Skip to main content

Helicopter Parents Continue To Ruin Their Children's Non-Existent Careers

Job applicants' parents are becoming a thorn in the side of hiring managers.

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.


Popular posts from this blog

Seven tips for dealing with a jealous coworker

Look at you, doing so well at work! We're so happy for you. Well, most of us are happy for you and refuse to spend the entire work day talking behind your back. Let's talk about how to handle our jealous co-workers!Like every other professional, you've no doubt experienced your share of failures and successes. Lately, however, things seem to be going your way at work. And how! Perhaps you've managed to ace an important project this quarter, been instrumental in landing a huge client, earned some well-deserved rewards for this and that, or -- egads! -- been given a slight promotion or additional work responsibilities (e.g., the work responsibilities you actually want).You're quietly chuffed, but somehow your co-workers seem none too pleased with this rapid turn of events. Oh no, what should you do now?It's a workplace tale older than the disjointed last season of Mad Men. The playing field in the department was even, cozy and overall very friendly -- until so-an…

Employees Blame Technology For Slowing Them Down At Work

Do you feel like you're always working, but never getting very much done? If so, you're not alone. Too much technology, and too much red tape, keep slowing us down at work. But technology, and more of it, is supposed to make our lives easier! Too much technology, however, does not compute for employees. A new SAP/Knowledge@Wharton survey of almost 700 corporate employees finds a full 60% of respondents blame technology "for inhibiting their ability to meet strategic goals." Gee, anyone who has ever used the self-checkout line at the grocery store can tell you that. However, 40% surveyed said that looking for ways to simplify the technology has been "a low priority" for their company. Too much paperwork is an on-going problem for the workplace, too. A new ServiceNow survey of nearly 1,000 managers finds that 90% are doing too much administrative work, no matter the size of the company. This paperwork includes filling out forms, writing status updates, …

Is Your Co-worker Always Late For Work?

You've started the workday, but where is your co-worker? Oh, she's running late again, just like yesterday. And the day before. And the day before that. Let's get an early start on solving her tardiness problem, shall we? Working with someone who is consistently late is one of the most annoying aspects of office life, and also one of the most common, unfortunately. It's a universal theme of the workplace that everyone will get to work on time (give or take a few minutes...) except for the employee who is egregiously late nearly every day. And the excuses can get pretty amazing. Employees became more punctual as the Great Recession lingered, at least according to surveys. Everyone, that is, except for your able-bodied but habitually-tardy co-worker. It's bad enough dealing with tardiness when you're a manager, but it can be even more frustrating when you're a rank-and-file peer without any magical "shape up or ship out" managerial powers. So you…