Working with someone smarter

Thread Starter


Joined May 23, 2009
So I'm an EE student who has been working in a company for a year now.
A new student will start working here this week.

I received his resume from a friend and since it was very impressive (he excelled in everything that he's done in his life and also excels in university) I handed it to my boss which accepted the guy right away.

I'm really happy that this guy starts working here since I feel this guy has a great potential to succeed in this field, but this thought has come to my mind that soon he might start taking control of everything and will do things better than me and that way I'll be given the less challenging missions, my boss will trust him more, etc.

How should I cope with this new situation?

I must say that during this year I worked pretty much alone so I have little experience in working in a team.


Joined Jul 7, 2009
These are natural concerns and happen to all of us. The key is to focus on your skills and abilities and make yourself valuable to the company and not worry about what the others are doing. Sure, take notes, emulate where appropriate, but use your own initiative and skills to figure out how to do the best job.

You'll also find that people, like equipment and machines, can differ a lot from their datasheets. :)

A great piece of advice is to learn all you can about the "softer" sides of doing your work. This includes learning about people skills, basic psychology, what motivates people, etc. The stereotypical engineer/scientist is poor in these skills -- not necessarily true in my experience, but probably a bit more than average. These are topics almost never covered in a technical education, yet they drive everything that happens to you. A great starting point is Dale Carnegie's "Winning Friends and Influencing People" -- a classic. Memorize and practice everything in that book -- you'll be miles (kilometers?) ahead of those who don't. Trust me, I learned this one the hard way... :p


Joined Apr 26, 2005
Ever hear the phrase looks good on paper? That is replayed many times per annum all over the world.

A few books to improve your soft skillset .... - a 1967 book titled "Managers for Tomorrow, a modern psychological approch to the managerial process.

A good book illustrating good leadership is ... It's your Ship, by Capt D. Michael Abrashoff. A good book illustrating poor leadership is ... The Arnheiter Affair, by Neil Sheehan.

When you go for your first supervisory position, I would recommend "Managers for Tomorrow". It covers a host of topics from the concerns of managers through Survival and Growth in a changing world. I know it's not a comtemporary work, but you should glean a lot of good information from it. Besides, it's under a buck at amazon these days.


Joined Apr 25, 2008
I can never think of ( Dale Carnegie's name) when I tell a story about reading resume's of Important people and how long they are. The past Chief of the modern Seminole Nation his resume Is the sum total of ( Dale Carnegie Course ) the tribe Is worth Billion's thru out the country.
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Joined Aug 15, 2007
"(he excelled in everything that he's done in his life and also excels in university)"

Did he excel, or did he have "mental lapses" about things at which he did not excel? OR, did he just do things at which he knew he could not fail?

I was reading about a young lady who aced her college courses, then could not get a job. Why? She was afraid of failing and thus never tried.

But, maybe this is the Employee from Heaven. If he's not totally conceited, you can probably learn a lot from him. In fact, you can probably learn a lot from him even if his favorite song is "How Great I Am"! -- you'll learn what NOT to do.

Don't sweat it,


Joined Feb 28, 2009
Learn from him and be yourself. As someonesdad said, there is more to being a valued employee than just your technical skills. A display of natural curiosity, communications skills, willingness to learn, ability to get along with others, etc. will carry more weight than just technical excellence if that technical excellence doesn't also carry the other attributes when companies look for advancement candidates..