Know-it-all youngsters make me fear for my job

DEAR HARRIETTE: I just joined a startup where most of the staff members are about half my age or younger. Of course, I am there because of my expertise.

Harriette Cole

The owners seem to like me a lot, but I feel a bit uncomfortable. The other employees could easily be my children. So far, none of them is senior to me in duties, but I know that’s only a matter of time.

How can I stay relevant when I’m surrounded by a group of smart, know-it-all young people — even when they don’t know what I do?

Aged Out

DEAR AGED OUT: It sounds like your insecurities are unfounded, at least right now.

A healthy work environment often represents multiple generations of employees, where each person has something unique to bring to the company. For a startup to have the vision to understand that you are as important as the native digital employee is smart.

I recommend that you change your attitude about yourself. Embrace all that you know, who you are and what you bring to your job. Hone your ability to share your knowledge in a natural, noncompetitive way. Work collaboratively, recognizing that your younger colleagues have knowledge and capabilities that you may not have.

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