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Middle Child Syndrome? 15 Things Only Middle Children Will Understand

Middle Child Syndrome? 15 Things Only Middle Children Will Understand

On the big stage of life, we tend to NOT be the main act.  Are we happy to be the center of attention at the after party?  No, not that either.  We middle born are content to conduct the whole performance without accolades but with a sense of fulfillment that comes from a lifetime of patience and perseverance.  Known as the diplomats of birth order, we have the ability to approach others in a conciliatory manner and bring together successful outcomes without the angst of being the “needy baby” or the contentious firstborn.

1.  Middle of the pack?  We like it!

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    Forced by circumstance to wait behind an alpha child, then wait while the omega child caught up, we found our niche moving within a pack.  Our parents tended to let us excel at our own pace (no attention span left for us) and with that came the chance to actually understand what gave us the most satisfaction.  One successful middle who took of advantage of this and freely explored the world and his potential was none other than Theodore Roosevelt Middle trivia:  Of all the presidents since 1787, 52% have been middle children.

    2.  The good stuff is always in the middle.

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      All middles know that the juicy tidbits of life are buried within the crusty confines of family drama.  It’s that knowledge that allowed us to be eager recipients of older siblings’ rants (messy and valuable family details to be exploited later) as well as the soothing listener to the over-indulged baby (if the baby got something, then we all did just to be fair.)  Our siblings gave us the first taste of getting “something for nothing” in the way of information or product.  We learned at their sides that we didn’t have to be LOUD to be successful; we could quietly take advantage of a situation without threatening our own well-being.  One quiet but determined entrepreneur was very good at this!  Bill Gates

      3.  Middle Child Syndrome Misconceptions

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        Can’t we all just get along?  This phrase may be mostly what middle children are known for; media depictions of the oft neglected “other child” have helped to cement that status.  These CRAZY CHARACTERS aren’t indicative of real life success but add to the stereotype of what it means to be a middle child.  Although the lackluster middles may make the most noise about being ignored, etc., statistics prove they’re well prepared to be as successful or more so than their siblings.  READ MORE

        4.  Creative is our middle child name!

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          Who has time to be creative in today’s world?  Um, we middles have always had the advantage of time.  Whether we were stuck waiting with our parents for the older child’s activities to finish OR waiting around for the younger one to catch up, we were stuck!  All of that extra time honed our patience and also expanded our imagination.  Whether art, literature, or gaming, we got in a lot of time-filling practice.  Middle trivia:  Madonna, Julia Roberts, David Letterman are later born creatives.

          5.  Pressure points

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            Common sense dictates that if something is going to explode, it will go through the top and/or bottom.  And we learned this early on by watching the tribulations of our siblings.  The eldest was often held to an unrealistic expectation of success and when they fell short, kaboom!  The youngest was prone to playing “catch up” with the hindrance of age and inexperience catapulting them to failure…kaboom!  We middles are known to complain about never being noticed for our accomplishments but we enjoy our pressure free zone, failing or succeeding at our own pace.

            6.  Measuring Expectations of Middle Children

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              It’s happened to all of us later born children.  If we attend the same school as our older sibling(s) then their success or lack thereof is tied to our perception.  Teachers tend to remark early on about our differences and then we are exposed to that bias.  We have been put on notice that we will be be observed NOT for our contributions but how we compare to our sibling.  UNFAIR!  But that’s life and we middles learned to accept it early on.  Fortunately, scientific research has yet to prove a perceptible difference in IQ due to birth order.  At most, they think it may cause a 1 point reduction in IQ for each subsequent later born child.  And how do most middles respond to that?  Who cares.  The study was probably done by a first born anyway….

              7.  Births of a feather flock together.

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                Years of dealing with family dynamics, the highs and lows of birth order, we who are middle born tend to find ourselves later with others of the same mindset.  In fact, recent studies point to the fact that we are drawn to people who reflect our experiences and values.  Could that mean that our natural tendency to be conciliatory would lead us to more successful relationships than our brethren?  The jury is still out on that one but it doesn’t stop this ONLINE dating service from offering its advice to the lovelorn.

                8.  Can I add “middle” to my résume?

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                #workplace station MGD©

                  The workforce is finally recognizing our many talents!  We are a valuable commodity to employers and it’s time to make room on the job application for birth order.  With references like THESE, we should be able to occupy the corner office in record time!

                  9.  Forget the high ground, we rule Middle Earth!

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                    Since ALFRED ADLER introduced his birth order theories in 1928, siblings have been categorized according to an accident of  timing.  Middle borns have become stereotyped as the “sandwich” child, the diplomat, or the rebel.  For the most part, we have kept the peace (in true fashion) and not made much fuss about our lot in life.  Some even argue that we have SECRET POWERS and that in itself is a departure from our obscurity.

                    10.  Surprise!  We middle children don’t care that much.

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                      We are in the middle of making a living, forming relationships, educating ourselves and becoming productive world citizens.  One thing that we rarely do is FRET over our birth order.  It is interesting to see others relegate us to the forgotten category of family member.  Although it makes for good copy, middle borns aren’t out in droves protesting against our elder and younger siblings.  What we understand is that everyone can struggle to find where they belong in the grand scheme of things.  Our perspective is broad based and if that is because of our birth order, who cares?  We’re happy to share our good fortune.

                      11. Middle children don’t depend on an arbitrary number to get our point across.  Who needs 15 points when 11 will do just fine.

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                      1 How to Get Motivated and Be Happy Every Day When You Wake Up 2 How to Start Over and Reboot Your Life When It Seems Too Late 3 7 Questions to Ask in a Job Interview That Will Impress the Interviewer 4 If You Think You’re in an Unhappy Marriage, Remember These 5 Things 5 Feeling Stuck in Life? How to Never Get Stuck Again

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                      Last Updated on March 14, 2019

                      7 Questions to Ask in a Job Interview That Will Impress the Interviewer

                      7 Questions to Ask in a Job Interview That Will Impress the Interviewer

                      Recruiters might hold thousands of interviews in their careers and a lot of them are reporting the same thing—that most candidates play it safe with the questions they ask, or have no questions to ask in a job interview at all.

                      For job applicants, this approach is crazy! This is a job that you’re going to dedicate a lot of hours to and that might have a huge impact on your future career. Don’t throw away the chance to figure out if the position is perfect for you.

                      Here are 7 killer questions to ask in a job interview that will both impress your counterpart and give you some really useful insights into whether this job will be a dream … or a nightmare.

                      1. What are some challenges I might come up against this role?

                      A lesser candidate might ask, “what does a typical day look like in this role?” While this is a perfectly reasonable question to ask in an interview, focusing on potential challenges takes you much further because it indicates that you already are visualizing yourself in the role.

                      It’s impressive because it shows that you are not afraid of challenges, and you are prepared to strategize a game plan upfront to make sure you succeed if you get the job.

                      It can also open up a conversation about how you’ve solved problems in the past which can be a reassuring exercise for both you and the hiring manager.

                      How it helps you:

                      If you ask the interviewer to describe a typical day, you may get a vibrant picture of all the lovely things you’ll get to do in this job and all the lovely people you’ll get to do them with.

                      Asking about potential roadblocks means you hear the other side of the story—dysfunctional teams, internal politics, difficult clients, bootstrap budgets and so on. This can help you decide if you’re up for the challenge or whether, for the sake of your sanity, you should respectfully decline the job offer.

                      2. What are the qualities of really successful people in this role?

                      Employers don’t want to hire someone who goes through the motions; they want to hire someone who will excel.

                      Asking this question shows that you care about success, too. How could they not hire you with a dragon-slayer attitude like that?

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                      How it helps you:

                      Interviewers hire people who are great people to work with, but the definition of “great people” differs from person to person.

                      Does this company hire and promote people with a specific attitude, approach, worth ethic or communication style? Are the most successful people in this role strong extroverts who love to talk and socialize when you are studious and reserved? Does the company reward those who work insane hours when you’re happiest in a more relaxed environment?

                      If so, then this may not be the right match for you.

                      Whatever the answer is, you can decide whether you have what it takes for the manager to be happy with your performance in this role. And if the interviewer has no idea what success looks like for this position, this is a sign to proceed with extreme caution.

                      3. From the research I did on your company, I noticed the culture really supports XYZ. Can you tell me more about that element of the culture and how it impacts this job role?

                      Of course, you could just ask “what is the culture like here? ” but then you would miss a great opportunity to show that you’ve done your research!

                      Interviewers give BIG bonus point to those who read up and pay attention, and you’ve just pointed out that (a) you’re diligent in your research (b) you care about the company culture and (c) you’re committed to finding a great cultural fit.

                      How it helps you:

                      This question is so useful because it lets you pick an element of the culture that you really care about and that will have the most impact on whether you are happy with the organization.

                      For example, if training and development is important to you, then you need to know what’s on offer so you don’t end up in a dead-end job with no learning opportunities.

                      Companies often talk a good talk, and their press releases may be full of shiny CSR initiatives and all the headline-grabbing diversity programs they’re putting in place. This is your opportunity to look under the hood and see if the company lives its values on the ground.

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                      A company that says it is committed to doing the right thing by customers should not judge success by the number of up-sells an employee makes, for instance. Look for consistency, so you aren’t in for a culture shock after you start.

                      4. What is the promotion path for this role, and how would my performance on that path be measured?

                      To be clear, you are not asking when you will get promoted. Don’t go there—it’s presumptuous, and it indicates that you think you are better than the role you have applied for.

                      A career-minded candidate, on the other hand, usually has a plan that she’s working towards. This question shows you have a great drive toward growth and advancement and an intention to stick with the company beyond your current state.

                      How it helps you:

                      One word: hierarchy.

                      All organizations have levels of work and authority—executives, upper managers, line managers, the workforce, and so on. Understanding the hierarchical structure gives you power, because you can decide if you can work within it and are capable of climbing through its ranks, or whether it will be endlessly frustrating to you.

                      In a traditional pyramid hierarchy, for example, the people at the bottom tend to have very little autonomy to make decisions. This gets better as you rise up through the pyramid, but even middle managers have little power to create policy; they are more concerned with enforcing the rules the top leaders make.

                      If having a high degree of autonomy and accountability is important to you, you may do better in a flat hierarchy where work teams can design their own way of achieving the corporate goals.

                      5. What’s the most important thing the successful candidate could accomplish in their first 3 months/6 months/year?

                      Of all the questions to ask in a job interview, this one is impressive because it shows that you identify with and want to be a successful performer, and not just an average one.

                      Here, you’re drilling down into what the company needs, and needs quite urgently, proving that you’re all about adding value to the organization and not just about what’s in it for you.

                      How it helps you:

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                      Most job descriptions come with 8, 10 or 12 different job responsibilities and a lot of them with be boilerplate or responsibilities that someone in HR thinks are associated with this role. This question gives you a better sense of which responsibilities are the most important—and they may not be what initially attracted you to the role.

                      If you like the idea of training juniors, for example, but success is judged purely on your sales figures, then is this really the job you thought you were applying for?

                      This question will also give you an idea of what kind of learning curve you’re expected to have and whether you’ll get any ramp-up time before getting down to business. If you’re the type of person who likes to jump right in and get things done, for instance, you may not be thrilled to hear that you’re going to spend the first three months shadowing a peer.

                      6. What do you like about working here?

                      This simple question is all about building rapport with the interviewer. People like to talk about themselves, and the interviewer will be flattered that you’re interested in her opinions.

                      Hopefully, you’ll find some great connection points that the two of you share. What similar things drive you head into the office each day? How will you fit into the culture?

                      How it helps you:

                      You can learn a lot from this question. Someone who genuinely enjoys his job will be able to list several things they like, and their answers will sound passionate and sincere. If not….well, you might consider that a red flag.

                      Since you potentially can learn a lot about the company culture from this question, it’s a good idea to figure out upfront what’s important to you. Maybe you’re looking for a hands-off boss who values independent thought and creativity? Maybe you work better in environments that move at a rapid, exciting pace?

                      Whatever’s important to you, listen carefully and see if you can find any common ground.

                      7. Based on this interview, do you have any questions or concerns about my qualifications for the role?

                      What a great closing question to ask in a job interview! It shows that you’re not afraid of feedback—in fact, you are inviting it. Not being able to take criticism is a red flag for employers, who need to know that you’ll act on any “coaching moments” with a good heart.

                      As a bonus, asking this question shows that you are really interested in the position and wish to clear up anything that may be holding the company back from hiring you.

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                      How it helps you:

                      What a devious beast this question is! On the surface, it looks straightforward, but it’s actually giving you four key pieces of information.

                      First, is the manager capable of giving you feedback when put on the spot like this? Some managers are scared of giving feedback, or don’t think it’s important enough to bother outside of a formal performance appraisal. Do you want to work for a boss like that? How will you improve if no one is telling you what you did wrong?

                      Second, can the manager give feedback in a constructive way without being too pillowy or too confrontational? It’s unfair to expect the interviewer to have figured out your preferred way of receiving feedback in the space of an interview, but if she come back with a machine-gun fire of shortcomings or one of those corporate feedback “sandwiches” (the doozy slipped between two slices of compliment), then you need to ask yourself, can you work with someone who gives feedback like that?

                      Third, you get to learn the things the hiring manager is concerned about before you leave the interview. This gives you the chance to make a final, tailored sales pitch so you can convince the interviewer that she should not be worried about those things.

                      Fourth, you get to learn the things the hiring manager is concerned about period. If turnover is keeping him up at night, then your frequent job hopping might get a lot of additional scrutiny. If he’s facing some issues with conflict or communication, then he might raise concerns regarding your performance in this area.

                      Listen carefully: the concerns that are being raised about you might actually be a proxy for problems in the wider organization.

                      Making Your Interview Work for You

                      Interviews are a two-way street. While it is important to differentiate yourself from every other candidate, understand that convincing the interviewer you’re the right person for the role goes hand-in-hand with figuring out if the job is the right fit for you.

                      Would you feel happy in a work environment where the people, priorities, culture and management style were completely at odds with the way you work? Didn’t think so!

                      More Resources About Job Interviews

                      Featured photo credit: Amy Hirschi via unsplash.com

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