A message to new moms and dads everywhere: don’t be helicopter parents.
A psychotherapist recently wrote a column on Slate called “Why Millennials Can’t Grow Up.” The author, Brooke Donatone, says she’s treated at least 100 college and grad students who fall apart at the thought of being an independent adult. She believes a major reason is all the smothering and over-parenting we received as kids.
How bad is it? A survey by Adecco, a HR organization, found 8 percent of Millennials had a parent accompany them to a job interview.
“Mom, did you bring my resume? No? Why not?!”
“A job interview is like a first date. Showing up with your mom certainly doesn’t say, ‘I am confident, independent and ready to be taken seriously,’” said Gabrielle Jackson, president ofThe Millennial Solution, a consulting company that helps managers optimize their next-generation talent.
Want to be “taken seriously”? Never let management get the wrong impression.
What the Boss Thinks When…
You Bring a Parent to a Job Interview
- “Is this actually happening right now in my office? Am I supposed to ask his mom questions too? Like about his allergies and dietary restrictions?"
- "There’s no way this kid is ready for a job at my company if he needs a parent at his side during the in-person interview. And if I do hire him and work gets tough, will I receive phone calls from his mom asking me to take it easy? Wait, does his mom want a job too? What the hell is going on??"
- "He’s not going to work here, that much I know. Not a real adult.”
You Start a New Job and Immediately Ask About Vacation Days
- “Heeeere we go. I take a chance on a recent college grad and all she wants to do is party. Figures."
- "Is she focused on our company or running off to Daytona for spring break with college buddies?"
- "Please, put in a little time at the firm before coming to me about days off.”
You Fall Apart After a (Somewhat Harsh) Yearly Review
- “Uh oh. Did I just trigger a meltdown? Is he going to up and quit because I came down on him too hard (but not as rough as this review)? I’ve already spent so much time and energy training him on our systems; it would be a huge pain to replace him. Let’s see how it plays out.”
Secretary: “You have a phone call from a Mrs. Williams? Sounds like the new guy’s mom, and she doesn’t seem happy.”
Boss: “Right on cue.”
You Act Like a Know-It-All
- “Who does this 24 year old think he is? When I was his age, I was a sponge in the office. All I wanted to do was soak up knowledge and become as versatile as possible (hey, that’s #5 on this comprehensive career list). If he dominates another client meeting like that, we’ll need to have a conversation."
- "I appreciate a young person’s perspective, sure, but he needs to listen more than he talks.”
You Don’t Work Quickly… Not Even a Little Bit
- “Let me get this straight. Young people today can send a friend a tweet in 3.2 seconds, but when I ask for a single page of research on the competition…it takes 3.2 DAYS."
- "If she doesn’t put a little pep in her step, believe me…I can find someone who can.”
You Refuse to Pick Up the Phone
- “What’s that? You sent a client an email three hours ago and never got a response? Well, pick up the damn phone and track ‘em down."
- "We can’t waste an entire workday stalled out on a project because you converse exclusively via email. Go make something happen.”
You Sit Around Waiting for Instruction
- “Did I hire a living, breathing human or a robot that needs programming? I am not your babysitter nor do I want to personally keep you busy all day."
- "Get out of your seat and ask co-workers if they need help. Or go network with someone and bring this four-step checklist with you. Just stopping sitting around wasting my money.”
Have you ever heard of a young person who brought a parent to the job interview? Think it’s crazy or can you see value in it?