Does Birth Order Matter in Your Career?

As the oldest in a family of four kids, I was not surprised when, during my very first performance review, my kindergarten teacher Mrs. Collette gave me mixed feedback.

“You know your letters and are very imaginative, but you’re a bit bossy,” she told me.

To which I replied, “Well, I’m the oldest sister, so I’m used to running the show.”  

Anyone with siblings can probably relate to that situation – whether you were the one bossing your younger brother or sister around or the one forced to listen to your sibling simply because she was the oldest.  How about middle children – how many times did you get called the “the glue that sticks the family together” or thought you were “the ignored one” when you were growing up? For the babies in the family, how often were you told that you “were the rebellious one” or “had it easy?”

The great Malcom Gladwell says,  “Who we are cannot be separated from where we’re from.” Here at Delphic, we wanted to see if there were any correlations between where we’re from in the family sense and what we do every day – so we looked at birth order and career choice. We surveyed our employees and kicked up some interesting data (and you know how we love data). Disclaimer: I am in no way a Psychologist, so take no offense to any of these sweeping correlations and generalizations I’m about to make. We just thought this was an interesting exercise.

Client Services=Oldest

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Most of our Account Managers and Project Managers are oldest children. Why? Is there some correlation to the skills an eldest child develops to navigate their familial situation and that of running an account? Oldest children are often the ones that experience things first and may be used to having to forge the way – does that help when managing an account, where you’re in charge of “steering the client ship,” so to speak?

Developers=Middle

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Half of our developers are middle children. It makes you wonder if all that time spent being “ignored” helped develop a mind that could then focus on detailed, intricate problems – and thus turned them into coders today.

Marketing and Design=Youngest

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Both of these departments require creativity and a “thinking outside of the box mentality” – did a last place birth order help hone those mindsets? Perhaps by observing their older siblings’ triumphs and mistakes, the babies in the family had room to approach things differently… thus nurturing their creative sides a bit more.

So, does birth order affect the path you choose in your career life?  Perhaps… from our perspective, it certainly looks like it could influence it. 

 

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