Working for someone younger than you - would it bother you?

But . . . are your mannerisms and perceived attitude saying something different?

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Yeah, that sucks. “I’m right and you’re wrong” conversations never go well. In my experience, if someone can quickly bring up a spreadsheet/document to look at what’s being questioned and then you can work together through the reasoning.

i should have said earlier that I prefer “their attitude” to “their behaviour”.

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The first time i had a boss younger than i was, i did think about it a bit. But fortunately, she was an excellent boss, and we had a very good relationship.

I did, many years later, have a young boss who drove me nuts. In part, she was just a toxic manager (more to some other employees than to me) but in part it was because she didn’t get things because she was young.

So, as i was considering applying for new jobs internally, she felt it was her job to mentor me (mistake one, she had vastly less experience than i) and (mistake two) her advice was horrible. I told her as much. I mean, i didn’t say, “that’s horrible advice”. I said, “no, i don’t think it would be helpful for me to look for roles that emphasize areas I’m weak at. That can make sense for a new employee who is weak at something because they’ve never seriously tried it, and who is building up capabilities. But I’m 50. I’m really strong at analysis, and mediocre at project management. So i want to play to my strengths, and apply for roles where i will be highly successful and help the company, not roles where i will struggle. These roles that need a really good analyst, someone who can figure out why the business is underperforming in these areas, look like the roles i should apply for.”

Anyway, if you are dealing with an employee who seems to resent your youth:

  • Are they actually bitter that they don’t have your job? Did they apply for it? Not much you can do about that one, but it can be helpful to understand if there’s an issue there.
  • Avoid being condescending. No one likes condescending managers, but it’s worse when they are younger or less experienced than you.
  • They need to respect that it’s your responsibility that the work gets done, so they need to meet your standards.
  • But you need to listen to why they might have different ideas about appropriate standards, and explain why you are right (or adopt their standards if you aren’t.) Why you are right can include that you need to sign off on the work.

Overall, I like all of @NerdAlert 's advice and comments in this thread.

Also, this is a little weird:

How much older are they? Why do they have so little experience?


Yes!!! I’m a career changer so I’ve had younger bosses, no biggie. And a boss who was maybe like 1 month older than me but essentially my same age. But when a boss (of any age) treats you like you’re straight out of college even though you have decades of business experience that’s maddening.


I am very fortunate that I have not encountered this, because I can absolutely recognize it in other people’s experiences. I have completely switched fields within the actuarial profession twice. The first time, my boss recognized what I brought to the table (that’s why he hired me, after all) and where I needed developed, and I really appreciated that. The second time, I was working on a product where I had vast experience from the consumer side, but not the carrier side, so it was a similar situation.

I really enjoy working with career changers, they bring a good, unique, mature POV to the team. Yeah, they still need to be educated on the actuarial and sometimes insurance side of things, but they often already understand office politics, communication style, accepting and providing feedback, and are usually faster to develop in general. I try to hire as many career changers as I’m allowed to each year into our company’s rotation program, because I can’t recall the last one I hired that was not a good decision (I’m sure it happens, though).


My current boss has been younger than I for, oh, 15 years now.
I think I’m ok with it.

But, funny thing I’ve learned from my years of experience and living that you probably don’t have: people are different, even actuaries. Not all are emotionless automatons following Asimov’s three laws or Robocop’s four Directives. Some have feelings, feelings of an almost human nature.
Now, I understand that you are too young to N these R’s, but I don’t think less of you for it. They’re inside stuff for the oldsters.

Anywho, based on their upbringing or genetics (or both), their personalities develop emotional needs. You, as boss, need to both recognize and exploit these needs.

I hope this helps, you whippersnapper!

once worked as an analyst for a non-insurance company and they put in a manager 20 yrs my junior. Some smooth talking ivy league dude mba. I was wary at first but we actually hit it off and I think he learned a lot from me and I actually picked up a few new things from him


i remember my first assignment was get an inventory of office supplies and create an order if anything was needed. And he wasn’t even my manager but my managers manager. What a douche

So… 16 years ago he was older than you??? Are you Benjamin Button?


I’ve had bosses that were younger than me. More than once. Twice, my younger boss was female. No big deal. As long as I’m treated fairly and I’m not subordinate to someone who’s lesser qualified, with a lesser (no) credential, whatever.

I’ve reported to an ACAS while I was a fellow, and reported to non-actuaries before. This was not an issue for me.

RN to all three references!!

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I worked for a non-actuary who was younger than i and had less insurance experience. His job was to manage the team, and mine was to do technical actuarial stuff, and to teach the non-actuaries about actuarial concepts relevant to their jobs. He was great. I loved working for him.


My boss is slightly younger. I took forever to get my FSA and that slowed my advancement. I wanted the job I have.

I’m more tempted to be bummed about some higher up changes that involve younger people. I feel like the GenX’ers at the company were kind of given the side eye. The new bosses will be ok, but there were other more qualified people who were overlooked. OTOH, the one closest to me is someone I expected to be my higher up at some point. Just not yet.

Gen Xers - slackers. Party on! (and be excellent to each other)

Anyway, to answer the thread title, rather than the detailed question if the op: I’m old. It would be really weird if I’d never reported to anyone younger than me. It’s something almost everyone who isn’t self-employed will eventually face.

The first time it happened, it felt slightly weird, but it wasn’t depressing, because i was happy with my career progression. (And my younger boss was an excellent, experienced actuary, and a good boss.) I suppose if I’d been a lot more ambitious i might have felt differently.

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I’ve never reported to someone younger than me but when I first got my FSA I report up to an ASA. That was short lived though since I got a new manager shortly after I got credentialed (for real credentialed😉)

I’m sure I’ll inevitably wind up working for someone younger than me but I don’t mind as long as that paycheck keeps hitting the bank every other Friday. I wouldn’t mind reporting to a bird - just keep printing those paystubs for me

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I have had bosses younger and older than me: I have no hang ups about our relative ages. Competence was all that mattered to me and I have been fortunate to have always had competent bosses.


This. I think I’d only be “depressed” if I’d applied for the same position and a less competent person was hired for that role.