I started a new job a few months ago and in three weeks my team will be traveling across the country for a new job. I am in my mid-twenties and the youngest person on the team by almost a decade. How do I make a good impression and avoid coming off too “young”?
This is a great question. There are a number of things someone early in their career would want to keep in mind when traveling with coworkers or their boss, especially for the first time. The overall goal is to exude confidence and competence at all times, during work hours and off hours. It’s not fair, but this goes even more so for young women. Here are my tips for women on their first business trip.
- When traveling with your boss or more tenured colleagues, you want to be on your best, and most competent, behavior. This starts with your suitcase. While I always recommend carrying on your luggage, this goes double for when you’re on a trip with others. You don’t want to be the reason everyone is waiting around at the baggage claim when dinner and bed are calling. Be familiar with the airline’s guidelines so that if you are carrying on, your bag is within the correct size requirements. Also, make sure you can lift it into the overhead bin without throwing out your back. Note: When choosing your luggage err on the side of subdued patterns and colors, like blue, black, olive, or plum.
- If you’re on the plane during work hours bring some work or industry-related magazines to read. If it’s after work hours you are probably fine to read or watch a movie. An eReader would come in handy here, allowing you to read whatever you want without anyone knowing the title.
- Be on top of your logistics for travel. Once you arrive have any addresses you need handy, including the hotel or office. On your last day know when you need to leave for the airport in order to make your flight.
- During any downtime that you spend with your boss, wear something comfortable but cute and well put together. I usually choose a pair of dark jeans, a nice top, and cute shoes. Don’t wear anything reads “night on the town,” nothing revealing, no too-tall shoes, etc.
- And I hope this would go without saying, but just in case. Please, please watch your alcohol intake. Getting drunk and throwing up in a cab with your director looking on is not going to make the impression you want. (I saw this happen, and trust me, we talked about it for years.) Also, be careful of oversharing with coworkers–casual work relationships can easily slip into “intense” mode when you’re in the trenches of a business trip, but be careful about the details of your life that you’re sharing. Even if your coworkers are sharing their secrets don’t feel you have to!
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Remember, a little time spent planning before your trip will make things go much more smoothly while you’re gone. I know it doesn’t seem fair that someone could be judging you during “off” times, but that won’t stop them from subconsciously doing it. If a behavior could even remotely be considered questionable, trust me, don’t do it!
Readers, what tips do you have for Reader C’s first trip with coworkers?
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