What I’d tell my twenty-something self

[dropcap]T[/dropcap]his morning, my Twitter pal, Amelia posted a link to an article about workplace sexism and it really resonated something in me. My friends and I easily laugh off the horrors of the jobs we had in our 20s, but in all seriousness, I would tell twenty something year old me to SPEAK. UP.

When I was a fresh graduate out of uni, trying to bulk up my work experience portfolio and land a paying TV job was tough. I put up with so much rubbish because I thought that’s what it involved. NO, I want to shout out loud now. I wish I had been more outspoken, that I had stood my ground, and not to be afraid to call out on any bullshit.

Speak Up


That sounds like a dramatic battle cry but, that is exactly what I wish I had done at the time.

To that creepy man who would look me up and down no matter how modestly I dressed that day, who made me and not the male intern fetch the coffees, who refused to sign off my work sheets for a few measly quid when I worked a 12 hour day. I wonder if he’d allow that nonsense with his own young daughter.

To those guys who hired me for my ‘different dynamic’ but was then expected to make the coffees and answer the phones unlike my male counterpart who got invited out for beers.  I guess my different dynamic was the fact that I had lady lumps?

To that horrible lawyer who shouted and name called me and a friend when we were temping for extra cash. I hope you got over your anger issues. Tell me what ever happened to that third leg of yours you offered to show us?

Sadly, those are just a few choice samples of past job horrors. Whilst those experiences helped thicken my skin over the years, I wish that I had been bold enough to speak out at them at the time and that I would have called out their shoddy behaviour.

Do I practice what I preach now? Yes, but not enough. The workplace sexism I experience in my 30s is not so much about being objectified, but being invisible. I have to shout a little louder to get my opinions and ideas heard. To not be told to handle all the flowery stuff because I am a girl and “you know all that stuff”…when actually, it’s thanks to my years of hard work and experience that means I know how to “handle all that stuff”

God, it’s exhausting being a lady. You have to be on your A game at work, look good, cook dinner, clean the house, birth kids, rinse and repeat with a smile on your face. It’s not resting bitch face, it’s more like I AM EXHAUSTED WITH THIS PLANET face.

So hey there 20 something me. Call those idiots out more. Believe in yourself more. SPEAK.UP.

Author: Angela Shek

just a clueless mama in East London

12 thoughts on “What I’d tell my twenty-something self”

  1. Omg what was that lawyer dude’s name?? I haven’t thought of him in years he was horrid lol!!!


  2. For real, didn’t he always want to take us for dinner? I swear we went a few times!


  3. Great slogan – shame it’s even necessary in the modern world! I feel so lucky, I don’t think I’ve ever experienced sexism in the workplace. But I’m glad people are speaking up and emphasising how this just isn’t acceptable in the 21st century 🙂


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