Community Talks! Vol. 1, ep. 28
Before anything else, I want to encourage all of you to not take this article too seriously. I was very inspired by last week’s post about what cats teach you about love (if you have yet to read that post I encourage you to do so after reading this). The post made me think about the aspects of my life that have defined me and I must say that one of those things is me being the oldest sibling.
I have the pleasure of being the oldest of three sisters who are all close in age. So not only did my parents have three kids to manage, but they also had to deal with the sister dynamic and the mandatory wardrobe wars that follow. Being an adult now, I’ve left the wardrobe wars behind, and I am now navigating new environments and social settings. I can’t help but finding it funny how some of my personal traits or actions could be directly linked to my role as the oldest sister. I would however, like to clarify that this article is solely based on my own experience and somewhat prejudice and of course these traits or learnings are not limited to us oldest siblings but it’s fun to view it from that perspective, so bear with me. Thus, without further ado, please see below three things I’ve learned as the oldest child that I apply to at work.
Being the oldest automatically means you are in charge – jokingly I would say it is your birth right. This has entailed during my childhood strategizing and organizing family events. Making sure the younger ones are dressed, have set their alarms, and making sure that everyone is aligned on the goal—whatever that may be. Although this has not involved any traditional project management frameworks, it has given me a foundation of structure and accountability.
When you are three siblings there inevitably will be conflict. It might be a group fight, a disagreement between two, or the classic children versus parents. As the oldest, I found that my role was to find the common denominator. Being the closest in age to my parents, I served as the communicator or middleman. Defining the objective of the parties, understanding, and translating the perspectives. All of which I find quite useful if a conflict would occur in any other aspect of my life today.
Growing up, I heard the phrase: “Oh Ragnhild you’re amazing at delegating”, and it has often been said in a sarcastic tone of voice. It Implies that it may be a way of avoiding work or tasks. I can agree that in some instances having someone else do a task can be seen as something negative or unnecessary. For example, delegating the task of fetching the salt when I could have very easily got it. However, the art of delegating, I believe, is about identifying peoples’ strengths and making use of those to achieve the best results. Which is crucial in a work setting. An example of this growing up would be having my youngest sister ask if we could have McDonalds for dinner because she had the advantage of being young and way cuter than me.
So, I hope you all enjoyed reading this and most importantly I hope my fellow “eldest children” recognize themselves in some way. I would love to hear your thoughts on the sibling dynamics effect on you later in life. If we have any youngest or middle children who want to chime in, I would love to hear that as well!
P.S. I can’t write a whole article about me and my sisters without sharing a picture of us with you all. You can find a very young me to the right.
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