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Working for a Younger Boss: 5 Tips for Success

working for a younger boss

by Stuart Rosenfield

Is a younger boss a problem?

Not necessarily.

Have you ever worked for anyone younger than you? If you are over 50, there is an increased likelihood you will. It may sound like an uncomfortable situation, and in some cases, it is. But if you look at it as an opportunity rather than a burden, both you and your boss might find the experience very rewarding.

My first experience with a younger manager came when I turned 45.  I was new to the company, and the VP just promoted a 30 year old to be our department manager.  This was her first experience managing a team.

Most of the people she managed were older than her and I knew that made her uncomfortable.  I quickly realized this situation provided an opportunity for me to become her right-hand man in the department.

Offer support

The first thing I did was offer her my 100% support.  As with any boss, you want to help them succeed.

Become a mentor

As this particular manager was not used to managing people, delegating tasks, or interacting with senior company leadership, I used my 20+ years in corporate life to mentor her, coach her, and be a shoulder to cry on (metaphorically) when she needed it.

Be respectful

I treated her with respect, and she appreciated my guidance.  I became a confidant. Though she expected me to do my job, the fact she felt respected by me went a long way in our professional relationship.

Stay open to learning

As she was smart and innovative, I also got a lot from her.  She knew her stuff. I learned from her as she learned from me, which helped me keep my skills current. Although15 years my junior, she gave me constructive suggestions for professional improvement I still use 15 years later.

Age is just a number

I’ve had several bosses since then.  Most were younger than me, although there was not as large an age gap. I continue to use the same techniques with them as I did with that 30 year old. 

You hear the phrase “age is just a number”.  They aren’t just talking about your health. If you’re an older worker, do your job with the eagerness of someone much younger. When someone less seasoned manages you, treat them the same as you would someone older. Put your experience to good use.

The bottom line

Give respect, 100% support, and remain open to learning from anyone, regardless of their age.

Different generations can work together and support one another. It’s not unusual for these situations to result in successful career experiences for both parties.


job hunting tips from stuart rosenfield

Stuart Rosenfield, from Plano, Texas, successfully reinvented himself 3 times having been laid off as an older adult.  It was tough, but he did it and is now happily available to help others in the same boat.  Contact him today for help in your job search.





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