.

Abhay Rautela
2 years 8 months ago

Know your shit. Period. Better than those who’re above you know it. And you’ll get away with being cocky or whatever you please. Perform. Fuck the rest. And pay respect where it’s due. Don’t where it’s not. It’s worked always for me and I see no reason why it should not for you.

Ryan Stephens
2 years 8 months ago
I think you’re oversimplifying a relatively complicated phenomenon. I think Jarrod, a couple of responses down, makes some great points. Just because you have more specialized knowledge and leading an effort and/or team (think project manager) doesn’t necessarily mean you understand how to code, design, etc. Being competent and knowing your stuff front and back certainly helps, but I’ve seen senior level employees peg the guy/girl a know-it-all and still refuse to listen to them. In this case, the whole team suffers and guess who’s to blame? The leader. Not only do you have to be confident and competent, but… Read more »
Aaron
Aaron
2 years 8 months ago

Love this response, agree wholeheartedly.

Tek
Tek
2 years 8 months ago
A woman, working in IT, in a department that is 95% men. I do two things. 1. Like many of the comments before- be competent, and then do better. Study, learn, anticipate needs and do your work the best you can. 2. Let others praise you. No one likes hearing a braggart, so don’t try to get praise from bragging. Reciprocate by praising others. When someone brings me an idea or I see something they did, I make sure to let them know that I like it and give credit when I apply an idea. For those in a group… Read more »
Jordan Schroeder
Jordan Schroeder
2 years 8 months ago
Confidence, quiet calm, steadfastness, and care about what they care about. I have worked with numerous genius-level software developers for years, and I barely write code at all. I gain their respect (which is stingy, at best) by not competing with them but caring for them, weathering the storms with them, and showing up to the work at hand, even if I can’t understand what ideas they are wrestling with. In every instance over the years, they end up consulting with me, explaining the problems they are having, and asking for my perspective, even though they know I’m not an… Read more »
Jarrod
Jarrod
2 years 8 months ago
They probably don’t respect Lori because she doesn’t deserve their respect. You see this in every system that features two or more classes where one is nominally senior but for all practical purposes inexperienced and the other is nominally subordinate but made up of people who have been around for decades. I had a similar experience in the military, where they plunked me – a 24-year-old college graduate – senior to guys who knew their jobs inside and out. There are good reasons for doing things this way sometimes, and you have to walk a fine line where you make… Read more »
Talia
Talia
2 years 8 months ago
It’s possible that Lori doesn’t deserve their respect, but a LOT of women that DO deserve respect in the workforce don’t get it just because they are female – especially if they look or sound young. (And it’s not just men who show disrespect. Often women are the worst sexists toward their own gender.) Women with the same or better skills than men doing the same job still consistently get paid less and systematically get passed over for promotions. It’s a widespread problem with lots of data to back it up. It’s something that needs to be acknowledged and addressed… Read more »
Jarrod
Jarrod
2 years 8 months ago
What I said is true for both men and women. New and unproven people are not worthy of any special respect from anyone in their new workplace. You have to earn it. I’m not going to deny there are sexism issues out there, but I don’t think that’s the major factor here. I think it has far more to do with her inexperience and her position as a nominal superior. Obviously I don’t know the details, but from what little she revealed it seems to me like she’s quite new at her job and perhaps feels like her training should… Read more »
M
M
2 years 8 months ago
” I’m not going to deny there are sexism issues out there, but I don’t think that’s the major factor here. I think it has far more to do with her inexperience and her position as a nominal superior” @Jarrod – You’re conflating two things – Lori’s youth/inexperience, and her femaleness. What you don’t seem to be adding into your analysis is the fact that women far more senior than someone in Lori’s position face this same problem. Executive VPs and up who are women can tell very similar stories about having other people – other men – take credit… Read more »
Jarrod
Jarrod
2 years 8 months ago
M- I inferred from her letter that she is relatively new – perhaps brand new – to her field yet placed in a position of authority over people with extensive experience in it. If this is is the case then I have experience that directly reflects that situation. While the gender of the newbie can certainly have second-order effects it’s not the driver of the respect level from those subordinates. That may change as she closes that experience gap, but I doubt that is what’s going on here. I repeat – if you are brand new to a field with… Read more »
Stacey
Stacey
2 years 8 months ago
“While the gender of the newbie can certainly have second-order effects it’s not the driver of the respect level from those subordinates.” Jarrod – To acknowledge that gender can have any affect at all and only a few characters later propose that it may not be the full driver is your opinion and IMHO, a bit naive. Maybe in the military it is not the “driver of respect from subordinates,” because I’m certain that in the military respect is earned not given out, but it’s naive to think that women at all levels don’t have to prove themselves in a… Read more »
Jarrod
Jarrod
2 years 8 months ago
Stacey- First let me be clear that I’m only talking about earning respect above that baseline you mentioned. I just don’t think that’s what Lori’s complaint is about. With so little information, it’s hard to draw real conclusions. But here’s how I saw her situation. She seems like a new doctor fresh out of medical school and is having trouble understanding her real place in the structure of wherever she is interning at. She is being asked to put her name on decisions – or at least act like she is making them – while under guidance from experienced doctors… Read more »
Mark
2 years 8 months ago

I like to observer what gets respected int he circle and if I want to dominate that circle, I work hard to build and refine those attributes if I can. Listening to people who have succeeded in similar situation will help.

Most importantly, if it about getting respect, give respect first. Respect is a two way street and you cannot expect respect if you don’t give any.

Noah Gibbs
2 years 8 months ago
Surprise people. Throw them off. I learned this trick by accident from a mathematician named Philip I used to live next to, who looked like a 1920s cartoon African tribesman (giant spiky hair, wild clothes, wide eyes), but spoke quickly, competently and about math with a British accent. Look a little funny. Talk a little funny. Cultivate it, if necessary. Have clearly contradictory attributes (e.g. high-pitched voice with a large body, or loud deep voice with a smaller body.) If they already have to stop, blink and think, “wait, what?” when they talk to you, they’re willing to do the… Read more »
Sarah
2 years 8 months ago

Not that it’s fair, but unless we women learn to communicate with power, we often are unconsciously dismissed despite our expertise. Two helpful books are: How to Say it for Women (Mindell) and Giving Away Our Success (Schenkel). Like others have commented: communication and expert execution are key! Go Lori!

Ryan Stephens
2 years 8 months ago
@Sarah – I’d like to hear more about this: “unless women learn to communicate with power.” What’s that look like? What’s that sound like? Most of the research I’ve read indicates that most co-workers (of both genders) do not want a woman who communicates like an alpha male. In what ways, based on your own research or the books you’ve recommended, can women communicate powerfully without communicating like men and/or alienating their colleagues? I’ll conclude with the fact that I’m empathetic to the plight of women in the workforce, but let’s assume things aren’t fair and that it’s taking us… Read more »
Heather
Heather
2 years 8 months ago
I used to have these sorts of experiences but then I realized that it could be as much about me looking for the lack of respect as it was about an actual lack of respect. As I became more confident about my skills, credentials and knowledge, the lack of respect seemed to fall away. Whether this was due to my own commanding of respect or due to people’s increased respect for me, I don’t know but it doesn’t really matter. At the end of the day, I know I’m qualified to do my job and that I do it well.… Read more »
karen
2 years 8 months ago

If you respect others and are quietly confident, they will respect you in return.

I work with a lot of twenty-somethings (I’m a baby boomer) and I ask their advice about things I’m not familiar with and then thank them.

Karen

Allen
2 years 8 months ago

Don’t put yourself in a position where your own success is dependent on the opinions of other people, particularly a small group of other people.

Rozi
Rozi
8 months 26 days ago

amen to that. well put.

Carolina
2 years 8 months ago
First, we must understand that respect is earned. I’m talking about the “admiration” respect. Not the basic respect that every human being deserves just for being human. I (a naturalized citizen, young, hispanic, woman, and mechanical engineer) worked for many years at a Japanese-owned organization, started as a technical trainer (teaching construction workers how to install the product my company manufactured) and 5 years later ended up heading the Technical Division over all men who were all older than me. I started at the bottom at this company and quickly earned my stripes by being THE BEST and by knowin… Read more »
LR
LR
2 years 8 months ago
For women, commanding respect is a different path than it is for men. You have to co-opt certain male behaviors: speak directly, don’t rush when you’re speaking in a group, assume that when you feel you’re right, you actually may be right (versus waiting for someone to validate whether or not you are). But I think women also tread a different path, in that there are a lot of behaviors that people DON’T tolerate in female leaders. Women are always supposed to be nice–but never be so nice that it gets in the way of accomplishing things. Or people will… Read more »
Lynn Silva
2 years 8 months ago
Recently, I went through this. There was a colleague that referred to me as “blue eyes.” It was acceptable at first, until he began using it out of context. He began flippantly referring to ‘Blue Eyes’ during Q & A meetings. What I came to realize is that he was very uncomfortable in this environment and was simply trying to take the focus off of him. One day, I went into his office before the meeting and said, “Okay, so I noticed that when we start evaluating your cases, you divert the focus and make reference to my ‘blue eyes.’… Read more »
Anca
Anca
2 years 8 months ago

Great insight. Taking someone’s behavior at face-value sets you up for a string of defensive excuses and no solutions. The person has hopes, dreams, and fears, also. Especially fears. It’s easier to play the victim and accept you have so-called enemies, but it’s better to strategically let your guard down and try to turn them into an ally by digging deeper.

Kate
Kate
2 years 8 months ago

My friend, like me, a woman in engineering, dyed her hair from blonde to brown to get more respect from male engineers at work. She said she’s noticed a difference in the respect she is given.

Jen
2 years 8 months ago

Wearing glasses helps too.

elisa
elisa
2 years 8 months ago
I used to work for an executive producer who was a complete misogynist. I always felt horrible after our production meetings. Even if I had worked tirelessly on a segment, he would only listen to input if it was from a male producer. After five years there I was burnt out, miserable and full of resentment. I thought it was just the nature of the industry, and I finally quit. My job now has made me realize that sometimes it’s not about earning respect, it’s about finding an environment that fosters it. Yes, you can survive in a toxic workplace… Read more »
Hannah Ransom
2 years 8 months ago

Respect yourself. If you (even subconsciously) aren’t sure you deserve respect from others you will project your fears onto them and they won’t give you any respect.

Laurel Chavis
2 years 8 months ago

I was in a male dominated business for 23 years, the automotive industry. My voice was soft, and I being on the shortish side they would try to walk all over me. I simply became More! More of everything! More knowledgeable of the products, more vocal, and I speak up instead of holding back and that eye to eye contact is a must. I make sure my presence is known when I enter a room. Lastly, I no longer put up with interruptions or rudeness.

Philippa
Philippa
2 years 8 months ago
I’d say the problem is that people assume that their qualifications or position is enough to get them respect and this is false. You earn respect, and this takes time and skill. If you make mistakes, which is natural when starting off in any career, and in fact at any point in your career, the respect will take even more time to come. When I work with people higher up in the food chain but younger than me I really, really hate that they assume they know more than me by virtue of their position. In my business (film and… Read more »
Indra Chakraborty
Indra Chakraborty
2 years 8 months ago
My first job (also current) out of college three years ago was with one of the largest defense contractors in the world and I started off as an integration engineer. 80% or more of the workforce had a prior army/navy/marine background, in most cases for over 20 years. So, what I was facing was quite challenging: I had nothing in common, did not speak the same language and was years younger, in some cases, same age as their kids. I started off by being very humble, and would often listen to these guys for hours. I asked tons and tons… Read more »
Luis hernandez
Luis hernandez
2 years 8 months ago
Hey ramit, Interesting question; that just so happens to be the story of my life. Im a 26 yo mechanical engineer but look 20. My job requires me to make technical decisions that can have serious consequences and it is common for my coworkers to have a startled look on their faces cuz i look so young and young people dont know anything right??? Once i explain the technical aspects that backup my decision it is ok Bottom line is i have to trust my knowledge and prove i know what i am doing. After a few well made decisions… Read more »
Jen
2 years 8 months ago
I started my computer career in the late 70s in a mainframe shop where the systems programmers were mostly older guys. To be fair, I got more “you’re an operator, what makes you think you can write code?” than “you’re a girl…”. And some of the guys – the ones who liked writing code and figuring stuff out – just treated me like a fellow nerd, which was cool. But for the rest: do you think I got respect by giving as good as I got with cussing, sexism etc? Or learning to code circles around the old guys? Nope.… Read more »
Jen
2 years 8 months ago

Oh, and Sun Tzu says “never underestimate your enemy.” So I don’t mind being underestimated 🙂

Tim Louden
2 years 8 months ago
I have found the slow but effective way to gain respect is to tell people what you’re going to do, then do it, and make your follow through visible without shoving it in somebodies face. I started consulting on technology at 15 years of age, and most people didn’t have any respect. To overcome this, I would tell them what I could do to make their life better (eg. network your printers so that you don’t have to turn that computer on just to print) then do it perfectly and ask them if they liked the solution. Some of my… Read more »
Vivian
Vivian
2 years 8 months ago
I had this problem a couple years ago too. I’m a female civil engineer in a very male dominated field. By experimenting and observing my co-workers I was able to gleam that in order to get respect, you gotta look and act right. So that means, I had to dress the part from head to toe, which included the clothes and shoes you wear and I had to walk around with confidence. When spoken to, I had to speak confidently. It’s all about how you say it. Of course knowing what you are talking about is important but if you… Read more »
Vivian
Vivian
2 years 8 months ago

One more thing – looking people in the eye! I’ve noticed that that makes people respect you more!

Richard Blackford, Ph.D.
Richard Blackford, Ph.D.
2 years 8 months ago

I chose to care less about what others thought about me (especially negative) and to behave “as if” they believed/respected me.
It has worked wonders.
RB

Frank
Frank
2 years 8 months ago
I’m a pretty analytical, but also friendly, guy. One thing that was big for me was not saying whatever was on my mind. I had to learn to stop, think about whether something was relevant (though it seemed relevant to me), and then decide whether or not to share it. People perceived me as flaky and kind of spacey; when I started doing this (as well as narrowing the kinds of people I shared with), I started getting a lot more responsiveness. The other big thing was to be less helpful: instead of helping others to do their job, which… Read more »
andrea
andrea
2 years 8 months ago

Very good advice. I still need to work on this one!

Aditi
2 years 8 months ago
For me, being comfortable in my own skin has made a huge difference. Knowing your stuff is one thing, but saying the stuff you know WITH confidence is a whole nother ball game. Even in my business, the more firm I am in the way I talk vs. being hesitant, I make clear expectations upfront and I share what will come out of the session. Also at my day job, speaking up makes a difference. If you tend to shy away with what you have to share then you are never gonna be looked at as someone to respect. In… Read more »
Francine Vallone
2 years 8 months ago
In my early 20s I found that people talked down to me because I looked to girly. So I dressed dark. That helped. In my 30s I worked in a male dominated field and found that being ultra feminine was the key. In my 40s I worked for people that treated my generation like dirt. Fighting back with unwavering eye contact and really knowing what I was talking about kept it polite. The truth is there will always be people that do or say or treat others that way. Knowing your job better than others, isn’t the total answer, neither… Read more »
Amber
Amber
2 years 8 months ago
I’ve been in software engineering for 10 years. It’s a lot of dudes. Honestly, every once in a while, I just shiv someone (metaphorically, of course) when there are a lot of witnesses. Not often enough that I get the dreaded “bitch” label, but enough to make people think twice about pushing me around. Usually it’s in a situation where a person is making a bad decision and I draw attention to it and make the situation uncomfortable for everyone. Most of the time, I’m super nice. But then there’s the one-off occasion where I very publicly shame a director… Read more »
Corinne
Corinne
2 years 8 months ago

I am short and have a high “girly” voice. I have absolutely experienced sexism and racism in the workplace and in life. In addition to my outside body, I also happen to have years of experience in leadership, administration and a strong academic background. I have earned the respect of my colleagues and peers through collaborative listening, offering them respect and by huge amounts of elbow grease. There is no better way to show someone you can accomplish something than by rolling up your sleeves and doing it – from start to finish.

Gevinn Banks
Gevinn Banks
2 years 8 months ago

Despite our respectable accomplishments–academically, socially and professionally–our reputations usually determine the amount of respect we receive from our peers, elders and children.

Jane
Jane
2 years 8 months ago
The biggest thing I notice about people who are respected is that: 1) they come in with an attitude that shows they’re here to learn from the more senior people AND from people on their level, and 2) follow up on that learning, keep the their mentors in the loop, and then dominate in what they set out to do. On top of that, the people that are respected are kind and courteous to everyone. They don’t suck up (which makes you a target for being disrespected, anyway), but they always say “hello” when they come in every morning, congratulate… Read more »
Kyle
2 years 8 months ago
I am a young entrepreneur; the feeling of being young and disrespected has been something I’ve dealt with for many years (29 now and started first door-to-door business at 13). Here is a few ideas of where to start: -> own your part in it -> your outer world is a reflection of your inner world -> don’t take it personally – it’s not you, it’s peoples conditioning -> know your truth (what is your higher purpose?) -> be you, don’t put on a show… we’re intuitive beings… we can ‘see’ through that -> meditate (5 mins/day at work… sit… Read more »
Kyle
2 years 8 months ago

Forgot a biggie:

-> Be your word… nothing brings the tides of respect in and out like being and not being your word.

Patience
Patience
1 year 16 minutes ago

Thank you, Kyle! I wholeheartedly agree with you. I really needed to read this perspective this morning!

Nikki B
Nikki B
2 years 8 months ago

I often felt like it was a rights of passage when I first entered my profession but things got better over time. The way that I overcame this was to believe in myself more and become involved in other committees and activities that allowed me to take on other leadership roles. Once others see that you do great work your reputation will follow you regardless of how young you look or are. Many of us younger people can also use technology better than our more seasoned counterparts… Don’t forget to use it to your advantage.

Jesus Garcia-Parrado
Jesus Garcia-Parrado
2 years 8 months ago
This is difficult to answer, but from my point of view there are two key things: # narrative coherence. First of all, there is a narrative behind your arguments, take your time to communicate the story behind your arguments, specially if you want to change beliefs, or already done decisions. # results. The more referrals you can get for your arguments the better, in case it doesn’t exist, try building a test that bulletproof your arguments. I recommend you to watch this movie: 12 Angry Men (1957) http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0050083/ there are several versions pick up the one you prefer and watch… Read more »
mac
mac
2 years 8 months ago

Above all do your best work and let that be the barometer. Sometimes others may have another method that works just as well so allow them the opportunity to explain within reason, If someone doesn’t respect you let that be their problem, not yours.

John Corcoran
2 years 8 months ago
In the business world, I’ve found that true respect comes from when you demonstrate you are competent and helpful to others, which comes with time. So you have to have the confidence in your own skills and abilities, and know that it will take awhile for others to learn about you and to learn what you are capable of. Also, introductions always help. If someone I know and trust vouches for someone I’ve never met, then I am going to trust that new person far quicker. Similarly, if I am trying to gain someone’s respect, I will try to find… Read more »
Omari
Omari
2 years 8 months ago
Generally, respectful behavior is a factor of consequence: the penalty for not respecting versus the reward for extending respect. So, create incentives; be less available and much less talkative. If you are senior in rank but junior in experience, be humble and respectful of the more experienced, but pull rank at the slightest indication of disrespect. Never, however, overreact or show lack of control. Often, an apparent lack of respect is a sign of envy. Cultivate enemies as well as friends. Let your adversary stew in his resentment. Become better. When the situation presents itself and he is forced to… Read more »
Ilan
Ilan
2 years 8 months ago
I noticed a huge difference when I changed the way I dressed. I’m sure it was in large due to how I thought of myself and presented. I work in informal education so it’s totally fine to wear a T-shirt to work–when I started wearing button down shirts and sometimes a tie people seemed to speak to me completely differently. Context is huge as well, there are universal things that we all respect: how you carry yourself, how you present, how you speak, maybe your resume but context is also important. If you understand what your specific community/industry/group of friends/audience… Read more »
James A
James A
2 years 8 months ago

1. Never be self deprecating. If you speak poorly about yourself why would others speak highly?

2. Your coworkers (and children) are not your friends. It takes a different type of relationship for people to respect you at work. They won’t be as impressed as your buddies when you tell them how you drank 37 beers on Tuesday night.

3. Be confident in your statements. Nobody is right all the time, but you certainly can sound like you are, and correct things later as needed.

4. I’m horrible at the first 3! But getting better every day.

Erin
Erin
2 years 8 months ago
To repeat someone earlier, by knowing my shit and not tolerating bad behavior. I’m attractive and I do look young, I think lack of respect culminates in men first listening to what I have to say in regards to business based on the attractiveness factor, unfortunately. What I’ve done is by playing up those details so that people pay attention, and then once I have their attention I do what I do, well. The respect will come later, and that’s OK. I think in situations with women it’s about owning those aspects of yourself, mastering soft skills, and people will… Read more »
Dave
2 years 8 months ago
Easy… Demonstrate Value. I’m going through a form of this problem as we speak. I’m starting to freelance as a digital marketing consultant, and although I know what I’m talking about, I don’t have much experience. So what I do when I identify a good prospect is create some very personalized media that demonstrates exactly what their problems are and exactly how I can fix them. It’s basically doing a free consultation without having to ask them to schedule one. And it’s kinda like Ramit’s thing about “my free stuff is better than most guys’ paid stuff”. I give a… Read more »
Cat Aboudara
Cat Aboudara
2 years 8 months ago
My first job was working in a prison with violent offenders. I was a soft spoken white girl and not at all tough. What I learned there has helped me so many times over. Be yourself, be friendly and casual, give credit more than you take it, listen, and be of service and give thanks. Also be brutally honest with why you are there and what you are trying to do. Many of the other women who were free staff put on a tough act and were taken down and messed with on a regular basis. On the other hand… Read more »
Hai
Hai
2 years 8 months ago
Today most people simply just talk. They keep on doing it to set themselves up to have ridiculously high expectations placed upon themselves. They do not typically live up to it either. What I recently understood was that expectations needs to be set at a place where it needs to be (average) and deliver excellent results. The old saying holds true: “it’s easy to talk the talk, but you also need to walk the talk” and that’s difficult for most people. Set up the foundation. Make sure you can do the work with excellent results and people will want to… Read more »
Laura
2 years 8 months ago

Reading between the lines, it sounds like Lori is a new resident dealing with experienced nurses – if she was a med student she wouldn’t be above nurses in the hierarchy.

Generally, you will have to be calm and confident to earn the respect of the nursing staff. I’d also recommend you get scrubs that fit you well (are not too big) and make sure you are doing what you can with hair/makeup to look your age.

Les Proctor
2 years 8 months ago
The first step is to disregard what others think, but at the same time work to establish common ground. What’s important is what you think of yourself. What value do you assign to yourself… to your time? Be confident,. Keep learning. Keep working. Keep putting out good stuff no-one can ignore you. They don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care. But even then respect isn’t given. It’s earned, and once you’ve got it, you’ve got to keep earning it. It’s not a title that’s bestowed on you. People will always respect someone who sticks… Read more »
Aidan
Aidan
2 years 8 months ago
I am 22 year old male but look 12 so this is a problem I’ve had forever. The things I’ve found to be effective so far are: 1. Dress sense. I’ll try to dress slightly more formally than everyone else at the event that I am attending such as wearing a blazer over a t shirt or a button down shirt. 2. Body language. Sitting/Standing up straight without my arms covering my body with a drink or crossing them. Learning to make eye contact is really important as well. 3. Speaking SLOWLY. I speak way too quickly by default and… Read more »
A.
A.
2 years 8 months ago
Aidan, you nailed it! I look 10 years younger and the respect used to be a problem, so I did exactly what you do… and a couple of other things… 1. Dress – I dress better than 99% of the women I encounter in work situations. Younger girls have a tendency (and I used to do the same, so I’m not pointing fingers, it’s all about what works and what doesn’t) to dress too casually, or as if they’re going out to a drink after work with friends. That’s fine if you want to be average, but if you want… Read more »
Jeremy
Jeremy
2 years 8 months ago

1 – Be prepared to not be respected. In the beginning, regardless of age, sex, experience, etc., it’s about earning it.
2 – Ignore the reason you think you’re being disrespected and focus on the job.
3 – Be respectful regardless of how you feel you’re being treated.
4 – Get your own work done on time and above expectations.
5 – Give it some time.

In the end, if your work and opinion are worth being respected, they will be.

Amy
2 years 8 months ago
When I was 3, I had a terrible asthma attack and nearly died; spent days in the hospital. After that, for 10+ years, I was on 3x daily steroid treatments to keep me alive. That made me chubby. I had an awful time in school; kids picked on me constantly, called me awful names, excluded me, ganged up… and I was sure it was because I was fat, because that’s what they all said. I couldn’t take it any more, so at the end of 8th grade, I lost 30 lbs and turned into a trim size 8. I was… Read more »
Kevin
Kevin
2 years 8 months ago
I had a young subcontractor who started acting disrespectfully to me. He seemed to think because his older sister and brother in law were friends of mine, and he was almost my age himself that he could act like he was hanging out instead of at work. So in private I gently said to him, “just remember, I AM the boss here.” But it got worse. He got mouthy and even refused to do something the way I directed him to. So I kicked him off the site. I stayed calm, but I very clearly told him to leave. Now.… Read more »
Adrian
Adrian
2 years 8 months ago

Respect isn’t given out freely, it is earned.
For me I do the things I need to do in order to achieve my goals. Some people may notice it and some might not. As painful as it is, I choose to focus on the people that I have earned their respect, because it’s a complete waste of time to focus on the people who don’t notice your progress, and the results of your progress.
Anyway, that’s how deal with it. I’m sure others have other opinions they’re going to share.

Rene Geneva
2 years 8 months ago
Respect is deeply personal and based off of one’s internal value system combined with personal interpretation within a set social environment. The way to be treated with respect by a particular person is to demonstrate and/or communicate the way in which you need to be treated in order to feel respected. I find in the modern and fast world, quip and offense is celebrated and passed on to create a sense of community within an environment where more personal understandings of each other’s interests, hobbies, and values may not be appropriate to share with one another or discuss amongst a… Read more »
lindsey @ NW Backyard Veggies
2 years 8 months ago
In my other life (outside of urban homesteading and writing) I am a Marriage and Family Therapist. Licensed. College. Grad School and multiple certifications under my belt. But I look about 25. (I’m actually mid thirties). I have found the knowing what I’m talking about is the corner stone to gaining respect from people. Also, never gossiping, always being as honest as possible, and confronting issues in the workplace as quickly and discreetly as possible. Women can be afraid sometimes of confrontation for a number of reasons (so can dudes.) but making friends with it and learning how to do… Read more »
Swathi
Swathi
2 years 8 months ago

I agree with most of the comments, just be the best in whatever you do and respect would automatically follow irrespective of age, color, gender or race. It might not initially but if you persevere it definitely would.I remember an old adage ‘a woman should work twice as hard to receive at least half the praise the male counterparts receive’ and once they acknowledge you, they accept you and what you bring to the table whole-heartedly.

Brennan
Brennan
2 years 8 months ago

If you’re a guy and you look young, then grow a beard if you can. My dad had a very young face when he was starting his career as a social worker and he said this helped tremendously. He did this strategically as he transitioned from his first job to his second. It made a big difference.

Gina Setser
Gina Setser
2 years 8 months ago
This a really difficult for women, especially for young women who look even younger than they are. Been there, and it can make you crazy. And no, it doesn’t matter how much you know. But it is always smart to treat more experienced people with respect, and to learn as much as you can from them. If you are female (or interested in gender dynamics at work) and truly want to know the facts behind what everyone is up against, read “The New Soft War on Women” by Caryl Rivers and Rosalind C. Barnett, PH.D. It is an extremely well… Read more »
Allison
Allison
2 years 8 months ago

Respect has to be earned; it will not come to you because of your title only. I am a black female heart surgeon who earned the respect of my peers and the nurses and staff I work with by working hard, fighting alongside them to save patients lives and get them back to their families. It did not come in an instant, but one patient, one midnight vigil, one 12 hour operation at a time.

angela
2 years 8 months ago

I’m a small, very sweet, bubbly, happy, pretty blonde with a good figure. I’m also VERY good at what I do and VERY intelligent. I quit caring whether or not anyone respected me. I respect myself and let my work speak for itself. The people that matter, respect me. Those that don’t, are jealous. It is what it is.

Hector G. Diaz
Hector G. Diaz
2 years 8 months ago
Gain respect by busting your ass, work harder and smarter. Find the best people to surround yourself with (like Ramit) and get held accountable for the results you want. Respect you own effort. If you give your absolute best and you know deep down that you did, no one can take that away from you (unless you don’t know your value). Seems to me that Lori might need a better strategy for dealing with criticism. Doctors work really hard to get where they are, but according to one of the greatest coaches of all time John Wooden, “What a leader… Read more »
momotchi
momotchi
2 years 8 months ago
i’m a woman, i look young, like 25 with blonde hair. but as a 33-years old engineer, i don’t like it when people tend to act dismissive or ignoring me. in meetings, what i tend to do is waiting for the right moment. to ask the right question at the right moment. there is always a moment in a meeting when people are digressing, go off topic or start to get angry. this is where i put the focus back on the main topic, by asking the critical question, or summarize the main ideas and ask which want they want… Read more »
Patrick Szalapski
2 years 8 months ago

I would love to learn more about how to earn respect. I eagerly await your follow-up, Ramit.

Yvette Louise Jones
Yvette Louise Jones
2 years 8 months ago
In terms of getting respect from your colleagues then there is nothing more satisfying than realising that you in the end have achieved this. My experience stems from being the daughter of a family business owner working in the business. The business wasn’t anything quite as fancy as a hospital, however it still has credit. A butchers and delicatessen… Some of u may switch off now thinking phahh,, but it is a fine food business having won a ton of awards in the uk,, best of British many times over the years for sausage.. The point is, you try relating… Read more »
Annie
Annie
2 years 8 months ago
I work on this issue with my staff quite a bit, as we are a grant support unit to scientists – so we are a more informed but less formally educated group. To command respect, we: 1) maintain a more formal/ professional air at all times – how we dress, no gossip, how we conduct ourselves, showing respect for others and insisting that we are respected. 2) if we are disrespected, we take it head on. If calling out the “perpetrator” doesn’t work, we bump it up. Across the department, we are collectively known as the team that won’t take… Read more »
Cara Brett
2 years 8 months ago

I once got an interesting piece of advice that seems to work. Be prepared to hold a gaze (especially with a difficult person) for an uncomfortably long time. It seems to be a way to assert your authority and ensure that they know you are serious.

Christine
Christine
2 years 8 months ago

Do what you’ve set out to do…be so focused that you do not care what the naysayers are talking about. Then, as you accomplish what you’ve set out to do, what they say will be annoying, but they’ll look stupid to everyone who isn’t ignorant and sees what amazing things you’ve done.

Vivek Rangabhashyam
2 years 8 months ago
When I set up my business and started meeting clients, my age played a major role in making them belive it was easy to push me over the edge with my prices… One of my clients said “You don’t know what the price is supposed to be… Do it for me at $xxx (1/3 the cost) and I will teach you how to run a business…” obviously I pushed this guy away… another said “You are so young, how will you handle my project… You don’t have any experience in life…” This lady was 45, devorced and besides being nuts,… Read more »
Michelle
Michelle
2 years 8 months ago

At my previous job, I worked as a personal banker and was the youngest person in my branch. I learned that the best way to gain people’s respect was to not only show that you are competent, but to become an expert in what you do. Once you can prove that, no one can legitimately question your abilities. Anyone who does just ends up looking like an ass.

m
m
2 years 8 months ago
This is definitely something that I struggled with – I was one of a few females in a male dominated college major, I was the youngest in my graduate school class, and I later became the chief of staff to a CEO of a company with thousands of employees – all before I hit my mid-twenties. My colleagues (those in the c-suite) were all twice my age. I would constantly get remarks directed towards my age (“When I was your age…” “You’re so young, you still haven’t gone through these life lessons…” “How old are you??”) I was also considered… Read more »
Roy Lemke
2 years 8 months ago
Ramit if anyone can answer this question I think I can. I started out in a tough industry at a very young age. I worked my way through college while working 50 and 60 hr weeks and climbing the ladder in the industry that I was working in. As I gained experience and power I began to run into situations where professionals much older than I wondered how I came to achieve the power and suppossed knowledge that I possessed. I always ignored the opportunities of confrontation and treated everyone with the respect that I expected to be treated with.… Read more »
Shaz
Shaz
2 years 8 months ago
I think that too many women are disrespected by their own gender. M above just beat me to it. I believe that you do not have to change your appearance to earn respect. Just be yourself, with confidence. You have to know what you are doing, be direct but approachable at the same and create friendly alliances with everyone, but especially colleagues who are at a junior level to you. In this way you are not a threat to them and you can empower them with decision making at their own level. They will respect you for believing in them,… Read more »
Devorah
2 years 8 months ago

As an early web designer and developer, I often took jobs that no one would take and would be hard to get paid for, but I did and overall I’ve done pretty well.
I didn’t and don’t have a degree and pretty much had to walk the walk to make it go.
For the young looking nurse, see a pro about the hair and makeup. Look more conservative. If your hair is light, make it dark, and ask for help in looking older.
Then cultivate a lower voice and a logical tone.
People may not love this, but it gets credibility.

Stefano
2 years 8 months ago
There are some contexts where I still struggle to determine what the cause of this type of treatment is, but it’s very effective to just take a step back from people emotionally and speak to them from a somewhat stern, objective place. When I feel less-than-respected by someone, I consciously show no reaction to their behavior, make unwavering eye contact whenever I’m addressing them or being addressed, speak in terse, firm, uncompromising assertions or statements of fact, and remove all proactive politeness from my vocabulary (“please,” “thanks,” etc). I also stop conceding things even if I agree or don’t care,… Read more »
Zach H.
Zach H.
2 years 8 months ago
Stepping into a role with my fraternity, it felt many times like there wasn’t much respect there for the position. The reputation had been tarnished because the previous officer had actually embezzled money. My strategy was to be crystal clear. Everything, I mean, EVERYTHING was open to all the members. I told them where we needed to go financially, what actions we had to take to get there, and what would happen collectively and individually if we didn’t make it. To be blunt I had to be an a-hole to some brothers who wouldn’t pay up. But I had them… Read more »
Zach H.
Zach H.
2 years 8 months ago
Reading over these, who would agree that the themes seem to be mutual equivalence, self-respect, and brutal honesty. To unpack these a little bit, a lot of these stories seem to have an element of establishing a relationship where neither party is “above” the other at least on the face of it. As a caveat, competence may dictate someone’s decisions over another’s but no one is strictly above another. Self-respect is where a lot of people have listed tactics like how you behave and dress. It also seems to be the source of calling others out if they try to… Read more »
Mel
Mel
2 years 8 months ago
I am definitely not the best engineer on my team, but I do everything in my power to back my team up, especially when all hell breaks loose I put my best foot forward and go through hell and back with them. Even if it means I stay up for 48 hours straight with them while we bring a network back up. I may not have the answers or the same level of insight into the issue as they do, but just being there for them to bounce ideas ooff of, white boarding their ideas and troubleshooting scenarios, and just… Read more »
SR
SR
2 years 8 months ago
I graduated college at 18 and went to work at a major financial institution. Age was a bit of an issue even if people didn’t realize quite how young I was. So I grew a mustache. However, I realize this may not be advice other folks can use. More generally I would recommend two things. First, be awesome. Any surface strategy only buys you a few minutes. You must really know your stuff to sustain any respect you get for more than a moment. But for that moment, try to cultivate “gravitas”. Slow your speech. Pause. Don’t smile or ask… Read more »
Akash
Akash
2 years 8 months ago
When having to drive one’s idea through the clutter of cross-conversations during a meeting, I practice what I learned from Dale Carnegie and it’s contrary as well to augment the effect. Example: ten people chit-chattering in unison over something wrong, I just say, slowly, articulately, my idea by stating a question (Dale Carnegie rule to attract attention) while introducing an element of aggression and /or profanity (to impose oneself in a male-dominated environment) and/or humor (to remove the negative connotation): “What if we all tried to introduce (your idea) into the shit and rub their nose hard in it until… Read more »
Sophie
Sophie
2 years 8 months ago
Also working in an IT company. I agree with some of the comments here about needing to be very knowledgeable to earn the respect of your coworkers and superiors. But that will only get you so far. There are two issues that bother me most: 1. When a new project comes up and you are not even considered to be part of it. When you have to prove yourself EVERY time and only then are you invited into a project, it really starts to bother you. Getting the same type of standing a male colleague has is very difficult for… Read more »
Rajan Tamil
Rajan Tamil
2 years 8 months ago
ramit it is a very good initiative, i have been working in an IT company for than 2 years ….. well i firmly believe that the term “give and take policy” people give a smile to those who smile on them … the important thing to gain respect … is we should be having very good knowledge in very subject .. politics or movies and to be humble .. a good speaker always grab the attention always prepare urself for a good speech among your co workers and give value to ones point of view …… get your colleagues to… Read more »
Diana
Diana
2 years 8 months ago

You just cannot care what others think. Most of the time they are just jealous. So keep plugging away and while they are wasting their time talking crap you are slowly moving up and succeeding. Respect is not the most important goal. Making your own life work for you is more important than what someone that you don’t value the opinion of thinks of you.

Kris
Kris
2 years 8 months ago

I have found that the key is to find those people that do respect you, and grow your reputation from there. Just like the fraternity example, it is a constant exercise.

Sheryl
Sheryl
2 years 8 months ago
To get respect, give it. Ask questions. Listen to others’ stories and experiences. No matter their education or age, everyone has a story to tell and experiences that informed them about how to do their job, live their life…For a while, speak less and listen more. In the end, when you do speak, I think others are more apt to listen when you spend the time to hear them. Unless you walk into a situation where the universe is in complete alignment with you, you are an unknown and often threatening in some way: to their safety, self esteem, sense… Read more »
Stephanie
Stephanie
2 years 8 months ago
I find to get respect, you have to require it of yourself. Sure, being competent at your job is good and respect-worthy, as is giving respect. But the fact of the matter is, some people never want to give it, or don’t, not out of malice but instead just didn’t think about what they were saying or how they were saying it. Or some people are arrogant and are okay with being disrespectful to others. The solution is to demand respect. If someone is not respectful to you, call them on it. Only you can speak up for yourself. So… Read more »
Gayle
Gayle
2 years 8 months ago
My (female) boss says that people started listening to her after she turned 40. Something to look forward to…? It helps to have colleagues with whom you can discuss this problem explicitly – so in a meeting, they can reiterate what you’ve said, using your name. It’s equally important to do this yourself for your other colleagues – celebrate them and give them credit. Also, try to cultivate a mentor/advocate who can give you good press. And in some fields, particularly medicine, you’ll probably have to learn to let it roll off your back because changing that culture is not… Read more »
Lopa
Lopa
2 years 8 months ago
The best thing that I found works was to “find fault at others”. Always, have your facts ready when you are putting any new ideas. Like a print from the net that backs up what you say and stuff like that. Always works. Thats how you build respect. Over a span of time, you will notice that you dont need any back up prints. People have fallen in line and your opinion is respected. Women tend to be more quiet in work places. I was just one women in the office of 20-25 people. It is hard to have your… Read more »
Jessie
2 years 8 months ago

Adam Grant has some insightful thoughts about how “powerless communication” (acknowledging shortcomings instead of strengths, tentative instead of assertive talk, and asking questions instead of giving answers) can earn you respect & attention. I especially recommend the first 4 minutes, where he tells a story about how he earned the respect of much older US Airforce employees as a 25 year old fresh out of grad school, by making a joke about his own age.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n_ffqEA8X5g

G
G
2 years 8 months ago
In all seriousness from the time I was a 22 year old whippersnapper to now, I have had every other type of job insecurity except this one. Bottom line, if you do the work and produce results the respect will come. To take it a step further, the work that you do has to match your expectation above everyone else’s and then you will be in a league of your own. Have standards and meet and exceed them. I have been promoted from assistant to senior manager several times in my career because the proof was in the pudding plain… Read more »
Patrick Foley
2 years 8 months ago

Respect yourself first and you will have earned the respect of the most important person in the room.

William Charles
William Charles
2 years 8 months ago

I can imagine this on the front of a motivational poster. It sounds really cheesy but it’s incredible true.

Eric
2 years 8 months ago

Well, I’m 21 years old and considered a leader in my current position. I’ve been able to establish trust by always making sure I always have the answer to my colleagues and bosses questions. If I don’t know right then, I say that I’ll check for them and have the answer in minutes. Be the go to person and be dependable. This will create a trickle-down effect and you’ll have the social proof to pass as an expert in no time.

wietog
wietog
2 years 8 months ago
Female/40’s/Marketing Sometimes you have to realize that you are just in the wrong environment. I’ve been both shocked at mistreatment/disrespect as well as flabbergasted at support/respect. We often tend to “take what’s given” as women, instead of focusing on what WE want and saying “no” to people, projects and/or environments that do not support us. It should NOT MATTER what we look like, or even what we dress like, unless you are in a very professional environment, like Legal or PR or broadcasting. Frankly, tech/engineering/development leads the way these days, and look at how Zuckerberg dresses! He doesn’t even have… Read more »
Angie
Angie
2 years 8 months ago

I haven’t had time to read all of the comments, but I know how it feels to work with condescending older people. This is what I wish I knew in my 20’s:

Whining about lack of respect isn’t going to get you any so don’t do that. (Not saying Lori does that, but I automatically flinch when I hear someone cry “Waaahhh, why don’t they respect me?”)

Respect is a two-way street. You expect people to earn your respect and you give respect when earned.

Jessica H
Jessica H
2 years 8 months ago

If you’re young and don’t have the age spots to fool people into thinking you know stuff, you have to actually Know Your Shit. And never be wrong.

I’m usually summarily dismissed until someone asks me about a problem or needs HR advice. I tell them what they need to know. If people think you know what you’re doing, and YOU act like you know what you’re doing, no one will ever question you–but if they do, be prepared to step up or shut up. (And if you make a mistake, apologize and fix it.)

Anthony
Anthony
2 years 8 months ago
A technique I learned very young and that has worked at every place I’ve ever worked at is also my favorite quote is “Work hard be humble.” Always work hard; – If something needs to get done even if its not your job title (don’t step on toes) just do it. Even if its something way beneath you like mopping a spill. – If someone is sick be the first to pick up the slack. – Help everyone around you whether they ask for it or not and double help them if they hate / would never help you, (kill… Read more »
avic
2 years 8 months ago
Many people find it hard to trust at first but when they come around their trust will add up to respect. I remember that I had just finished high school and was 17yrs old when I was recruited by my aunt to sell vehicle spare parts and operate a press machine. At first people were skeptical of my ability to do a good job. I was to work with mechanics with an experience of 10-30 yrs and they were expected to trust a newbie. I was determined to learn so I took every opportunity to do so. It important to… Read more »
Will
2 years 8 months ago

Being better and knowledgeable without being seen as a show off. There’s a need to understand men a bit. Men tend not to offer help until asked. As a woman, perhaps when you notice problems stand by to offer help but don’t until asked.

Yvonne
2 years 8 months ago

I was going to put this in the post on 10 life hacks but the comments are closed, so I will share it here. It’s about hacking traditional martial arts, have a look-see:

http://voices.yahoo.com/how-learn-traditional-martial-art-more-quickly-12114922.html?cat=5

Yadgyu
Yadgyu
2 years 8 months ago

Just gain more money and power than other people. If someone doesn’t fall in line, fire him. The respect will come with ease.

John Scott Lucas
2 years 8 months ago

It helps to be comfortable in your job and your industry. If you are in the right place, doing the right thing, people look at you differently than when you are just going through the motions or when you area square peg in a round hole. It’s hard to respect yourself when you don’t like your job, and it’s impossible to win respect from others when you don’t respect yourself.

Shane Blick
Shane Blick
2 years 8 months ago

Two simple things:

-Lead by example
-Live authentically and disregard what others think.
*When I tried to conform to what I thought others wanted me to be like, I not only disrespected myself, but I gained no one else’s respect.

Liz
Liz
2 years 8 months ago
Some of these responses actually made my skin crawl… One woman said she “shivs” someone occasionally- publicly shaming them for a mistake or miscalculation (not so often that she’s labeled a bitch), and another said to make it a point to interrupt during a meeting to make a point. I detest interrupters and back-stabbers. You ladies are at best rude and at worst untrustworthy and antisocial. My recipe for respect is self respect, kindness, professionalism, direct communication and an attitude of confident curiosity. Learn from everyone. If someone is rude to you or oversteps boundaries, call them on it immediately.… Read more »
Jackie
Jackie
2 years 8 months ago
Remember: it’s not about you. It’s about them. You earn their respect when you bring something valuable into their lives. It took me months to gain respect at my workplace, but I accomplished it little by little by looking at the person/people next to me and asking myself, “How can I make this person’s day easier?” or “How can I make this person smile?” This works with coworkers, bosses, and clients. When you are able to make their day easier, they appreciate you more and value your opinion more. Like other people said above, giving respect gets you respect. When… Read more »
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Anonymous
Anonymous
1 year 10 months ago
Learn there habits of constantly discussing beer, boobs, and sports. No one actually does any work. There are numerous studies showing this. Work is about spewing the most deception so everyone can do nothing with their time. Nine times out of ten its them not you. Ignore, ass kick, and be on point at all times. Problem with that is they will hate you even more. Especially if you are young, because then your just a punk kid, a rebel, someone trying to prove a point. These people would die in a true state of nature outside of civilization. Respect… Read more »
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1 year 10 months ago

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