In case you missed last week’s post - in the month of March I’m focusing on both 20-Somethings and the parents that love them. This week we’re talking about career advice….wait, wait…don’t leave me yet…I know talking about your career with your parents may make you run for the hills.
I get it. I’ve been there. Even though I’m in my 40s, with my own family, when my mother gives me advice, my eyes glaze over, I instantly get defensive and before I know it…I’m 14 again. I’m sure my mother’s advice is pretty good (I think…I wasn’t listening) but the problem is I just can’t hear it. I don’t want to listen to my mother and my son doesn’t want to listen to me. Aaaah…parenthood.
So, how do parents and kids talk to each other about the trials and tribulations of work and career? Well, it’s a little like that old joke, “how do you kiss a porcupine?” Answer…very carefully.
What Parents Need to Understand About the Current Work Climate
It’s no secret that high school and college graduates entering the job market for the first time are facing pressures. My first job out of college, my boss called me and said, “Why don’t you come in for the day and we’ll see how it goes.” That was the interview. I went in and stayed at that job for over 2 years.
Today, job interviews are a multi-step process where there’s a phone screening, then a Skype call, then you come into the office and meet 14 different people, then you come back and meet the 20 more people. You get so excited about this job and you feel like you’re soooo close, only to get an email 3 weeks later saying the position was eliminated and thanks so much for your time.
That’s not only exhausting; it’s mentally draining and tough to go through 3, 4 or maybe 5 times in a row and that’s if you get the interview.
When a young person enters the workforce today, they need more than an impressive resume. They need a strong sense of self, an idea of where they want their first job to take them, and the ability to think outside the traditional 9-5 job. There are jobs and careers that are not even on your radar and simply having a college degree or “being the smartest” in your class don’t hold the same value it once did.
What 20-Somethings Need to Understand About Work in General
Yes, the world is very different now than when your parents first started their career, but there are some things about work that don’t change…trust me. Even though technology is integral to every industry, so are people.
People are complex and learning how to interact with different kinds of personalities is crucial to career success and this is something your parents can help you with.
Got a boss that yells? At least one of your parents has worked under “the yeller.” Got a co-worker who doesn’t seem to do anything but keeps latching onto your projects and ideas? They’ve dealt with “the lazy latcher.” Your parents have something you don’t have yet…experience.
Ask them how they’ve handled difficult bosses over the years. Even if you don’t take the advice, it always feels good to know you’re not the only one.
What Parents Need to Understand About Giving Advice
I’m sure all of the career advice and thoughtful suggestions you’ve been sharing with your son or daughter has been really good. I’m sure that if they could “hear” you and would actually take some of the guidance coming their way, then they would be out of the house by now.
Unfortunately, as parents, we’re not always our child’s best coach/therapist/career advisor. This can be a difficult realization, believe me, I know! But just like your daughter's Little League coach helped her with pitching, sometimes it takes someone else, someone with expertise in helping people improve on new skills, to be a neutral force for good.
What 20-Somethings Need to Understand About Getting Advice
You know what the best thing is about advice? You can take it or leave it. Remember what I mentioned earlier, your parents have much more life experience so it may be worthwhile to hear what they have to say.
If you’re absolutely convinced that neither mom nor dad know a darn thing about your industry or the culture of your company, well, you can smile and say, “That’s great advice. Thanks.” or “I’ll consider that. Thanks.” Anything pleasant with a “thanks” after is perfect.
What Parents Need to Understand About Letting your Kids Fail
Failing an important part of life and in order to achieve success, you have to fail…a lot. Part of becoming an adult is breaking away, and you want to let your kid take responsibility for their choices.
While you may have mixed feelings of your kid’s dream of becoming a YouTube star, you want to continue to focus on the limits and boundaries you’ve set around how long you plan to let your child live with you and how long you plan to support them financially.
The best way for you to help is to help them see all their options and allow them to ultimately decide on their future. Don’t forget, you’ve been instilling good values, integrity and confidence since the day they were born, you’ve done your part, it’s your son or daughter’s time now.
What 20-Somethings Need to Understand About Failure
Embrace the fact that you will fail at some point in your career now and it’ll make it a lot less scary and heartbreaking when it actually happens. Everyone fails and I’m not going to bore you with a bunch of Instagram quotes about how “Failure is the best teacher.”
What I will say is it’s tough for your parents when you fail, even if they’re the ones that warned in the first place. Parents have no desire to say to their kids, “I told you so.” So, if and when you do fail, don’t be afraid to let your parents know what happened.
Everyone experiences career ups and downs, what really matters is persistence. You’ve got to just get up the next day and keep going. It will get easier, trust me or go ask your parents.