Looking Young vs. Looking Mature

16 Aug

Looking young is good for kikays. Looking mature is good for managers.

As a young COBOL programmer in the mid-90s, I went to the US on a Y2K project. The immigration officer looked at me and laughed. He said that in the US, being a COBOL programmer meant you were a dinosaur. 

I have observed many instances since then where Westerners would think Asian women younger than they really are. So when we’re truly young, we look like kids. And when we’re, ahem, more seasoned, we look young. I used to wear glasses for astigmatism and joked that I only wore them to increase my credibility. I’ve since ditched them for kikay reasons and found that I could manage.

I recounted the dinosaur incident at a recent visit by an American client. He said, no way could you have been working in the mid-90s. Ooops, seems like I had forgotten the usual part of my introduction where I say I’ve been at my company for 16 years. It’s a credibility tactic. What’s funny is that this other Asian woman colleague of mine then asks me about my age. Traitor! I just smiled and repeated that I’ve been with the company 16 years.

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