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Adult Children: A Roundup of Posts

news 2GenY, emerging adults, millenials, adulescents, boomerang kids. Whatever you call them, the 73.7 million young adults in the U.S. generate enough research, reports, studies, controversies and general agita among parents and employers to keep the media buzzing. Every week, our Google alerts overflow with postings about millennials in a range of outlets from blogs to national publications. For the next two weeks, we’ll offer a selection of various posts of interest to parents of this controversial generation.

Take your parents to work day? Many of us remember when “Take Your Daughter to Work” day was in vogue. Now the roles have shifted and a number of companies are encouraging millennials to bring their parents to the office on occasion. The motivation?  Some corporations find the strategy useful to “attract and hold onto talent and boost employee morale,” according to Wall Street Journal piece, “Hiring Millenials, Meet the Parents.”   Northwestern Mutual and Enterprise both invite parents to visit while recruiting potential entry-level employees, and have found success with the strategy in their hiring efforts.

One open house that many of us might accept an invitation to is from Google which  hosted more than 2,000 parents at its second annual  “Take Your Parents to Work Day,” in Silicon Valley, and held a similar event in New York earlier this year.  In both locations parents, according to the article, were more impressed with the touted employee perks including a luxe cafeteria rather than their adult children’s jobs.

Next month Linkedin will weclome parents to its offices in 14 countries, following  a successful pilot in Dublin.  Employees who have their parents’ backing are happier workers, said a Linkedin spokesperson.

Sill, we wonder how our own children would feel about this.  We’re not sure that our sons  especially would welcome us strolling around their workplaces.

Gen Y Yuppies?  A Huffpo piece that in effect told millenials to stop whining went viral, with more than one million Facebook “likes,” 15,000 tweets and almost 4,000 comments.  Originally posted on a somewhat mysterious blog, waitbutwhy.com, the piece used a caricature named Lucy to symbolize a new term, GYPSY.  The acronym stands for “Gen Y Protagonists & Special Yuppies,” defined as “a unique brand of yuppie, one who thinks they are the main character of a very special story.”

Lucy is unhappy, goes the story, because reality is not living up to her expectations.  And who is responsible for those delusional expectations? Her parents of course because, based on their own experiences of a achieving a better lifestyle than their parents, they raised Lucy to expect to follow her passions: “Baby Boomers all around the country and world told their Gen Y kids that they could be whatever they wanted to be, instilling the special protagonist identity deep within their psyches.”

That never happened, thanks to the recession and reality. While Lucy has a job it’s not her dream position, and to make matter worse all her friends are constantly promoting themselves on Facebook, making it appear as if their own lives are truly fabulous (which they’re likely not).  So what’s the point of this parable? The waitbutwhy bloggers come to three conclusions:

  • GYPSYs are wildly ambitious
  • GYPSYs are delusional
  • GYPSYs are taunted by social media

Their advice to Lucy and other millennials like her: Stay wildly ambitious; over time hard work will take you far. Get over it; you’re not special. Pay no attention to all those fabulous tweets and FB posts; everyone is faking it. Some good advice to keep handy in case of emergency!

Career coaching:  Our children occasionally look to us to dispense wisdom about succeeding in a career.  If you’re tapped out, Dan Schawbel, the founder of a millennial consulting firm, offered some advice in a Forbes interview.  According to Mr. Schawbel, while millenials may excel with “hard” skills like technology know how, they are woefully lacking in “soft skills,” which he defines interpersonal talents such strong work ethic, time management, the ability to accept and learn from criticism and integrity.

So how to improve? He advises millenials take classes in making presentations and public speaking, go to conferences, and meet managers face to face.  In other words, step away from the laptop and cell and get out and meet people. Worth passing along

Managing millenials:  We can’t escape them! Our children’s contemporaries are flooding the workplace.  So how do we manage them?   The DailyMuse blog suggests the usual strategies of giving them opportunities to push themselves on projects and to regularly “express appreciation” for their work efforts.

However what caught our attention was the suggestion on how to begin your next meeting with a roomful of millenials around the conference table.  Instead of jumping right into the agenda, try opening with, “Before we begin today, I want to go around the room and quickly hear everyone’s most memorable moment from this weekend.” Apparently this helps millenials feel that they are not just a “cog” in the corporate machine: “They love being acknowledged as human beings, as well as seeing you, their boss, as a human, too. Doing something like this breeds openness and loyalty.”

This might not be as far fetched as it sounds.  A friend works at a name brand research facility where a prominent psychiatrist often starts a meeting by asking staffers (many non millennials) to share a moment that made them laugh the previous week. Worth a try?  Of course, this might go on for hours.  Try a trick I use when students pitch story ideas.  Bring one of those old-fashioned egg timers; everyone gets just three minutes.

At the movies:  Opening this week, and to mixed reviews, is a new film “A.C.O.D,” (Adult Child of Divorce). Billed as a comedy, the film centers on Carter (Adam Scott), the adult child of parents still fighting after a 15-year-long divorce. Jane Lynch plays a shrink who included Carter as a child in a study about children of divorce. Now, years later, she attempts to do a follow-up and havoc ensues.

Writer and director Stu Zicherman was himself a child of an amicable divorce yet as he began to have serious relationships he says he realized that he was “terrified” of marriage. So he decided to “make a divorce comedy, which no one had ever made before. It does make you laugh; it makes you think about your own plight,” he told an interviewer at the Sundance film website, which include a trailer for the movie.

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