By Ryan Healy — Recently, I have seen a slew of articles about helicopter parents. Parents of millennials are becoming very involved in the job search process. These parents feel they have the right to call their child’s company to discuss benefits and relocation packages and even negotiate salary. I think this is great.When Brady Quinn, the star quarterback from Notre Dame, was finally drafted by the Browns in last weeks NFL draft, I can guarantee his agent was on the phone with the team negotiating Brady’s salary, benefits and any other perks an NFL quarterback might receive.
An NFL quarterback, or any athlete for that matter, would never dream of negotiating for themselves. Agents have the experience and maturity to know what their client deserves and they have the practiced skills to negotiate the best deal. Why are newly minted college grads expected to do the wheeling and dealing involved in a job search, with little to no guidance?
Even if I wanted to, I couldn’t possibly find an agent to represent me in my job search. The 5% cut of Brady Quinn’s salary that an agent receives is probably more than my salary for the next three years.
But what could be better than having my parents represent me? Not only do they have my best interests in mind and want to see me succeed, but they have the experience. Most parents of millenniels have been in the corporate world for years. They have seen first hand; downsizings, layoffs, and corporate restructurings. They have probably held multiple jobs, and negotiated their own salary and benefit packages.
Parents are skeptical of corporate America for good reason. They don’t exactly trust companies to provide their children with well paid, safe and secure jobs. Many of these parents are probably baby boomers who would love to retire soon. They spent hundreds of thousands of hard earned dollars on an education for their children to land a great job. And they expect their children to at least have the resources to return the favor and help support them in retirement and old age.
I have every intention of returning this favor and helping my parents out. But as a new college graduate, it is just not possible to know very much about salaries, stock options, Pension Plans, 401K’s, Health Insurance or anything else you quickly learn when you leave the college fantasy world behind.
Obviously, at some point we millennials need to grow up and become adults, but a little guidance and occasional intervening in the first post-college job search will teach a twentysomething how to properly handle the next search, on his or her own.
Thanks to his years of extensive networking and corporate climbing at a well respected non-profit, my father helped me get an internship at Merrill Lynch one summer and a local accounting firm the next. Of course, I had to create a resume (with a lot of help from my parents), set up an interview, and go through the entire process like everyone else. But I never would have had the chance if my parents hadn’t intervened.
I think the bigger issue here is companies are worried that all of this parental hovering may cost them money. The majority of entry-level workers are probably underpaid. It’s easy to make a 22-year-old an offer and say, “Take it or leave it.” Most young workers will end up accepting because they don’t know what they are really worth. If an experienced parent acts as an agent and coaches their kid through the process or even involves themselves in the process, that entry-level worker just may get the offer they deserve.
Of course, there should be limits to just how involved a parent should be. The last thing you want to do is cost your kid a job. And once the job search is over, please don’t call human resources to check up on me. But if you know what you are doing, then go ahead and help your kid land that first dream job. The corporations might not be too happy about it, but if the trend keeps up, all they can do is learn to deal with it.
Ryan Healy’s blogs is Employee Evolution.