And if you think the first one was too much…

Wow, it gets deeper. By Anne Kadet:

Perhaps it was inevitable, given the track record of the American boomer parent. After coaching their kids through junior hockey, supervising their science projects and cowriting their college applications, a growing number of enthusiastic moms and dads are moving to the next challenge, taking on the job of job hunting. Of course, parents have always played the role of over-the-phone cheerleader before job interviews, and generations of kids have gotten their first job through one of Dad’s connections. But employers, job counselors and parents themselves say the help they’re offering these days can become a full-blown tactical enterprise, one that includes everything from filling out job applications and combing the want ads to picking up the phone and hounding recruiters who haven’t called back.

And yes, some parents even show up at their kid’s job interview. Stuart Friedman, president of Chicago consulting firm Progressive Management Associates, will never forget the time he helped a financial-software client interview candidates for an entry-level position. In walked not one but three well-dressed hopefuls — a fresh-faced college grad and his proud parents. Mom and Dad were on hand, the grad explained, to make sure he got “a fair opportunity to get this job.” Friedman says he tried hard to stifle his befuddlement: “You can’t sweat. You can’t show any reaction.”

But it’s not nostalgia driving the new parental involvement — it’s the lousy economy. Kids who can’t get jobs after college are returning home in droves, and their parents are desperate to get them working and out of the house. According to federal statistics, 14 percent of adults ages 20 to 24 are unemployed — far higher than the national rate, which hovers near 8.5 percent. And even the well educated are having trouble, with just 53 percent of recent college grads landing full-time jobs, according to a Rutgers University report. That leaves Mom and Dad picking up their kids’ tab for everything from cell phones to car loans — and in the process, more than a quarter of those parents are taking on more debt to do so. The grown child, meanwhile, becomes more dependent in more walks of life, says Boulder, Colo., career coach Kathryn Marion. If a young adult hasn’t learned to manage his or her time or balance a checkbook, she says, it’s unlikely they’ll have the life skills to land a serious job: “They’re not ready to be in the deep end without a rope.”


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  • This was actually one the things pointed out by the Rainers in their book The Millennials. Of course, it was for other reasons like the parents generation being called the helicopter generation.

  • LeslieS

    I recall conducting an interview with a prospective employee on the phone and hearing his mother whispering to him in the background and coaching his answers. This prospect did not make the cut.

  • Craig Querfeld

    A few years ago while on a trip to supervise a fellow church planter, his mother asked to speak to meet and ended up interviewing me.Later on in the conversation the mother questioned why I was telling her son what to do. All this was done when the son was present. Was that ever an eye opening experience!! I thought that this was an extreme case, after reading this I didn’t realize that it was part of a greater social pattern. Learn something new every day.

  • Holly

    This simply befuddles me. I have three kids in the “employable range.” (Ages 16, 17, and 19.) They have all held better than average jobs for their age group (paywise,) they all have attended or are attending college during high school. The nineteen year old isn’t even done with his Associates degree but he’s got a good job (web programming) with a television station. He started out as an intern. He carries zero debt, owns a car, pays for his own EVERYTHING, AND has sponsored a World Vision kid since he was 16. All of my working kids do this.

    All told, my kids have MORE work than they can even accept. They are consistently turning down jobs. NOW, I know that kids working for corn research facilities when they are 16 does not equate with landing a GREAT job post-college – BUT – it *is* a good beginning and indicates drive and achievement. There’s no way this mama is going to be holding anyone’s hand nor whispering answers for job interviews.

    I don’t buy that it’s a tanked economy. It’s more like children have not had to *ever* take responsibility nor had to work for what they want – and it comes back to bite mom and dad when college is over.

  • JohnM

    “The grown child, meanwhile, becomes more dependent in more walks of life..”

    Grown…child? Frankly some of those walking oxymorons may simply be making rational choices. If the parental saftey net is there they might as well take advantage of it.

  • Deborah

    My 22 yo daughter and her 24 yo husband and 6 week old baby are living with me, but I encouraged their moving into my home. We have plenty of room, my son in law is going to college after serving in the Marines and my daughter is returning to work full time this week. They take care of most of the housekeeping/yard work and buy most of the groceries for the rest of the household (I have 16 and 13 year old sons as well).

    Given the current economy it would be foolish for them to buy or even rent a home AND I get to spend time with my first grandchild. BUT we are very clear about expectations and boundaries. They pay all of their own phone/car/credit card bills and they have their own living space that includes a living room/study area.

    Multi-generational living is going to return – perhaps we have to rethink, yet again, what families look like.

  • Sam

    You know, nobody from the baby boomer generation was saddled with 30-50K in debt just to get through college either… believe me baby boomer parents have been for the most part extreme enablers. Not to mention as they have risen in corporate power and sought profit on a whole to the detriment of society at large, their companies have shipped paying jobs overseas. You know the kind of job a college or graduate school grad would expect.

    So the boomers have made their bed. Now they can lay down in it by spending their “wealth” on taking care of their children.

    Oh and just wait until all 70 million “retiring” boomers start collecting social security and the whole systems collapses…

  • JohnM

    Sam #7 – Do you really think a very large proportion of the boomer population has “risen in corporate power” in the first place?

  • Diane

    As a boomer parent of three, I watch all this with amazement, and I will admit, some distaste. We didn’t fill out our kids college apps and never would have written their essays–and as the product of hovering parents myself (they must have been ahead of the times!) I have first hand knowledge of the damage than cause. However, I see friends finding jobs, filling out applications and writing essays for their kids–and, to me, it becomes a moral issue. Is the immediate gratification of getting your child a job or the immediate “win: of getting your child a “better” job than the competition outweigh the damage caused by not insisting your child do the work he/she’s representing themselves as having done (ie, filling out the job ap and on from there)? I do agree with those who say this is going to come back to bite us … I believe in supporting our kids (In the classic meaning of the word!!) but have a strong sense that my generation has benefitted by getting out and scrambling after school. Yes–college debt is a problem–I would agree we need to address that–but it is of piece with parents being too willing to foot the bill for college, which has driven up costs.

  • Our church was looking to hire a young man right out of college for an assistant’s position. He ended up being short-listed with two others. During the final vetting process, I received a call from his father who offered to pay half of his salary (anonymously) for two years if we hired him.

    When I first thought about it, I hesitated to even consider him, knowing that his father was still pulling the strings. Either we were going to be hiring both of them at some level, or at some point the son would rebel against the father’s over-protective ways. However, our board over-ruled me (after all, I’m just the Counselor on staff), and hired him.

    After two years, he rebelled against dad, against the Senior Pastor, his wife and most of his ministry leaders. “Failure to Launch” needs to be a factor in hiring nowadays.

  • Barb

    he he, when I was a girl (I’m now 61) my mother often told me how SHE paid rent to her parents after college because she couldn’t afford to live on her own. I vowed to never move back home. I have done the same thing with our daughter–now counting down to college graduation in weeks. She knows that her goal is to be on her own–but she also knows that we are a safety net for her. She seems to be surrounded by kids whose parents step in too often–and she sometimes tries to get us to take it up–It’s hard to say “you will need to do that for yourself” but think of the birds who destroy the nest to keep their children from returning.