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I’m an experienced hire, and I’m reporting to someone younger than me, who I clearly have more experience than, how do I deal with this?

likefunny
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Lol as the younger person in this scenario, I have to handhold and teach people easily 20 years older than me and purportedly 14+ years in the trade.

If they can't keep up, I have to find someone who can cause we work in a rapidly changing technical environment with no space for ego.

Just because you're older/more experienced doesn't mean you're as relevant/up to date as your "senior colleague" on the new job.

A new dumb PM said "I want an experienced data engineer hire."
"What's experienced to you?"
"Someone with 10+ years experience in this language and tech."
"....this tech has only been around less than 7 years what are you smoking. Stop equating years to experience, I don't need a dinosaur."

likeupliftingsmart

Lol D1, your post shows a lack of experience. Previous experience before that tech showed up could be just as important i.e., migrating/upgrading legacy systems or client management of customers that are just as “experienced.” Not always all about the latest and greatest.

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If you are so experienced, you should have the maturity, collaboration experience and skillset necessary to know how to deal with this situation. You also have to shift your mindset, industry and consulting are not the same. Complete different jobs, hence total years of experience are not always relevant to Consulting.

In Consulting you need a wide range of skills, including adapting and managing ambiguity- you will come across situations where you are staffed on projects that you won’t have expertise in, but expected to lead. You will also eventually be required to sell engagements that you may not have expertise in. You will rely on your judgment to staff the right folks that have the necessary skills to deliver.

And remember, to be successful in Consulting, you need a strong network…work on developing relationships on this project. Add value to your leaders, be their right hand. They have the power to influence your career and help you along (regardless of their age). Every connection (peers, below or above) is worthy.

likesmartfunny
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Clearly your experience wasn’t good enough or they’d be reporting to you. Put your ego aside and do your job. If your experience is that valuable and you are in too low of a role, you’ll quickly advance and become their peer or boss.

likefunnysmart

I’ve probably seen an equal number of people who thought they were under leveled and needed a lot of improvement as I’ve seen people who were truly under leveled.

Just keep doing your job well and learn. Avoid the feeling that because you have more experience, you are better and can do their job.

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Try to reframe it as different experience than you, as the person you’re reporting to likely has more experience in consulting. Be humble and allow them to teach you from their experience.

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This has happened to me frequently in my career. I have found that each person had something to teach me. Younger or more experienced didn’t seem to matter. Focus on mutual respect of what you both bring to the table.

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Totally agree. Being an experienced hire, I face this situation, but always keep learning from other folks and they also learn certain aspects from me

likesmart

Assert dominance

funnylikesmart

But seriously though, I got this opportunity once. I was a C and working with someone on the client side my age (early 20s) who was basically a GM. My natural tendency is to go deep into subject matter while this person was phenomenal with marketing and upwards management. I’m glad I overcame my bias and resentment to learn a few things. Plus it was fun to watch someone so young give a dressing down to seasoned PMDs 😜

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You deal with it by putting your ego away and doing your job. Just because you have “more experience” doesn’t mean you’re more valuable in this specific circumstance.

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More experience doesn’t mean anything. Learn from the newbie and make him/her your mentor to see if that makes any difference in your future role. Good luck.

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I remember at McKinsey when 30 year old MBAs have to report to 25 year old EMs who are clearly more capable than them

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Had my poorest week since joining, definitely planning an exit ASAP. Bain asked me to reapply in 6 months, so here I come

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Leave your ego at the door and don’t think about age 🤷‍♀️ I only have one member of my team who is younger than me

likesmart

Everyone takes different paths in life. Some folks head right out of college and start climbing the ladder as fast as they can, others take a slower pace, some get masters, etc. before working, some change careers when they get older and have to start all over from the bottom. Age is just a number.

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Just get used to it, it will likely happen more frequently as you progress in your career 😊 As long as they can perform in their role, don’t worry too much about number of years working

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Take a humble bath and do a good job. This is a temporary situation. You can also try to get more face time with the more senior manager (your supervisor's supervisor) - perhaps mention to them that you understand why you're reporting to this person but for your professional development you'd also appreciate getting less formal supervision from them.
I know of a partner at Bain who was hired from a non consulting background and they gave him 1 year to go through every single role before resuming his partner role. He had 20 years experience but for the first 3 months reported into someone with 2 YOE.

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Damn that’s awesome. I bet he learned so much that first year that will help him. I know many places may not be able to afford this but I think it’s highly valuable

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I believe this is the perfect opportunity to learn from this person. Assist him where you can. Accept that he might have something you are missing to reach his level. Possibility to explore reverse mentoring/leading (be careful not to over step)

like

Retire?

funnylike

D, as a young manager at P at 26, I have managed people older than me or even tenured than me at PwC. We are also struggling to how to deal with this as well since we do know you are more experienced. We are struggling how we can help you to shine and grow in your consulting firm. It is not easy on the other side to convince you that we are your “boss”

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I like your attitude, PWC3.

More experience doesn’t make you better. Many people come from industry and struggle in consulting to someone who may have less experience. See what you can learn from them and be open and move to the next project when the time comes

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I've reported to people younger than me who were great at their jobs and it wasn't an issue. But if your manager is not, and you're in a position where you're being underutilized, you perform the best you can in that situation and if doesn't improve you get out, either to a different project or a different job.

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I have been the younger person in this scenario quite often in my career. Just because you have more overall experience doesn’t mean you know more or have more experience in a specific area. Often the people I was managing on projects needed a lot of help as they didn’t understand differences between industry/consulting or were really new to tools I’ve been supporting for quite some time.

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Do u have more experience in consulting then the person? Cuz that’s more of a Factor than just YoE

like

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