26 year olds? Don’t take them seriously.

Five years ago, I couldn’t wait to be 30.

Someone told me, “No one takes you seriously in your career until you’re 30.” At the time, I took this as, “No one is taking you seriously.” As if, I was the young, naive intern. “Aw. That’s a cute press release, Danielle.”

I thought, “When I’m 30, I’ll get to do this and I’ll get to do that. I’ll be an expert in something by then. I’ll be serious and people will take me seriously. I’ll probably be running my own company by then.” (Ok, I didn’t really think I’d own my company. But I had my aspirations.)

When I turned 30, I didn’t experience any spontaneous display of respect. It wasn’t like I wore a badge on my shirt that said “Hello, people, I’m 30. Start taking me seriously!” People didn’t suddenly defer to me in moments of crisis. “Ask Danielle, she’s 30 now.”

Gradually, over the years, people began taking me more seriously as I began taking myself more seriously (when it came to my job; I can still make dirty jokes with the best of them). And it wasn’t because I was 30. In fact, I think it started before that. I just didn’t realize it until now.

I’m the same person I was when I was 26. Although, I think I’m much better at my job, a little wiser, a little smarmier and maybe even a little more immature… at times.

I used to say I wished I was still 26, but maybe 31 isn’t so bad.

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