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Senior and Junior

By jiansec ·
Hello, forum,
I came cross a difficult situation and need some adivice.

I was recently hired as a senior in a huge consulting company. Meantime,
A junior/new graduates was hired two weeks before me.

My seat is beside the junior who is also from my country and she is a Ph.D. We did talk a lot but not became friend yet. ( I prefer to maintain a professional relationship in workplace).

I was assigned the first client project yesterday but not the junior. She became upset. The junior asked me that if she can join the project. I am the only one for this project. I told her I was happy to work with her. But this is my first project and I am still in learning curve to adapt myself to the new company. I might not have enough time and energy to coach her. Also, this project does not suit to junior without any experience. But she insisted to join and said I should understand her situation and give her this opportunity because nobody helps her. I knew she had a lot of difficulties for her first job and I?d like to help her. But I felt she was rude and unprofessional too. Well, since I was not a skillful/politically smart one, I told her that she needed to talk to manager about it. ( I found I made a wrong move here later. I should be the one who charged). Manager agreed she can work with me.

I later found she liked to catch a job but doesn?t want to learn the basic methodologies and background knowledge. I want to be nice but I don?t want my project to be fucked up.
I dropped a line to manager explaining she needs more training and not suit able to this project at this time. I can imagine that she is going to hate me. It is not fun.

Am I doing right? How do you handle this situation?

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When I was a junior......

by jiansec In reply to Senior and Junior

When I was a junior, I was always polite to ask opportunity. I never complained that nobody helped me which I thought it was normal. I tried to learn as much as I can and figured it out by myself. I considered every help was a favor and really appreciated it. Ironically, I seldom failed when I needed help from senior. I don't understand her attitude and feel very uncomfortable.

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Just a note

by BFilmFan In reply to Senior and Junior

You might want to edit your message. I am sure you meant to "coach" and not "couch" your junior peer. Unless you are in the film industry or something...

And it appears that your peer knows how to work the system in the office to get choice projects, nothing wrong in and of itself in that regard. I'd advise that you assign work to her and carbon copy the manager on the assignment. Give her honest feedback on her efforts. Mentor her in the field.

I noticed you said in your message "from your country." If you happen to be from a culture that tends to put women at home, barefoot and pregnant (Note I am from the Southern United States and grew up listening to this manner of nonsense and a great deal of much uglier things), that you get over it and move on.

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the culture

by jiansec In reply to Just a note

We are from the culture that if you say no directly, it will be considered rude and not nice. Nothing related to women.

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Yep bad move

by Tony Hopkinson In reply to Senior and Junior

You are the junior's current best chance at not being the junior anymore. That's what they want, you want and your company wants. I don't have time is not an option.

Tell management the junior wants to come on, board, that you think it would be good for them ,that this may have an impact on the project timeline. That you need help coping with this, more time or something else for the junior to do.

All you've done here is tell the junior and your manager you can't cope with mentoring and and a project at the same time. Definitely a bad start.

On your point about the junior not wanting to learn the basics. Not wanting doesn't come into it, simply point out that they won't achieve what they want without it. You are the senior they want to become, you know the basics, so they need to know the basics.

Strangely enough I started on my first official senior position with a junior who had a masters and an MBA. He listened though, find out why yours isn't. That was six years ago, if I ever work with him again, I expect he'll be in charge of me.

Go for a beer after work and talk about it. The junior needs to know you are not standing in their way, but needs to know what you require from them.

You are going to have to work your *** off to rescue this situation, hopefully, you'll take some of the pointers and realise you haven't done your best here and start solving problems instead of identifying them.

Pep talk over, don't take it personal. I bet I've screwed up more times than you.

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her degree is higher than me

by jiansec In reply to Yep bad move

she is Ph.D. I am not sure this is the reason?

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Could be

by Tony Hopkinson In reply to her degree is higher than ...

I have n't even got a degree. I've met a few newbies who thought this meant they were 'better' at the job than me.

Sit down and have a think, are you feeling challenged by her academic excellence. Why, it's applying academic knowledge to real world problems that is the key. You have been doing that, that's why you are a senior.

So she's got more paper than you, big deal, until she proves otherwise all she is , is a highly educated idiot. You never stop learning and you've been doing it for longer so you know more.

Give your ego a good massage, you'll feel better for it.

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The education is not the final factor

by PsiFiScout In reply to Could be

I am somewhat new to IT (started in '9 but I do have 22 years of previous personnel management experience from military service. As a Non Commissioned Officer (Sergeant for you civilians) I was constantly placed in the position you seem to have. I was the one with the experience and having to teach those who outranked me (new Lieutenants). They had the college and the rank, but I had the experience. Some Commissioned Officers were good some were bad but under my watch, all got trained. The excuse of "I don't have time" is not an option. You need to make time. If it means cutting into your free time so be it. Mentoring is not for the 'faint of heart' it is the territory that comes with being in charge. I have had a variety of experiences with "superiors" that ranged from the type who understood that they were merely college kids in uniform, to those who thought that the rank made them geniuses. But learned the job, some easily others not so easily.

Mentor your subordinates and follow direction from the boss and it is hard to go wrong.

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Tough Call

by mjd420nova In reply to Senior and Junior

At the risk of your own reputation and Job, Don't stick your neck out until you have the
position in hand and have established your
standing before taking on trainees. If
neccesary provide some reading material and
whatever else you can find to get her grounded
before trying some hands on. I've had to work
with a lot of people who talked their way
into the job and wanted to rely on others to
do the work. Shortcuts will only get them in

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I agree..

by Mighty Scot In reply to Tough Call

Hi OP,

I agree with the above response. You see - I have learnt from the past that you cannot ride two horses at the same time.

Hence first make sure you have got the project in control before taking her onboard.

And if the junior is not willing to learn basis, you should write an email explaining that unless she gets grip of the basics there is not a lot you can help/mentor her.

Golden rule - whatever you do, make sure the person you and she reporting to is aware of.

Good luck :-)

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Not Your Decision - Who Is In Charge?

by Wayne M. In reply to Senior and Junior

Your reply merely needs to be, "I am not in the position to make staffing decisions. Please talk to (name of appropriate line or project manager)."

The assignment of staff to projects is done via conversations between the line and project managers. Particularly in consulting, additional staff cannot just walk in and start working on and billing to the project. Some sort of cost proposal has been submitted and accepted by the client concerning how many people will work on the project and what the client will be billed. If it is a U.S. government client, it is illegal for someone to perform unauthorized work on the contract. In house work can be a little less formal, but at the very least, Junior's manager needs to make the decisions.

Staff assignments have budget considerations. Politely refer Junior to the managers who have budget authority on the project. You have no further responsibility, not even to make a recommendation (I doubt it would be possible to make a recommendation after only one day on the project).

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