A new OfficeTeam survey asked 1,300 managers to share their recent interactions with job applicants' parents, and as you might guess they had a few stories to tell.
Hey, parents: Your kid isn't going to get the job if you do everything for them. Period. Why would a company hire your child if he or she can't show any self-direction or initiative? All you're doing is making managers realize that they would be managing both of you on the job, and that doesn't sound like very much fun. One conversation with you and managers know you would be calling back in six months to ask why Junior hasn't gotten a big raise yet when he earned an "A" in economics and was on the soccer team. And how long will it be until he has a corner office? Ugh.
The workplace helicoptering needs to stop, because it's making
cynical former latchkey children Gen X hiring managers laugh. They laugh because it's better than banging their heads against a wall in frustration as soon as they realize this great-on-paper young applicant comes with a lot of mini-van driving, Chico's-wearing baggage. Do you mind if I bring my mom to the interview? Why yes, we do mind.
Could excessive helicoptering be part of the reason the unemployment rate of young Americans has remained stubbornly high? I haven't seen any research that directly correlates helicoptering to the unemployment rate of job applicants in the 18 to 29 age range, but I suspect it can't be helping matters.
The best thing today's parents can do is to provide direction, motivation and advice behind the scenes but never, ever contact an employer regarding their child's application status. Ever. Let these young people walk through the fire themselves, as painful as it can be to watch and as tempting as it can be to take the heat for them. They must show employers that they can stand on their own two feet -- perhaps all day, depending on the job. Yes, the job hunt will burn them here and there, but think of it as a character-building experience full of valuable life lessons. They won't learn a damn thing if you do it all for them.
Besides, do you really want Junior living at home well into his 40s because he never seems to land a "good" job? Yeah, I didn't think so.