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: experience matters design :: senior level interaction design and systems strategy consulting former partner, tangible user experience; Yahoo! founder of the public and internal Yahoo! pattern library. design director of ued teams responsible for designing solutions across key yahoo! platforms: social media, personalization, membership and vertical search.