The Big IDEA: Why I Deserve a Seat at the Table (& Not the Kids Table)

By Anton D. Johnson, II, Intern, The Big IDEA

It can be a little intimidating being the youngest person in the office. Some of the people I’m working with have been in the industry for almost as long as I’ve been alive and it can make me feel a little out of place.

Recently, I’ve been finding value in what I have to bring to the table as a recent college graduate. Being one of the youngest people in the office(s), it’s easy for me to discount myself and what I have to bring to the table.

But, it’s time I start recognizing the value in my skills and experiences, even as a 21-year-old. For the rest of my career, I’ll be working with people that are older than me (and more experienced than me). So instead of shying away from that fact, I’ll be diving into the challenge of showing the value that me and my experiences hold.

A Wild Ride to Academic Achievements

One of the craziest things I’ve ever done was graduate college through a global pandemic. I went to class online and in-person while maintaining multiple internship opportunities and a 3.5 GPA (which was a goal of mine as a freshman). It definitely wasn’t easy, but that makes it even more rewarding.

Sticking to the Motto (?)

Even though I graduated college less than two months ago, I still have a craving to learn. They say, “You learn something new every day,” but I need to learn something new every day or else I’m not satisfied. I’d say it’s a motto of mine. With that being said, I’m not (too) afraid to ask questions or even take on new projects that I’m not familiar with to get a better understanding of what is going on in my industry.

Growing Up in the Digital Age

I grew up riding the wave of technological advancements. I never thought that being a nerd about video games and computers would actually benefit me (I even built my own computer a few months ago😎). As we move towards a virtual-friendly world, I’ve found value in my ability to use both technology and the internet, including social media. Over the last year, you’d be surprised how many older professionals I’ve had to teach a thing or two.

Our experiences make us who we are, so if you’re reading this, maybe don’t be afraid to embrace some of the experiences that shaped you into the person you are today. You might find a new skill you didn’t know you had.