Age issues and having a younger supervisor

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Age issues and having a younger supervisor

Postby lovingmyself » Tue Aug 12, 2014 4:28 pm

I hope this is the right forum for me to post this.

I have had age issues for as long as I can remember. Being 53 years of age, an issue I face is always being one of the older workers at a job and having a supervisor who is much younger than me. Sometimes I am lucky and there are some workers who are older than me in their 50's or 60's and occasionally the supervisor is older too but most of the time that is not the case. The problem is that younger people are ambitious so they work hard and become supervisors or high level, etc which makes them surpass me as a clerical worker.

There are two cases where it does not bother me. If the supervisor is at least 40 years of age it does not bother me. If there are others in the company that are lower level and also older than the supervisor then I feel like I am not alone.

Currently I am working at a job and company that I like on contract. They are keeping me an extra year to replace a maternity leave who is pregnant again. The issue I face is that my supervisor is a lot younger. Although she is married with a little girl she is quite young. I do not even know if she is even 30 years of age which would make me old enough to be her mother. To make matters worse I had the misfortune of finding out that her mother is younger than me. Can you imagine the humiliation and shame that I am facing? There is no way I am telling her my age. Imagine me doing that, no way.

I just don't like the idea of being told things by someone younger than me when I should be the one telling them things. It's worse if they get upset at me since an older person should not be in that position else they may as well have loser written on their foreheads.

Is there anyone of you who have been through this type of issue and how do you deal with this. Thanks for listening to my rant.
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Re: Age issues and having a younger supervisor

Postby Elaine Glimme » Tue Aug 12, 2014 10:02 pm

Does it help to know that your supervisor and the others in your office probably don't care that you're older than they are?

I have had supervisors younger than I was, but it wasn't ever an issue.

My best suggestion is to hang around with the people at work and make friends. And know that you have a lot to offer because you've been around longer. When people become friends, all that other stuff doesn't matter.

Sometimes, twenty-year-olds are full of themselves and know everything. That can be very annoying. I have a lot of trouble liking someone who is twenty-ish, knows everything, and is better than everyone else. Usually the world has a way of teaching them - usually in a not too tender fashion - that they are just human like everyone else, and probably not the geniuses they think they are. By the way, when I was twenty I knew everything and was obnoxious. The world slapped me around a bit and I'm mostly cured of that.

Once when I worked in a lab, Judy and I analyzed samples, and we had a tech whose job it was to extract the samples for analysis. Unfortunately, the tech was a man older than most of us, and he came from a culture where age was an issue, and women were considered inferior to men. (I'm a woman.) Also, our supervisors were younger than this person. Please believe me, no one cared how old the man was. What we cared about was having good samples to run. He was good at his work. That wasn't the problem. But sometimes samples have interfering substances and have to be cleaned further. Or they need to be re-extracted for some reason. Or they need to be spiked with a known substance or treated in some way. Or we had a rush sample that had to be extracted and run ahead of the others. Any time we had to ask him something, he got very defensive. He ended up leaving. I hope we didn't say or do anything that was out of line. I know we offended him because "Please re-extract this sample" was offensive.

My words of wisdom. Don't automatically assume someone is judging you. They probably aren't. They're probably unsure of themselves and are hoping that you aren't judging them.

I'm sixty- eight now. My brains are sinking in the West. So is my body. I don't understand computers as well as twenty-year-olds. In fact, my six-year-old grandson understands them better than I do. I make my peace by getting my stepson to help me with computers, and I figure that there are things I know that young people don't. Also I rant about computers on this web site.

I hope some of this helped. All I know is that you have gifts and talents and things about yourself that make you special. I hope you have a good friend or several who know that you are just fine.

p.s. If they are keeping you on an extra year, they must be happy with you and your work. :D
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Re: Age issues and having a younger supervisor

Postby Vickih » Wed Aug 13, 2014 4:44 am

I think this is something that perhaps we all need to face and deal with as we get older because there's no getting away from it!

As we age younger people come up behind us. They become our bosses, our doctors, our teachers... It's just a fact of life.

I have managed people older than myself and it really didn't matter to me, Does it bother your supervisor that you're older than she is?
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Re: Age issues and having a younger supervisor

Postby lovingmyself » Wed Aug 13, 2014 2:58 pm

Thank you both for your responses. Vicki, you are missing my point. My point is that I am older and I have never even been a supervisor or had a career. I have always been an accounting clerk. At least I have had some jobs that I enjoyed including this current one so it's not horrible but it's the fact of being older than someone and not having a career and then there is a much younger person much more successful than me who ends up being my supervisor.

If I am managing someone older than me of course it's not going to bother me because I know that I have done well and am more successful than the person under me. Vicki you are super lucky to be in that position you have no idea.

I hope that I have made myself clear.
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Re: Age issues and having a younger supervisor

Postby Vickih » Thu Aug 14, 2014 4:25 am

Ok I get you now that you added the second post. But it still sounds as though your own insecurities are what's making you feel bad as opposed to the ages of the co-workers involved. Is the issue that you just don't want to be bossed by younger people? Or that you wish you had progressed more so that you were the supervisor? X
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Re: Age issues and having a younger supervisor

Postby lovingmyself » Thu Aug 14, 2014 2:26 pm

Vicki, thanks for understanding. Yes, it is my insecurities. The answer to your questions is both issues. I feel insecure about being supervised by someone younger, especially if they are under 40 years of age and I do wish I had progressed more so that I could be a supervisor.

Both my siblings have done well. One was CEO of a theater chain in California and was able to buy a 10million dollar home in Bel Air and retire at age 47 when his job was no longer needed. My sister is a vetrinarian and does acupuncture on animals and has been in the news and on tv. Also they both get to travel several times a year for work and for pleasure and I mean travel by going overseas a gazillion times a year when a lot of others do a once in a lifetime trip. And I am just an accounting clerk. So yes, I do have insecurities.

This is something I have been trying to work on for many years now but it appears to be so difficult.
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Re: Age issues and having a younger supervisor

Postby Vickih » Fri Aug 15, 2014 12:26 am

I'm sure there are more experienced posters than me able to jump onto the thread and help but it looks like you have a great starting point when it comes to working on things to feel better.

Whether its career progression you want now or whether it's just that you want to feel okay with where you are in relation to everyone else, step one must be to get determined to build that confidence and self esteem up. Maybe now is the time things will start to be not so difficult and you'll be able to move on where you haven't before. You never know why the timing of things happen the way they do. Or maybe it's not a confidence issue. Maybe you just have to focus more on who you are and less on what's going on with others. Do you manage to have a lot of fun and do plenty just to make *your* life fabulous?

For the record, I don't think you're 'just' an accounts clerk. It sounds as though you add great value to your team - they already showed you that by keeping you on! And assuming you've managed to support yourself all these years... well that's impressive too. Not everyone even has the skill to earn enough to live on!
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Re: Age issues and having a younger supervisor

Postby Tituba » Fri Aug 15, 2014 2:27 am

It seems to me that you are focusing on what you don't have and it makes you miserable. Your measurement for success seems to be having a supervisory role. If that is not possible in your current profession, maybe consider taking on volunteer work where you can contribute and be in a leadership role. Comparing yourself to others, no matter what age they are, keeps you stuck in toxic envy. Focus on what you can do and not what you perceive as something that was denied you.
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Re: Age issues and having a younger supervisor

Postby SquarePeg » Fri Aug 15, 2014 12:04 pm

Have you ever considered how young supervisors feel about directing the work of employees who are old enough to be their parents?

Try to remember that you are part of a team, and each employee has a role to play. Your specialty is to perform the work. Your manager's role is to provide you with resources and to direct the flow of work so that it's ready for you when you're ready for it.

The idea that one's age determines one's hierarchy in a company is outdated. It occasionally happens, but it's not the natural career path.

If you really need to have someone "under" you, you could offer to provide training to new hires and other temp workers.

A little about me....
My boss is ten years younger than me and was hired here six months later than me. I'm glad the roles are the way they are. I'd rather continue working on the detail design work and let him deal with annual reviews, work flow, dealing with the Big Boss and the other department VPs. Frankly I couldn't handle it -- I'm just not a people person.
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Re: Age issues and having a younger supervisor

Postby lovingmyself » Fri Aug 15, 2014 5:45 pm

Thank you all for your responses. You are all right. I need to focus on myself and what I have accomplished in my own life like moving out on my own while there are still people in their 30's and 40's living with their parents or the fact that I have traveled to 13 countries including Canada and the US while plenty of people have never even been out of their country even those older than me. I know that I have to focus on my life and not worry about what others are doing. It is something I have to always remind myself of.

I am sure that my supervisor (the young one whose mother is younger than me) has things going on in her life both at home and at work and that she has to prove herself too to her bosses. Plus she has a young child to look after apart from work.

My ranting also came about because these past two weeks have been difficult and busy with others being on vacation and both my supervisor and I having to take on extra work. As a result it has caused a rift between us which I hope is temporary which included my having to write her an email about how I felt about something that she said and implied and I misunderstood to which she responded but not in the way I would have liked which would have been to consider my feelings which she didn't. I am sure it is her inexperience due to her age. So I was feeling down and frustrated and I do not have an outlet except food for which I can release my feelings since I do not swear at all whatsoever.

At least the other clerk will be back on Monday so things will be a bit easier although my supervisor will still be busy doing payroll and I will still have to do inventory adjustments and be the middleman/messenger who bears the brunt if the adjustment has to be investigated and the shipping clerk does not get her way which is really so unfair since I did not cause the adjustment or the driver to have to wait. Nothing I can do about it.

The important thing is though that I do like the company and am glad that I am staying. I know that the workers all pretty much like me and I do hope that my supervisor is still happy to have me there despite these past few weeks. Also I get to think and use my head in this job so perhaps it is more than being 'just' an accounting clerk. Good point to think about.

Thank you all again.
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