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Middle child syndrome is a real thing. It’s documented. Professionals say middle children often feel overlooked and undervalued compared to their siblings. Have you seen those TikTok videos of siblings where the oldest says, “I’m the oldest, of course, I had to blah blah blah,” then the middle child starts to say, “I’m the middle child,” and the video cuts to the youngest child? They’re funny but painfully so, with the comments section filled with many middle children feeling the pain.

Well, let me introduce you to the middle child in our home, Bruno Mars Muniz. In case you haven’t guessed, he’s a dog, one of four in our home. He is our “middle child.”

Bruno came to us when he was just 8 weeks old. We bought him to replace a dog that we had to rehome (heartbreaking) because she did not like other dogs. We were down to three, and I’m a weirdo who likes to have dogs in even numbers. Each dog needs a companion. Don’t judge me!

Enter Bruno Mars, so named by our teenage daughter at the time because of her love for the artist. So, he was actually the baby when he came to live with us. We fussed and still do over him but quickly came to realize that his personality did not include “lap dog” or “snuggler.” He’s a part-timer. He would get on my lap and snuggle when he felt like it and only for a few minutes. We came to accept that and left him alone except when he wanted attention.

As he’s gotten older, he’s become a little more of a lap dog and snuggly. But here’s what happened. We’ve gotten new dogs upon the passing of two of our girls, so he’s been replaced as the baby and is now really the middle child. And…the two new dogs love lots of attention and fight to get on a lap and snuggle. Poor Bruno. By the time I’ve rubbed bellies and had a million kisses from the two girls, I’m too tired to rub him and snuggle with him for as long as he wants. He gets a couple of rubs and a “go lay down,” from his mean, tired momma. And he looks so sad, but he does one of two things: he lays down and leaves me alone, or he persists until he’s getting my attention for as long as he wants.

That happens at work too. As a leader of people, the needy employees get most of the attention, and our steady Eddys get “go back to work,” when they need something because we’re worn out. Psychologists highlight this behavior, noting that middle children, who often exhibit reliability and independence, can sometimes be overlooked in favor of those who demand more immediate attention. We know we can count on you, so we give you less attention. Like Bruno, you have a choice and decision to make; you can go back to work, OR you can persist until you get our attention and our help.

We see you steady Eddys. We see you middle children. We’re grateful for you even when we don’t show it. Persist. Don’t give up. We can’t do it without you.

As a middle child in real life or at work, you likely possess traits that are incredibly valuable in the professional world, especially during career transitions. Here’s how you can leverage those traits as noted by psychologists:

  1. Independence and Resilience: Middle children often grow up learning to be self-reliant and adaptable. Use this independence to navigate career shifts with confidence. Take initiative in learning new skills and adapting to new environments.
  2. Creative Problem-Solving: Middle children are known for their creativity and resourcefulness. Use these skills to think outside the box in your new career. Highlight your ability to come up with innovative solutions to potential employers.
  3. Diplomacy and Mediation: As the natural peacemakers, middle children excel in roles that require negotiation and conflict resolution. Showcase these skills during job interviews and in your resume.
  4. Building Strong Relationships: Middle children often develop strong social networks outside the family. Utilize these networking skills to connect with industry professionals, attend events, and seek out mentorship opportunities.

Remember, like Bruno, you might not always get the immediate attention you deserve, but your persistence, creativity, and resilience will pay off. Keep pushing forward and use your unique middle child traits to shine in your career. We see you, and we appreciate you. Persist and thrive!

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