Friday, December 16, 2016

10 Things Boomer Parents Should Not Tell Their Job-Hunting Children

My parents loved to scold us, frequently and at length. They often would illustrate their scoldings with grim stories of the deprivations they suffered as children. In classic child contrarian behavior, we would find ways to defy even the most reasonable pieces of advice. Human nature being what it is, be prepared for pushback when you try to bestow the benefit of your experience on your young adult children as they enter the job market. Here are some conventional pieces of advice which you, in the Wise Woman or Elder Statesman role, may think apply to young adults in the job market. You would be wrong.

1. Stay at a job at least a year before moving on. Not necessarily. In our roller-coaster economy, young people move from job to job. Employers do not necessarily see this as a bad thing.

2. Hold out for a full-time job. Unless you live on the moon, you probably know that many entry-level jobs do not hire full-time. They have the advantage, however, of allowing young people to get a foot in the door.

3. Only take a job with benefits. See #2, above. When the job climate changes for the better, employers may start providing better benefits. If standard benefits are not offered, like health insurance or a 401(k) plan, young people should investigate whether there are other perks about the job that make it attractive, such as a flexible schedule, an easy job commute, or employer discounts.

4. Summer jobs should be directly related to your future career. Not necessarily. Lots of people have memorable first job experiences as lifeguards or summer camp counselors.

5. Of all the hair-brained schemes I’ve ever heard of, this takes the cake. If you know a young person who is pouring their passion and energy into an entrepreneurial project, you can express your reservations, but be diplomatic. Sometimes what you and the rest of the world perceive as a wacky concept can turn out to be lucrative.

6. I didn’t sacrifice so you could be an underachiever. Be the grown-up here. It’s not about you. If they hate their current job, encourage them to apply themselves in school or in a job training program so they will be better qualified for other jobs. Don’t look down on seasonal work at amusement parks or holiday retail jobs. Lots of job experiences which will never appear on a resume still provide valuable life experience.

7. Include everything you ever did on your resume. Nope. My son tells me if he submits a resume or proposal that is TLTR (Too Long to Read) it will get skipped over. Summarizing is an art.

8. Eat a good breakfast before you go to work each morning. Moot point, because most young people do not get up early if they can avoid it. But if they cruise by the 7-11 for a Big Gulp and a do-nut on their way to work each morning, you may want to consider the next point.

9. The job needs to cover your living expenses. For many young adults, this is a nonstarter. They still live with their parents because even with a job, the cost of renting an apartment is prohibitive. It is not unreasonable, however, to ask them for a portion of their paycheck to help cover expenses, if only to provide them with a reality check and provide them with an incentive to save money in order to eventually move out.

10. Wear matching socks to your interview. Actually, this only applies if they need to impress a potential employer who is over 30.

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