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.

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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.

 

 

Is 50 the New 65?

Why There’s a Good Chance Your Career Could be Over in Your 50s

If you’re nearing 50, older than 50 or plan on being 50 someday, you need to read this: ProPublica.org published a story in late December – one backed up by rigorous research with the highly respected Urban Institute – that said 56 percent of people older than 50 are being “pushed out” of a “longtime” job “before they choose to retire.”

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It doesn’t matter what your salary is, what profession you’re in, if you have a college degree or not, whether it’s a recession or a boom: if you’re 50 and over, you stand a very good chance of leaving your job earlier than you’d like to. What’s more, according to the article, many of those this happens to often suffer “financial damage that is often irreversible.”

Yowza!

The study took a look at data from the Health and Retirement Study (HRS), considered to be a top source of information regarding aging in America. From 1992 to 2016, the HRS followed what the article calls a “nationally representative sample of about 20,000 people from the time they turn[ed] 50 through the rest of their lives.”

In other words, the study followed people 50 and over through boom, bust, boom, bust, and so on. Through the first tech/Internet boom and the most recent. Through the Great Recession and the current stock market rise and jobs boom and found that between the time someone “entered” the study and when he or she left paid employment, 56 percent “are laid off or leave a job under such financially damaging circumstances that it’s likely they were pushed out rather than choosing to go voluntarily.”

And what happened to them once they are out of work? “Only one in 10 of these workers ever again earns as much as they did,” the article states. “Even years afterward, the household incomes of over half of those who experience such work disruptions remain substantially below those of workers who don’t.”

We urge you to read the entire article. It’s a long one, but it goes into great detail about the different ways people are told/”encouraged” to leave and who is most liable to be let go. It’s an important eye opener.

Bottom line? Leaving work before you’re even eligible to take advantage of Social Security and Medicare – even being able to start drawing down your 401(k) without tax penalty – is a real possibility for anyone.

It’s obvious this definitely is a form of age discrimination/ageism. The right thing to do is to call your California and Congressional representatives and ask for stronger age discrimination and hiring protections.

Still, understand that leaving your job at mid-life before you’re ready appears to be something to anticipate, as sure as we anticipate that the sun will come up tomorrow and we we’re going to need to eat again a few hours after lunch.

In other words, be prepared to retire in your 50s, rather than your 60s.

Don’t think it can’t happen to you because it can. What will you do if it does? What will you live on? Do you have savings? What’s your debt load like? Will you be paying college tuition for children? Do you have a mortgage?

If you’re 45 and younger (especially if you’re in your 20s or 30s), knowing that this is a real possibility gives you plenty of time to prepare. If you’re close to 50 or already in your 50s, it’s probably wise to sit down with your family and figure out some possible contingency plans.

Being forewarned means you can become forearmed.

If you do find yourself laid off or “encouraged” to leave your employer in your 50s, don’t forget about Helpmates. We can help you keep income coming in while you look for another position. We also can help you find that next position. Contact the Helpmates branch nearest you.

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