The Working Millennial's Guide to Withstanding Career Intimidation

Sometimes, you just have to put the Olds in their place.

career woman
(Image credit: Getty, design by Dana Tepper)

Not to widen the generational rift—for the record, there really isn't one unless a Mr. Justin Bieber comes up—but can we stop with the "you're young so I must be smarter than you" mentality? *Not* gucci.

With advice from Vicki Salemi, career expert for Monster, here's how to handle this type of lazy put-down, which we sincerely hope you encounter only when someone catches you circling the fax machine like it's on display at the Guggenheim.

Don't apologize for your existence. 

"'Sorry for my age!' shouldn't be in your vocabulary, even if you say it in jest," Salemi says. It's more like "Sorry you're afraid of me because I represent change and the passage of time and your mortality."

She's just jealous. 

If you want to get psychological, intimidation is a reaction to *being* intimidated. So first, you have our permission to go on a mini power trip over the realization that little old you could have that affect on someone more senior; then take a deep breath and find the strength to forgive. It's not you—it's just that millennials really need to get a better publicist.

You're beautiful, and you're going to do great today. 

It seems counterintuitive, but you should actually be flattered that someone's going through all that trouble to try to make you feel naïve and inexperienced. Like, would they do that to someone who's *not* doing well? Nuh uh. "Haters mean you've made it." —Winston Churchill. Or somebody.

Make like a tree. 

...And leave. On the one hand, why give in to the bullies? On the other hand, over time, you could become numb and a husk of your former work self, which could then have an unhealthy impact on your mood and the quality of your work. The universe might be full of casual and callous destruction, but you still deserve every chance at happiness. Besides, acting as a spokesperson for the youths gets old fast.

Way better than having to defend your existence = defending a Big Idea that could be $$$. Catch new show Quit Your Day Job on Wednesdays at 10/9c on Oxygen. Keep an eye out for Marie Claire executive editor Lea Goldman!

Follow Marie Claire on Instagram for the latest celeb news, pretty pics, funny stuff, and an insider POV.

Chelsea Peng
Assistant Editor

Chelsea Peng is a writer and editor who was formerly the assistant editor at She's also worked for The Strategist and Refinery29, and is a graduate of Northwestern University. On her tombstone, she would like a GIF of herself that's better than the one that already exists on the Internet and a free fro-yo machine. Besides frozen dairy products, she's into pirates, carbs, Balzac, and snacking so hard she has to go lie down.