Today’s young people are more thoughtful and kinder than many of the older job seekers they’re competing against. They care about making a difference more than their own personal finances or another self-serving endeavor. From the outside, it seems that parents are pouring more of themselves into these young hearts and minds than ever before. This effort is incredibly admirable.
But, can I please make a plea to you, Mom and Dad? Once your kids are on their way out of college, please let them grow up.
Very often, parents want to perform a job search on behalf of their child. The parents mean well. They don’t want the child (or should I say adult) to struggle on their way into the real world. The problem is, brokering the child’s job search doesn’t do the child any favors.
Many young people today seem to be so used to parental involvement that they don’t recognize their parent’s behavior as unusual. This means that they don’t push back when the parent has crossed a line.
But, you know who does think it’s unusual? The hiring manager and the other people in the child’s life who might otherwise help them to find a job. Whether they share their thoughts or not, they’re thinking it.
Struggling to find a job is part of life. That may sound strange, but the process of finding a job doesn’t just land us a place to work – it teaches us how to look for a job. It teaches us how to network. It teaches us how to solve problems. And, sometimes the process of looking can also teach us what we do and don’t want to do for a living. Those are very important lessons. Lessons that we will miss if mom and dad serve us a job on a platter.
Don’t get me wrong. Advice from a parent is incredibly valuable. Talk to your kids. Answer their questions. Give them guidance. You’ve been down the road and you have so much helpful information to share.
Then, take a step back. Let your child do the work. You wouldn’t take a math test for them in high school. You’d help them study and then you’d let them prove themselves in the classroom.
Last year, I interviewed a Chief Marketing Officer for my podcast. He described a situation to me where a young employee received a performance review they didn’t like. You won’t believe what happened. Mom called him to talk over her child’s concerns. Can you imagine how much that hurt the child’s future? The child missed the lesson, and in the process, they lost the precious respect of their boss.
I get it. Parents are just trying to help. But, at this stage of life, parents will be the most helpful from the sidelines. Trust that you’ve been in enough work to this point. Your young person has their head on straight. They know what’s important to them. Now, let them go out and get it.
Angela Copeland is a Career Coach and Founder of Copeland Coaching and can be reached at CopelandCoaching.com or on Twitter at @CopelandCoach.