When we enter a new workplace, sometimes we have to humble ourselves slightly.
There are, of course, going to be people there who know more than we do and have achieved more than we have, confided the “Am I the A**hole?” (AITA) subReddit.
Redditor krcg88 understood this and was surprised when a new hire could not accept this.
When she repeatedly voiced her concerns about having to report to him as the manager, since he was younger than her, the Original Poster (OP) knew there were likely going to be problems.
He asked the sub:
“AITA for telling my coworker to get over herself?”
The OP was training a new employee.
“I am a manager at a clothing store. I am the only guy and the youngest manager by about 10 years (30 if we ignore our GM, [General Manager]).”
“I act as the closing manager, so I’m here 5 nights a week with no other manager for 2-3 hours a day. All of this will be painfully relevant.”
“I have been training a new associate for about 2 weeks. She’s in her late 40s, let’s call her Jane.”
Recently, he noted a strange behavior.
“She’s had a number of closing shifts with me where we both start at the middle of the day and then work until close, the last 2 hours with just us.”
“Recently I noticed Jane will call any manager except me for help. It started once I let her work on her own without me being literally right there.”
“Usually, the managers will call me over because I’m better with computers. Out of 5 managers, we have 2 under 55 and the other, our GM, doesn’t like the registers.”
Not reaching out to the OP started causing issues in the workplace.
“This came to a head 2 nights ago. Jane was working with a notoriously difficult guest, except he isn’t always difficult. It’s 50/50, either pleasant or horrid.”
“I lingered at the registers while she helped him.”
“It was a difficult day, so he asked to speak to the manager.”
“I started to come over when Jane told him, ‘Unfortunately, the manager stepped out. She will be back in the morning.'”
“The guy just looked at me and kinda cocked his head, ‘Did you get a demotion, bud?'”
The OP confronted Jane.
“I stepped in and solved the problem, but after he left, I asked her what that was all about.”
“She laid out that it’s embarrassing to have to call someone who could be her child for help.”
“I reminded her that despite my age, I have several years of experience.”
“She just kept saying it’s embarrassing to any point I brought up, and then she tried to say I was too young to have this much responsibility. I shouldn’t be closing on my own, I am just too young.”
“I tried to keep a level head, but that statement truly upset me.”
“I admit I lashed out with this and I shouldn’t have, but I told her to get over herself because she’s working in an industry where a lot of people my age are in management roles. (I would like to note that I did not yell, but I was curt.)”
“The rest of the night was really awkward.”
Upper management then became involved.
“Cut to today, my manager sat me down in the office to talk to me about how Jane wanted to go to HR (Human Resources) because I was being a bully.”
“I told her my side of the story and she said that my story felt more… based in reality.”
“The store is divided. Some say I could’ve been more professional and taken the mature approach and not blown up, but others are saying that she’s being ageist.”
“So I’m torn. I know I could’ve been more mature and nicer, but on the other hand, I’m just a kid, so I shouldn’t be expected to act like an adult. (This isn’t a legitimate statement. I am angry and needed a moment of pettiness.)”
“Am I the a**hole for telling my coworker to get over herself because she wouldn’t accept that I’m her manager?”
Fellow Redditors weighed in:
- NTA: Not the A**hole
- YTA: You’re the A**hole
- ESH: Everybody Sucks Here
- NAH: No A**holes Here
Some thought Jane was being incredibly insubordinate.
“NTA. She literally lied to a customer. She should not have a job if she cannot respect her boss.” – Scared_Weather1672
“NTA. Jane does need to get over herself! Experience matters much more than age, and Jane either needs to learn that or leave. If this continues, go to your boss or HR again. It’s unacceptable behavior.” – Subject-Inspection95
“NTA. She is the rogue element, here. She is the one who doesn’t respect the chain of command. It will cause more problems than just this.” – Impossible-Pause3788
“Where is the rule that you lie about a manager not being present, despite them standing right there on the shop floor?”
“You are being far too lenient on this woman, it isn’t a series of misunderstandings, it’s an overarching ego issue.” – Buffy_Geek
“She doesn’t get to choose which managers she respects, except if she chooses to seek other employment.”
“In the future, don’t bite back. Simply write her up. Or anyone else who is directly insubordinate, especially in front of a customer.”
“You have actual authority derived from the chain of command, if you want to be a people manager, use it instead of trying to verbally box with folks.” – dbag127
Others agreed and definitely thought Jane was being ageist with her repeated concerns.
“She lied to a customer to cover her own incompetence, not to mention her own insecurities.”
“I’m curious (and wouldn’t be surprised if) she felt slighted by OP becoming a manager because she feels her age makes her more qualified, experience be d**ned.” – Crackinggood
“It’s not even that OP was made manager before her, she only just started working there! OP was the manager from before she even started working for the customers.”
“She’s just sour that her supervisor is younger than her.” – NoPersonality276
“I had this happen. I was 19 and only worked there for 6~ months and actually was planning on finding a new job because they only gave part-time unless you were a supervisor or higher. And I was always asked for help by other coworkers even though they were at the same level or higher than me (including the one below).”
“Sure enough, literally days before I planned on quitting (I didn’t have a new job lined up yet but I had savings so I was gonna take a break anyway), they promoted me. My coworker who had been there 2~ years was so upset. She was in her 60s and wanted seniority, all while coming to me for help.”
“Eventually, they promoted her to stop her fussing and I know they didn’t like her performance, but I left not long after (it was a year~ later) and we didn’t really have the same shifts.” – Aggressive-Meet1832
“If she can’t respect you, send her home every time. That’s what I had to do when I became a floor manager at 19.”
“I had one employee who wouldn’t listen, thus wouldn’t do her job, because ‘I was young enough to be her daughter’ (so she didn’t think she had to do go-backs [returning items to proper locations around the store]).”
“So I called my boss and sent her home, over and over and over and over. She eventually stopped with the bull.” – fox13fox
“NTA. Yeah, you could have kept your cool better. But she really does need to get over herself.”
“I don’t think I have a single manager/supervisor older than me. In my industry, it’s because you have to be young enough to not realize the level of stress and abuse you’re signing up for. But they are almost universally nice kids who are doing their best and I’m not going to bust their chops for literally being younger than my son.”
“Plus, my son was the youngest operations manager in his company, at 22. So I’m really not going to bag on young managers.” – Alarming-Revenue-171
“Sadly, I can see myself feeling like Jane. It CAN be embarrassing.”
“It doesn’t matter how embarrassing it is though. It doesn’t change the truth that her more experienced, qualified manager is younger than she is.”
“If she is unable to make her peace with that, wish her the best of luck in finding a position that will allow her to hang on to that pride that seems so important to her.” – Sewasmiles
After receiving feedback, the OP shared an update.
“I came into work a couple of minutes early and I got caught up in a call with our DM (District Manager).”
“It turns out Jane called her cell phone after the GM (General Manager) told her to stop acting the way she was.”
“The DM called bs on her story, partially because our DM knows me, and also because the GM sent an email with the stories from her, the guest, and myself.”
“When our DM didn’t believe her, Jane decided she was not coming back. So … problem solved, I guess?”
While it’s unfortunate that the employee felt the need to walk away from her position over this altercation, her decision also speaks loudly about how adamantly embarrassed she was of reporting to a manager who was younger than her.
When someone is that insistent, the subReddit knows that it’s hard to make any genuine progress.