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Parents Getting Involved in Kids' Job Hunt

Your Mom Might Have Your Boss on Speed Dial

I would be mortified if my parents ever called a prospective employer to try and negotiate benefits and salary for me. Some parents of recent grads do this and apparently, some young job hunters actually want parental involvement and ask their parents to accompany them at job fairs. I think weighing where your first job will be is one of the first decisions we make as adults, and that would be undermined if parents jumped in acting like your agent. To find out how your parents could hurt your budding career just

I understand that parents want the best for their kids, and if your parents financed your college education they want you to put your pricey degree to the best use possible. And while many colleges lack a solid career counseling program, which causes more students to turn to their parents, I think the level of involvement should stop at advice and support. Sending your parents a job listing to see what they think is harmless, and so is asking them to look over a benefits package once you've been offered a job. What's harmful is when they do some of the legwork for you.

Employers may rule out job candidates whose parents involve themselves — they want to feel like they're hiring a competent employee who won't require a parent to attend performance reviews. As one hiring manager put it, "There comes a time when you've prepared children, and you need to let go." How would you feel if one of your parents called a potential employer?


Join The Conversation
discocactus discocactus 9 years
Either adulthood is going to be delayed until you're 80 or eventually the cultural expectations will change and 20 somethings will be expected to be adults instead of overgrown teenagers.
PeachyKeen19 PeachyKeen19 9 years
This article highlights Savvy's feature:
PeachyKeen19 PeachyKeen19 9 years
PeachyKeen19 PeachyKeen19 9 years
dameneko, I see where you're coming from, but speaking as a minority myself, I don't our parents would do this at all. There is a difference b/w old world "overbearingness" (mothers who are prioritize you way too much and nag you about being too skinny and not eating enough or whether you are being responsible) and privileged White American children with helicopter parents. It's hard to articulate it exactly but no matter who pushy my mom is she is always saying that she isn't going to live for ever and she wants me to prove to her that I am self sufficient and independent. She would never let me stay home sick from school and would drive me to work when I needed, but doesn't wouldn't call a teacher to complain about a grade I got...instead she'd yell at *me* while some of the White students had parents that had the teachers on speed dial. And my mom is from a "third world country" (I hate that term) but she says it herself. She is overprotective and would fight for me and as my mom she will go to great lenghts for me but she also knows what hardship is and she can't stand babies...she doesn't want her kid to be one of the babies like you see in nations were maybe things are not so bad. She wants to find ways to instill in me the lessons that she got from living in her country and through hard times while I was raised here and live here, and yet not necessarily go through all the same hard times, you see?
dameneko dameneko 9 years
to Asia84 -- my mom knew about the interview because it was out-of-state, and we were still sharing an apartment at the time. i slept in the living room and had ZERO privacy! i couldn't even talk on the phone without her hovering nearby, then asking me 20 questions after. i would go to work or school to escape! once i had that embarassing interview, i did not share any more information with her. she likes to hide behind culture, but her crazy extends far, far beyond that. thankfully, i can laugh at the utter absurdity of her manipulating ways now -- i'm writing a book about it! at the end of the day, she is still my mom and i would never allow her to be out on the street or anything, but damn right, when it's time, i'm gonna find a proper nursing home for her trifling arse. =P
dameneko dameneko 9 years
reading some of the comments, i think it is interesting that parental meddling is seen as "babying" by some (and it is), while for a lot of other young people, especially in immigrant neighborhoods, this level of parental meddling is seen as part of our "culture". growing up, i did not have the right to be an individual. i was considered my parents' property. this is a difficult concept for people who did not come from one of these cultures to fathom. an extension of this concept is that my mom thought my raison d'etre was to make money for and raise the social status of our family. my hopes and dreams and ambitions mattered not one whit, my goodness was measured by how NOT independent i was. this is a damn confusing way to grow up. take a girl who WANTS to be independent, who WANTS to do things for herself, but her parents don't let her. this is not really about protecting the girl, this is about CONTROL. it's doubly sucky when people think she wants to be coddled by her parents and this is totally not the case. i have met lots of spoiled kids with a raging sense of entitlement who would welcome parental involvement in their careers, and i understand why people would react negatively to that. after years of living in fear, i finally declared my independence from my strict old-country mom. it was the most difficult thing i ever had to do. it makes me sad sometimes because there is still that little voice telling me that i am a rotten daughter, though i intellectually know that i am not. that something is attibuted to "culture" does not exempt it from moral evaluation...
Asia84 Asia84 9 years
to Dameneko: you're mom is a bit crazy (don't feel bad, i have a crazy mom too). you are a good daughter, because i like to mess with my mom's head. i tell her, "don't worry, i'll find you a nice nursing home ..." that freaks her out! but it's like they don't understand that you have to live your own life. my mom doesn't guilt me as much because i always say something crazy back to her (with love, of course). but you have to do what you need to do in order to make it in the world. one day our moms will not be there to baby us. thank God we can survive on our own, but what about those who let their parents run everything. they are always gonna be lost in life.
Asia84 Asia84 9 years
what the h*ll!? who does this??? LMAOOOOO first off, how would my mother even know about a job i was applying for??? even now, I'm in the fashion industry. and sometimes i get called for freelance jobs or what not. and one time my mother heard me set up an interview over the phone when i came over. and she buggggedd the hellll out of me. she kept asking if i got the job (which i did), and she wanted to know how much they were gonna pay me (it was a well known company, even SHE knew who they were and she's not fashionable at all). but i told her to stay out of my business. which didn't work - she's nosey. but she's never called in sick for me, or talked to potential employers for me. she doesn;t even know what my resume looks like. she's never seen my portfolio. can you imagine your mom talking to your future boss??? i would die, got to heaven, come back, and stop speaking to her. talk about embarrassing.
dameneko dameneko 9 years
wow THANK YOU for writing about this...I love my mom as a human being, but I'll be darned if she is not a helicopter parent from HELL. I'll never forget when my mom tried to "help" at one of my job interviews...I am an only child, so I was my single immigrant mom's meal ticket. I put myself through school and pretty much kept to myself when I started looking for a job, but when I was close to graduating, my mom really started harping on me about working for a Fortune 500 company, going for more money, etc, etc, signing over my paycheck to her, as if I were working for HER and not building MY career. I made the mistake of telling her that I was interviewing for a major software company. the interview was out-of-state, and my mom made me call back the recruiter to have them arrange for her to come along. I went along with it to appease her. she wanted to stay in the room when I was being interviewed, but they made her leave...she responded with "Oh yeah? Well, I can get my daughter a job at !" "Ma'm, we're not interviewing you." I was absolutely mortified! Why, why, why would anyone want their mommy or daddy trying to pull strings? I felt like my mom was intruding on the future that *I* made for myself. If she had paid for my schooling, maybe I would have felt differently, but still... That company did offer me a job, but I couldn't help but think that I would have gotten a better offer if my mom hadn't interfered. I ended up working for another smaller company that is very successful. I didn't tell my mom when I was interviewing there. When I took that job, she was so mad that she didn't have any part in it, she said, "You're going to FAIL! That's not a Fortune 500 company! What, do you want your mommy to be HOMELESS?!" One thing that really bugged me was when she would attribute her behavior and lack of respect for my boundaries to "It's our culture! You are a rotten daughter!" Well, guess what? Over eight years later, I'm still with the same company, and I did not "fail"...and no, my mommy's not homeless, either! Anyhoo, I guess the point to this story is that having experienced extreme parental meddling swathed in the socially acceptable guise of "It's our culture" -- barring family-type businesses, I cannot imagine why any self-respecting young woman would want her parent(s) pulling strings to get her a job.
ninjastarlett ninjastarlett 9 years
I would hate that! My parents already always act as though every decision I make should go through them first and I think its absurd! It totally makes me feel like a little kid again.
emalove emalove 9 years
Kelly-O Kelly-O 9 years
"Helicopter" parents are just beyond my comprehension, and the adult children who want this kind of interference just blow my mind. Some people just try to live vicariously through their kids, and it doesn't seem to stop. At some point you need to claim your own life, separate from your parents. I'm very grateful my folks encouraged me to step out on my own, and didn't hover.
CaterpillarGirl CaterpillarGirl 9 years
I work for the same place my mom does, just different towns. Everyone i work with knows her and thats okay. The only time she has ever interfered is when i called in "sick" once and she knew i wasnt so she called me at home to lecture me.
fadedblue fadedblue 9 years
I could not deal with that. I think sometimes it's just a fine line between wanting to ask your parents for advice, b/c they obviously have more life experience, and then letting them have way too much influence. Parents who don't let their children live their lives and make their own mistakes are just setting them up for failure later in life, imo.
cubadog cubadog 9 years
That is insane and I would never hire somebody who's parents were that involved. I have seen so many of these people fresh out of college not being able to handle anything because their parents have done everything for them. It drives me nuts.
kk_bama kk_bama 9 years
As an advisor to my sorority, I've seen MANY MANY instances of helicopter parenting. The worst is when a parent can't see their own child's faults, and thinks their child can do no wrong!
gigill gigill 9 years
Savvy - I would be mortified if my parents did that too! Who has parents like this? Anyway, I think the closest I would ever get to parental involvement would be a) getting my parent to attend a job fair with me (way back when I first started - not now obviously!) I wouldn't want them to say anything to the recruiters but just to walk around and check out what's out there...I wouldn't mind some support from them just being there and b) getting my parents to look over my resume and give interviewing tips.
nola45 nola45 9 years
There's one situation where parents get involved and where it actually may help the "child": when parents get them the job. Having worked at a large company where company politics were important, I saw parents who were either our clients or the bosses of those running our subdivision get their kids either summer internships or actual jobs in our company. I had these young people working for me, and it wasn't fun because they couldn't be fired and sometimes abused their positions. I wonder if people reading this ever got jobs because of their parent's "pull" with the employer.
melizzle melizzle 9 years
Helicopter parents... ugh!
erratic-assassin erratic-assassin 9 years
I want someone to admit if their parents do this so that they can explain to me HOW that's even possible! Are you kidding me? take the training wheels off! You'll never learn to do anything for yourself if you dont do it on your own! it's called LIFE.
Lovely_1 Lovely_1 9 years
OMG I would kill my parents! I am independent enough to get my own job thank you very much :)
freegracefrom freegracefrom 9 years
I agree with bfly. My brother is a lot like this. I'm sure my mother must have gone with him to interviews before - he's still so unbelievably dependant on her at 24 years old! I've always been independent anyway, but I think it gives your future employer the wrong impression to let your parents do your negotiations. I suppose I could understand if you're 14 and this is your first babysitting gig, but a recent grad??! No way!
aimeeb aimeeb 9 years
I would be mortified. Cut the umbilical cord!
ilanac13 ilanac13 9 years
i think that i saw a TV special on this and i think that it's absurd. seriously - if you can't manage to negotiate and do all this on your own, are you really ready to be working and all that? it's one thing to have the support on the back end but once it's brought to the forefront - it's a little too extreme
bfly1133 bfly1133 9 years
While I think this is crazy, this doesn't surprise me. There are a ton of kids and adults out there that were constantly babied and protected by their parents so nothing bad would ever happen to them. Well, we now have a lot of folks who believe things should be handed to them. Personal responsibility is foreign to a lot of people. I can understand parents wanting what is best for their child, but there comes a time where you need to let them grow up, live their life, and make mistakes so they can learn from them.
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