Colleen Murphy is a senior editor at Bloomberg Tax. She is also a graduate of Poynter’s Essential Skills for Rising Newsroom Leaders seminar (Poynter is accepting applications for the fall session now).
I’m 25, and I’ve always felt older than my age. In high school and college, I felt out of step with my peers. Since graduating from college, I’ve settled into a social group, but still bristle when friends or acquaintances make well-meaning remarks about my age.
“You’re so young.”
“I forget that you’re only 25.”
“You’re like, basically a baby.”
I also turn bright red very easily when I’m embarrassed, which doesn’t help.
The consequences of being born in 1994 carry over into the office, where for the first time in my life I sometimes feel like I might actually be too young. I’m one of the youngest editors in my newsroom — not formally a manager, even though I assign stories and direct reporters every day. That is a challenging dynamic on its own, and it is made more complicated because I lack the authority that can come from age, prior experience at prominent national publications or a weighty title.
Still, being a young leader comes with its share of opportunities. Sometimes it requires an internal pep talk, but here’s how I’m turning this insecurity into a source of strength.
This article originally appeared in an issue of The Cohort, Poynter’s newsletter for women kicking ass in digital media. Join the conversation here.
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