Making Room for the next generation

I recently went through the process of interviewing candidates for a position on my team. We decided this time though, that we had enough senior and mid-level people and that we would bring in some junior talent. This serves two purposes – bringing new blood into the organization that isn’t jaded by the work world yet and gives the senior people someone to mentor and to guide, thereby providing a growth opportunity at all the levels.

The interviews went well and we saw quite a lot of talented folks. We even narrowed it down to two really qualified candidates, eventually deciding on one to make an offer to. That part all went great.

What I noticed though, was my own reaction was different than in the past. For the first time, I felt old. Not only were these candidates young, they were kids. They could realistically even be my own kid. Yikes! What the hell happened here.

For the first time I feel like there isn’t the old fogey / learned wise one that I get to learn from – I have become that person. It’s a very disconcerting feeling to have full realization of this cycle of change, of this passing of knowledge and wisdom, of being the one on the end run of a career instead of the beginning of a career when everything is new and unknown.

I like to think I am mid-career and according to many definitions and books about such things, I am right on schedule. But that said, I am having to come to grips with this feeling and am working to figure what I do about it. I am excited to build out the team with people bringing a fresh perspective and excitement to the company. I do, however, have to remind myself to not call this new team member “the kid” or other such inappropriate terms and to be a mentor and guide.

current: partner, tangible user experience :: a full-service user experience design consulting firm. former Yahoo! founder of the public and internal Yahoo! pattern library. dse. design director of ued teams responsible for designing solutions across key yahoo! platforms: social media, personalization, membership and vertical search.