What you should know about your adult colleagues

picture that says, "age is no guarantee of maturity"
Can I get this on a t-shirt please?

It’s common to think that just because someone is older than you, then that makes them more mature or knowledgeable than you. As if, they have all the answers.


The No. 1 thing you should know about your adult colleagues at work is that they are still learning…just as you are. So no, they aren’t going to be perfect. And just like you want people to be patient with you while you adjust to the world, you have to learn to be patient, too.

They have feelings. Please don’t be rude to people just for the sake of the being rude. Your attitude has a tremendous impact on those around you. Whether good or bad, attitude is contagious. Your words, your actions, your passive-aggressiveness…these can make all the difference in someone else’s life. If you’re having a bad day, try not to infect everyone else with those emotions. It’s not going to change how you feel anyway. I’m not saying you have to go around greeting everyone and shaking hands. But don’t be rude either.

They have personal lives. People often forget that there’s life outside of work. And while most of us understand that work needs to get done, no one wants to get stuck two hours after clock-out time because you decided you would postpone that annual report. Be respectful of other people’s time. Try not to bother others about work after hours either. They have appointments and other things to do after work just like you do.

They like to belong. No one likes feeling left out. If there’s a way for you to include everyone in company events or fun company activities, then do it! Even if you don’t want to. That feeling of being a part of something is enough to change anyone’s negative attitude.

They make mistakes. And they’re going to keep doing so. Because we’re all human and it happens. Unless their mistakes are monumental, then there’s no reason to lose your cool. Be patient. Find a solution. Educate them on something if it’ll help them in the future.

They may not like you. And you have to learn to be OK with that. You’re at work to get things done, not to make a bunch of friends. As long as projects are still completed and no one is being disrespected, then life must go on.

They’re immature. Most of them are. In many different ways, adults often prove themselves to be emotional, unreliable or narcissistic. That’s just life, really. Do your best to work around those issues to get the job done. If their immaturity becomes a problem, then tell a manager or someone in charge.

They have goals and big dreams. And these dreams can often affect how they work at the office. If you can, take the time to inspire and encourage their dreams. Sometimes, it feels nice just having someone to brainstorm and visualize with.

They have personal issues. And sometimes, you may find them taking these out on you. I’m not telling you to tolerate disrespect, but if you notice someone being a bit snappier than usual, try to grace their presence with a little positivity. Even a smile can go a long way.

It’s a lot harder to remember these things when you’re going through a tough time at work. But when you start to think of your colleagues on the same level as yourself, you start to realize that you have much more in common with them than you initially thought.

Thanks for reading!

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Hello! My name is Tammie and formally, Iā€™m a graduate from the University of North Texas with a Bachelor of Arts in Public Relations, a minor in Spanish and a certificate in technical writing. Informally, Iā€™m an energetic 29-year-old who enjoys to write, give professional advice and explore my creative side.

6 thoughts on “What you should know about your adult colleagues

  1. Not the article I was expecting from the title. I thought it would cover what college graduates stand to face when working with their adult colleagues. I

    When I still worked in corporate, I found that older and more mature aged adults tend to become very defensive around younger colleagues because they view us as a threat to their jobs.

    1. You’re correct, Alexis! There are lots of older adults that feel threatened or upset that such young professionals are in the same workforce as them. I wrote a few articles about that in the past, but with this post, I was hoping to highlight some of the basic things that many professionals tend to forget – kindness, collaboration, encouragement, etc. Hope I didn’t disappoint too much! šŸ™‚

      1. Understood, Tammie! It’s great that you’re writing on these topics. Too many college kids are heading into the workforce with no real idea of what to expect, and no preparation.

        Keep it up!

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