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Turn snub into opportunity

Question :

I am a seasoned worker, but recently management hired a younger guy to oversee me. I feel embarrassed and have lost face in the workplace. I want to resign, but I have family responsibilities, so it’s not really an option to just quit. I feel ashamed and upset when he tells me what to do. I don’t feel he is qualified and he has such simplistic views that aren’t workable. Should I look for something else?

Posted by Bruised Ego on Saturday, 02 Aug 2014

Comments :

I can imagine how you feel about the situation. Being in the workforce for a while, you have developed a sense of pride through years of experience. Having a younger supervisor can be extremely embarrassing and demotivating. However, your situation is not unique. Surveys have shown more older employees reporting to younger bosses recently because of the ageing population. 

There must be a reason why this young person got the job – maybe he is good at learning new things, he is digitally savvy or is the owner’s son. 

Whatever the reason, the fact is he is your supervisor. Instead of feeling embarrassed, let go of your ego and do what you were hired to do. This is easier said than done, but I would like to offer you an “ABC” solution to getting it right. 

First, accept the situation. It is a fact that he is younger than you, and he may have better skills than you. For example, he may use instant messaging, while you may be more comfortable with emails and face-to-face interaction. 

Be a player and a resource; there is no point in complaining while you are at work. Second, try to earn his respect by showing him your skills and knowledge, while making him look good in front of the team. For example, if he does not have experience with clients, this is a chance to show your expertise and value. 

Third, communicate. As assumptions and values are different between the two generations, your boss may have a leadership style that is different to yours – you need to do your best to adapt. 

Building a relationship starts with managing your own attitude. Once you can do that, and are meeting his expectations, you will become a valuable team member. 

If you practice the above, I promise you that things will start to change and all of a sudden, you will be more relaxed and may even share some common interests and goals with him professionally and personally. Have a go and best of luck. 

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