Depending on who you ask, birth order can hold major implications for personality development later in life. Experts regularly make claims using birth order as a basis; first-borns tend to be confident extroverts, youngest children are sociable and independent…
And second-born children? Well, according to Parents Magazine, their fate may involve becoming subpar employees (cue my maniacal laughter as I, a first-born child, send this link to my sister). Parents cites a 2017 study conducted by MIT, the University of Florida, and Northwestern University, which concluded that second-born children (particularly second-born sons) develop more behavior-based issues and complications than their first-born counterparts.
The universities’ study included thousands of families from Denmark and Florida, providing a strong sample size to allow them to make educated estimations. To explain the study’s conclusion, Parents quotes author Joseph Doyle and his team, who claim that:
"We consider differences in parental attention as a potential contributing factor to the gaps in delinquency across the birth order. Second-born children tend to have less maternal attention than do their older siblings."
Also, the tendency of second-born children to admire and try to emulate their first-born siblings can lead them to follow and attach to less-than-mature behaviors (sorry, sis). According to Doyle, “the firstborn has role models, who are adults. And the second, later-born children have role models who are slightly irrational 2-year-olds, you know, their older siblings.”
So, what does this say about the connection between birth order and job performance for these second-borns? Definitely nothing conclusive. But because second-borns may be more likely to hold onto an anti-authoritarian streak, it’s important for them to monitor their own reactions to their managers and to avoid rebelling just for the sake of it. Also, remember that second-born and middle children also have a reputation for being excellent listeners and strong team players, and they can use these attributes to their (and to their company’s) advantage.