“I’m so worried.”
Many of the calls I take from parents begin with this sentiment. Every day, I hear from parents whose children are having difficulty securing that first job or internship. Parents are concerned and looking for answers because their children aren’t getting the results they feel they deserve.
Worse, their son or daughter’s confidence is flagging by the day.
Is this the case in your family? You were sure your guidance and expertise would make that first offer for your child a piece of cake. But your child won’t listen to your advice. And they certainly won’t do the things you suggest.
You wonder if they’ll be okay. You wonder if they’ll be living in your basement one year from now. You lose sleep.
This happened to me recently with my own son. I nudged him to take some action on the internship question; he got frustrated. (Even the experts have real families and difficult conversations that don’t always go well.)
Eventually, my son returned to the conversation over the course of a long visit. I made progress with him largely because I remembered to take my own advice. I slowed down, listened to his concerns, and stopped pushing. I intentionally reduced my own fear by reminding myself there is no deadline when it comes to finding the right role.
I planned to trust my son and have faith that his professional path will work out on his terms (not on mine or anyone else’s). Yes, guiding your child to take action can be helpful. But first, focus on reducing your own worry so your household doesn’t become a powder keg.
Your Child Has to Run This Show
This can be hard to hear, but the fact is you and your child are not a team when it comes to their first internship or full-time job search. You are not both looking for that first job. They are. If you have interview or hiring experience, industry-related experience, or specific company knowledge, it’s fine to teach your child what you know. Giving guidance on who to connect with and office etiquette tips? Sure.
But don’t take over.
As a parent, you want to see your children achieve fast success upon graduation, especially if you’ve been inundated with tales of your friends’ children’s wins. It’s hard not to compare but doing so only makes things worse. Each young adult has their own timing and rushing them isn’t wise.
Case in point: I just spoke to a young man who, because he was feeling a lot of pressure, took one of the first job offers he received upon graduation. The entry-level sales job was for an insurance company, and it was not a good fit for his skill set. The new grad was supposed to spend nearly all of his time at work cold-calling prospects. After only six months, he quit and is now back to square one. Just taking “something” is often a step back instead of forward, though there is some value in a new grad learning what they don’t want to do.
Instead of accepting a bad job offer out of fear, it’s better for your child to assess their actual skills and only apply to roles where they can offer value and thrive. This approach requires you, as their parent, to relax.
Remember, Timing is Arbitrary
If you’re worried about how much time has passed, stop. There’s no stopwatch.
It’s never too late for your son or daughter to make new connections in their industry of interest. It’s never too late for them to get an internship. Sure, it is best for college students to begin planning for their futures early if they know what they want to do after graduation. But if your child hasn’t done so, let me be the first to calm you: it’s never too late for them to find their path. And they will.
If you are interested in helping your child to navigate this process, let’s talk. We are happy to provide a complimentary consultation or call us today at 973-577-6161. Learn more about our new book, The Next Great Step: The Parents’ Guide to Launching Your New Grad into a Career.