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Adele Scheele

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When Your Boss Is The Same Age As Your Kid

Posted: 01/09/2012 9:42 am

So, you're no longer the young one on your team at work. Time speeds up so suddenly that after a decade or two, you find that you are working for or with others who are closer in age to your children than they are to you. And the longer you work, the more you will encounter working for younger managers. You can feel defensive and make others uncomfortable, or you can take some steps to make it easier on everyone, including yourself.

Take an inventory of your own appearance and consider changing an outdated style of dress or hair. You can't look 25 when you are over 50, but you can find a way to appear elegantly put-together. A little help from a personal shopper or hair stylist can go a long way.

Listen to your own give-away speak, such as "When I was your age... " and "I still like holding a real book and newspaper." While you don't have to mouth the lyrics to the newest song, you do have to pay some attention to current culture. Here are seven other ways to minimize the age-gap in the office:

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  • #1 Eliminate untrendy slang.

    Just speak plain English. That's always in fashion.

  • #2 Refrain from using expressions such as "You aren't old enough to remember this... "

    They are not only insulting, but also add to unnecessary and awkward attention to age gaps.

  • #3 Expect ongoing changes in technology and try to stay open.

    Overcome your reluctance to texting, Twitter, and Facebook. Stop explaining how it used to be -- how you bent over a light box with an Exacto knife to cut and paste, as opposed to a strike of a computer key. Instead, read up on technology articles, take seminars to keep yourself current and always ask for advice from web-savvy friends and family members.

  • #4 Use your age to your benefit.

    Achieve this by evaluating how to build and bridge ideas, pulling in additional work.

  • #5 Acknowledge the talents and strengths of the younger group.

    Articulate what they are and why they're important.

  • #6 Request time-outs during long meetings to refocus the group, lessen tension and find new directions.

    Younger techies can benefit from your team building and negotiation skills.

  • #7 Make an effort to mentor one or two younger people who have talent but need some advice and coaching.

    You'll be doing a service and building a team of loyal fans at the same time.

Make your luck happen!