Feel your power

Joey Garcia

My new supervisor is 27 years old—my son’s age. I have more experience than she does and applied for her position. Before she arrived, I would meet directly with my department manager. Now, my supervisor meets with the department manager, and then sends me an email with tasks—no context. I’m feeling out of the loop. When I try to get more information, she doesn’t respond. Neither does our manager. I’m frustrated but need this job. Advice?

Yes; stop splitting your mental energy between your past life as a manager and your current life as an employee. Live now. Draw confidence from your awareness of the long view, but stop demanding your supervisor’s allegiance to that past. Step into the student-teacher archetype and round out your soft skills. Be like a student—open to what you can learn about yourself and your industry, and like a teacher—available if someone asks you for instruction.

When you talk to your supervisor, listen to yourself. Yes, really. Stop thinking about what you want her to know. Listen to what falls out of your mouth. One of the most challenging aspects of managing older, especially male, employees is their tendency to pontificate.

Ever sit in an auditorium and listen to a religious leader sermonize? It’s obvious to any honest person that he doesn’t have a clue, right? Don’t be that guy! Pontificating makes a person sound pompous and out-of-touch. Curate your thoughts. Soften your ego. It will set the groundwork for you to learn how to be employable. Stop trying to prove you have more experience than the person you’re chatting with. Accept your supervisor’s authority. Age is just a number. Older isn’t better. Younger isn’t better, either. What matters is how we all get along and grow as we do the work that moves us, and our planet, forward.

One last thing: when you request more information on projects be sure your requests are legit. If those requests intend to prove that your chain of command doesn’t know squat, don’t expect answers. Microaggressions at work are a thing, and you might be a source of these annoying behaviors without realizing it. But if you are missing details you need to do your job, ask for a face-to-face meeting with your supervisor. Be specific about the info you need and ask for the best way to acquire it.

I’m 22 and have been cheated on six times. I felt like a loser until I opened up to friends (all early 20s). We’re all having the same problem. WTF is going on?

Always have a direct convo with a potential partner about your expectations around fidelity. Developmentally, the 20s are about exploring who you are and learning how to negotiate independence, dependence, and interdependence. In the process, 20-somethings tend to make decisions based on feelings, rather than values. A hookup might feel right even if it conflicts with a person’s stated values. But feelings are transient. If you’ve had partners who live primarily by their feelings, don’t mimic them by taking their cheating personally. It’s not about you. You don’t have to tolerate cheating, either. Move on to someone who respects you.

Meditation of the week
“Intellectuals solve problems. Geniuses prevent them,” wrote Albert Einstein. Do you begin with the end in mind?

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