Last December my father showed me an column in a newspaper where I live where a young professional woman was appalled at the use of "mi'ja" in a professional environment. As some of us might know, "mi'ja" is an endearment term that literally translates to "my daughter." In her article, the young woman complained that many coworkers who are older than her had called her "mi'ja" which she found demeaning.
I really didn't think much of the topic and even told my dad that I thought she was exaggerating. I mean, sometimes "mi'ja" can mean that people feel comfortable with you and like you.
This past week, I was writing a few articles and conducted a few interviews. During one of those interviews, a woman called me "mi'ja" and I remember thinking, "Excuse me? I am not your mi'ja." I know it might seem a bit of an exaggeration, but it came off so unprofessional. I felt like I wasn't being treated as an equal...professionally.
And, although it might have also meant that the interviewer understood that I'm a young professional and that I am still learning, it made me feel disrespected. I'm trying to build credibility and the term only reminded me that I haven't built that credibility yet.
Maybe I was just being touchy, but the experience made me realize I have a long way to go as a young professional Latina.