College Grads: Tell Your Folks to Back Off

They are called helicopter parents, and for good reason. The term is used to denote parents who hover over their children, inserting themselves incessantly into the lives of their offspring, attempting to micromanage and control their lives.

Torrance Careers

If the above sounds like a description of YOUR parents, we know they mean well. They actually don’t realize they are going too far in taking over your lives, but see themselves rather as helping. They are not aware that they are doing more harm than good.

But employers are looking for people who can think independently, who can make decisions on their own, who have the motivation and drive from within. If your mom or dad gets involved, talking to a hiring manager or showing up to an interview (this DOES happen!), it makes the hiring manager question whether you have the maturity needed for the job. Bottom line: It reflects poorly on you.

Just a couple of truly egregious examples of parents “helping” their young-adult children in job interviews:

  • In the link above, a mother brought a cake to the company to help convince the hiring manager to hire her daughter.
  • Another mother asked if she could sit in during the interview and yet another parent Skyped in during the interview.
  • One woman even asked if she could be interviewed on behalf of her daughter!

In one study, about one-fourth of employers contacted reported that parents were involved during the hiring process for college seniors. Of those parents, only about four percent actually showed up for an interview, but about 40 percent were involved in researching companies, one-fourth advocated for their child, and another 15 percent complained to the company if their child did not get the job.

Face palm!

Career experts say that there are a number of ways that parents can be involved in their children’s job search without becoming too overbearing or obtrusive. If your parents are too involved, here are some tips on how to ask them to back off.

  1. Tell them you’re happy if they tell their own network of your job search.

Your folks can let their contacts know you’re looking for a job, but ask them to do no more than that. Your parents should just give the contact’s information and let you take the ball and run with it from there.

  1. If they ask, say yes to them offering to help you look for jobs.

Your parents definitely can help you by looking for job openings on job boards, company websites, social media and the like, and passing them along.

  1. Let them be your sounding board. And ONLY a sounding board.

Job hunting is stressful and often frustrating. Your parents can act as a sounding board for you when you need to complain and vent, and parents can offer advice. But your parents shouldn’t try to shield you from failure, which at one time or another is inevitable.

Failure actually is a good thing: you learn how to handle it and learn from it.

Helicopter parents are more common among millennials and members of GenZ, as these parents more than likely were much more involved in their life than previous parental generations.

But you need to let your helicopter parents know in no uncertain terms that it is not OK to contact a potential or actual employer directly. Suggest other ways for them to channel their energies, such as those listed above.

If you are having trouble getting through to them, try enlisting the help of another member of the family who has a more realistic perspective – a sibling, aunt, uncle, or grandparent.

Whether you’re a new college or high school grad, whether you’ve been in the workforce for years or want to return after a hiatus, contact the recruiters at Helpmates for help in your job search.

Take a look at our current job opportunities and then follow the directions for applying to those that interest you. You also may contact the Helpmates branch office nearest you.

 

 

You’re the Boss of You

You have a terrific job with a stable company. You love your supervisor and your co-workers and they love you. The company is growing and things are good.

For now.

We can’t emphasize this enough: never become complacent. Things can – and too often do – change in an instant. Recessions hit. Companies get bought by larger companies and the buying company lays off most of the smaller business’ employees. Your beloved boss leaves and your new boss dislikes you. Really dislikes you. You turn 50.

Job stability is a myth. Let us repeat: job stability is a myth.

So who’s your real boss? YOU ARE.

Cypress jobs

You know those entrepreneurs you admire? It’s time start thinking of yourself as a business: the business of you.

That’s right: even though it’s a hot, hot, hot candidate market today, the job market is unstable. It’s therefore best to think of yourself as a free agent. Master of your future. Self-employed. A business owner.

Here’s how to think like the owner of one-employee business.

  • Always be learning. Learning new skills, both hard and soft. Get certified in something. Repeat. Get a degree (choose carefully). Learn online.  Read about your industry and the position you hold within it.
  • Look for new clients – um, employers — often. If you were a self-employed person what do you think you’d be doing a great deal of? Finding clients! You need to do the same as the boss-of-you because your only current client – your employer – could disappear quickly. And it’s better to find a new employer while you still have this one. You don’t have to take a new job if it’s offered, but keep networking, keep seeing what’s out there. Keep talking to potential “new clients.”
  • Start a side hustle. You should do this for two reasons: if you do find yourself unemployed, your side gig can help pay some bills and also because with a lot of work nights and on weekends, it could grow so that you could leave your employer and be a true self-employed dynamo. (Hint:  self-employment can be a way to have real “job stability.” Why? Because it’s much easier – and quicker—to find clients than it is to find a new employer.)

If you do find yourself suddenly free of your current “largest client,” Helpmates can help you keep earning while you look for your next “one client” (or as you build your own business).

Take a look at our current openings. If you find one or more that interest you, follow the job description’s instructions or contact the Helpmates branch nearest you.

When it’s Time to “Settle Down”: No More Job Hopping

Is this you? You’re 25 or 27 and have been in the workforce either since graduating high school or college and you’re on your fourth job. You stayed at your first job a year, your second and third jobs 18 months each (well, let’s quibble: 16 months for that third job) and now, well into your fourth you’re getting….restless.

Los Angeles Careers

Stop! Employers tend to be quite open to young people who move from job to job their first few years in the workforce. But around or even before the five-year mark, they start to think twice about hiring someone who sticks around for less than a couple of years at previous jobs, especially if someone has four or more jobs on the resume in those five years.

And the job-hopping stigma is particularly acute for college graduates or for those with certifications/licenses that put them on a more traditional career track. In fact, job hopping, if done strategically – and if the hopper has an in-demand skill – can be a way to accelerate a career trajectory and/or receive considerable salary increases with each jump.

But the operative words here are: in-demand skills and strategic. Most people tend to hop about haphazardly, and that kind of job-to-job movement can hurt you in the long run, especially if several employment stints in a row are less than nine months to a year in length.

Here’s how to stop incessant hopping as you approach your mid- to late-20s.

  • Your youth IS a time to explore.

There’s really no harm nor foul if you start your first “real job” after college or high school graduation and then leave in less than a year. Employers understand this: they know that young workers may not know exactly what they want out of their work life/career. They know that even if the young person was gung ho in the beginning, she may end up finding that the company or career just isn’t for her. So leaving your first job before a year is up is OK.

However, if you enjoy the work, if you like the company, and especially if you come to the realization that this career really is one you want to pursue, you could aim to stay there for two years or so. There’s no harm in sticking around in your first job, either.

  • Remember, no matter how much you love a company, an industry or your job, it will get boring. All jobs do.

Our point? Don’t leave a job merely because you get bored. Or the excitement dissipates. No job is fun all the time. Most jobs have a lot of repetition and same old, same old. This is reality. This is the way of work and careers.

You don’t need to stay if you’re miserable, of course, but it’s often the case that newly minted workers somehow, kinda sorta, subconsciously hoped the world of work would be exciting, fresh and new All. The. Time!!!

So if you leave your first job in eight months because it wasn’t as exciting or interesting as you’d hoped, and then you leave the next one after 14 months for the same reason, and a third job after a year for pretty much the same reason, pause a minute because it may not be the job. It may be your expectations.

If that’s the case, re-read the bullet point just above.

  • How to find “the one.”

Once you’re ready to “settle down” for more than two years after moving between 3-4 jobs by your mid- to late-20s, you want to find a position that you can stick around for more than two years, one in which you can grow and prosper.

You’ve no doubt found what you don’t like about certain aspects of an industry or career, so you know to steer clear of those. You also probably know what you do like, so you want to move toward those aspects.

So before accepting a new position, follow your gut…and your head. Research the company thoroughly online: check out its LinkedIn page, its social media channels, its news releases, etc. Read its website thoroughly. Google its name and see what information comes up. After the interview and before you accept a job offer, ask if you can talk to your possibly-soon-to-be-new colleagues to get a flavor for their personalities and how they enjoy working there.

In other words, because you plan on sticking around for a while, you should aim to find out as much about the company as possible so that you’ll know more about what you’re in for. This way, you will be able to “commit” to your next employer for an I-can’t-believe-you’re-asking-me-to-stay-here-for-more-than-two-looonnnnnng-years time period.

Working as a temporary associate with Helpmates allows you to explore many different industries, companies and even roles within those companies and industries, helping you discover which ones appeal to you for the long term. Take a look at our current opportunities and follow the application instructions on those you find interesting.

If You Don’t Know Where You Want to Go in Your Career, How Can You Get There?

If you don’t know where you want to go, going anywhere will do, right?

But do you really want to “go anywhere” when it comes to something as important as your career?

La Mirada Careers

We know of a truly and genuinely nice man, nearing retirement, who has worked in the cut-throat, exceedingly stressful financial services industry most of his working life. He has made an extremely good living for his family and his wife is quite grateful that his career has made it easy for her to be a stay-at-home mom. But he hasn’t been exactly…..happy in his career.

How did he get into this miserable-yet-lucrative career? He says he pretty much fell into it. He’d wanted to be a journalist in college but he graduated in the midst of the 1980 recession and journalism jobs were hard to find and didn’t pay well, so he took a gig in a bank. And then another position in a financial services firm. Then he got his MBA. Then he got married. Then he started making some serious money. Then they had children and the couple decided she would stay home. More money. More expenses (his children are lucky – and know it – because he and his wife paid for their children’s private-college tuition). And so on. And here he is today, literally counting the days until his retirement.

“If only I’d thought beyond taking that second job because it ‘paid more,’” he says.

Don’t let that happen to you.

No matter where you are in your career – graduating college or high school this spring, a year or two on this side of graduation, five years out, in mid-career, and so on – thinking about where you want to go helps you actually get there.

Yet, unlike the man described above, having a vague “I want to go into this and that” won’t get you far. After all, what if it’s not easy to find jobs in the field you’ve chosen (journalism jobs aren’t exactly plentiful today, either)? What if you meet up with roadblocks? What if you need to postpone the career for a bit and take another job until you find one you want? What if you find you don’t like where you’re headed?

What’s your Plan B? And Plan C? And so on.

But don’t worry, it’s not that you need to map it out completely.

After all, most of us have no idea what will make us happy in the future: we have an “idea,” but we don’t test it out. We think we’ll enjoy being an actress but – oops! – we never thought beyond actually being in a play or movie and forgot how awful it is to actually audition again and again and again and hear no so many times our head explodes from the rejection.

So while you don’t need a step-by-step plan, be careful. Take time to sit with yourself and be brutally honest. You want to help troubled children, but you also love to travel to Europe. Perhaps working as social worker – with its low salary – isn’t for you.

Conversely, let’s say you know exactly what type of career you want and you’ve thought it over carefully, talked to people who work in it, perhaps interned or volunteered within and it feels just right.

Now ask yourself, where do want to be within it in five years? Will you need more education or skills training? Do you want to go into a leadership or management role? How do you know if you’ll be a good fit? What will you do to find out?

And so on.

In other words, don’t wing it: have a plan, yet keep it flexible. Do so, and you have a greater chance of finding work that suits you as well as a career that unfolds as you want it to.

If you’re not quite sure if a field of work is the one for you, experiment with it via temporary assignments with Helpmates. Contact the branch office nearest you and let us know what you’re looking for. If we can help you “try a career” or job, we’ll be happy to do so.

 

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