I was just chatting with a high school teacher friend of mine. She is frustrated (and rightfully so) about the helicopter parents in her classrooms. Some of her students do don’t home work yet their parents think they deserve “A’s” for work undone. When she calls the kids out on their utter lack of effort, they go home – crying to Mom and Dad – and she has to apologize to them for hurting their feelings.
Last week, a relative of mine, who used to work for a very large semiconductor firm, told me helicopter parents are actually attending their adult children’s job evaluations – demanding their adult child receive raises they didn’t earn, or, promotions they aren’t qualified for.
This is American entitlement at its very best. Whether they are American kids still in high school, or Millennials, who are new to the job force, they are ill prepared for life - the good, the bad, and, the ugly of the roller coaster ride we are all on.
As the Mother of two Millennials, I apologize for what I contributed to this mess. I have many parental regrets. I should have made my kids work for what they were given. I should have told them “no” more often. I should have let them “fall down” more – without a safety net - so that they knew they could pick themselves up and still be just fine.
In talking with many millennial young adults, I have found some strange, yet consistent, preconceptions they have about their lives. For those, with these strange life preconceptions, I have some suggestions for you:
1. Your parents won’t live forever. Start figuring stuff out, now, or you will have a miserable life.
2. Get to know your parents, as people, before they die. Stop looking at them as your personal ATM machines. Find out what makes them tick – what they love, what they hate, and, what makes them go to work, each day, in jobs they never liked.
3. Be fucking grateful. Say thank you. Send thank you cards when people do nice things for you.
4. When you are getting on an elevator, let those, who are already on it, get off first. And, vice versa. This is a huge lesson in patience.
5. Just because you have a degree does not mean you will find a good job.
6. Just because you find a good job does not mean you will get a promotion, or, that you are entitled to one. You have to work for a promotion.
7. Your parents should not ever attend one of your employment annual reviews. That is chicken shit. You need to do the work, yourself. You need to justify your work to your boss. Your Mom and Dad should not be doing that for you.
8. You may not ever get to do what you really want to do. It is called life compromise. We have all had to do it – in one way or another. You are not special and will probably have to do it, too.
9. Don’t assume that those generations before you found jobs easily. We didn’t. We didn’t have the internet at our finger tips. We had to find jobs the old fashioned way – looking through countless newspapers, calling people we knew, and, pounding the pavement. We had to put on our suits (yes, even women had to get an interview suit) and go from business to business filling out applications hoping to score an interview. It took many of us many months to find our first decent job.
10. Get off the damned couch and live your life. This is not a dress rehearsal.
If these suggestions hurt your feelings, get over it. And, don’t have your Mom or Dad call/write/email me to complain.