Summer is officially over.
If you have a recent graduate, have they landed their first job yet?
Many parents are faced with the same reality that not all college graduates have a full-time job offer before, on, or after graduation. But now it is the fall, and they wonder why their accomplished graduates still do not have a job. They see their grown children frustrated with their career options, their job search and worry about the permanent indentation from their grad sitting on the couch.
A parent recently shared, “My son graduated and has been unable to find a job. I am worried about his well-being and his sense of self. He is very disappointed in himself and I don’t know how to help him.”
Another parent expressed guilt that maybe she was “too hands-off” and now it is hurting her daughter’s chances of landing an internship.
Parents tell us that their grads are STUCK.
Grads could be 3 months or 3 years after graduation and they are struggling.
They might have had a short-term internship post-graduation or an entry-level job for a few months, but things did not work out. Or they may have been a strong student with good college involvement and internship experience, but now they can’t motivate and seem depressed after months of rejections or lack of progress on their job search.
What is happening?
According to Dr. Julia Turovsky, a clinical psychologist who specializes in the treatment of anxiety and mood disorders in young adults, this is a common challenge. She shares,
“Kids are stuck due to their failure to launch. They are staying in the adolescence stage of life much longer than expected and the transition to adulthood is delayed. Parents are allowing children to stay at home longer, stay on their insurance and keep them on the payroll. Parents need to encourage children to create structure to their day, set goals and live on their own. Young adults do not have a lot of motivation to search for a career when things are provided for them.”
Although Dr. Turovsky also believes, “parents are giving young adults what they need for too long” there are other complications.“30-40% of college students have diagnosable anxiety or depression. This makes it even more difficult to launch.”
One of the most common concerns from parents about their grads is their lack of goals and unstructured time.
Dr. Turovsky observes, “Young adults have great difficulty operating without a structure. For 16 years, children were told when to study, attend class, eat and exercise. Now the structure is gone and it needs to be self-imposed.”
What can a parent do?
The inclination might be to lecture or nag your grad to get moving, but here are a few tips that may help:
One of the ways parents can help their grad is to work with them to create a structure for their daily and weekly lives. This is a skill and looking for work is difficult. Help them carve out time when to get up, exercise, and job search. Recommend they go to a coffee shop or the library to dedicate scheduled time to the job search. They should also consider part-time or volunteer work to enhance their experience, but it should not interfere with their career search goals.
Suggest a Mentor
If they will not listen to you because you are “Mom” or “Dad”, help them find a mentor to speak with. This could be an adult family member or friend with work experience or even a college professor. Sometimes the feelings of depression and anxiety are real and getting mental health support can play an important role as well.
If they are trying to get a specific role but have been rejected for lack of experience, encourage them to take an online course or earn a certification that enhances their skill set. Also volunteering at a business or shadowing someone at their work can improve exposure and learn about a specific role.
A key focus of Next Great Step is to provide a simple, structured, step-by-step approach that enables young adults to get focused and feel confident about their abilities. We understand that grads are overwhelmed and intimidated by this process. We provide programs that help young adults figure out their path and then pursue their interests the right way.
We get them organized and prioritize how they spend their time week to week on the job search. Over 90% of our clients have landed the job of their choice. Want to learn more about how we help grads get “unstuck”. Contact us at www.nextgreatstep.com/contact-us. For clinical psychological support contact Dr. Julia Turovsky. She is in private practice in Chatham, NJ, and can be reached at (973) 635-2444 or Turovsky@verizon.net