Monday, March 10, 2008

The truth about helicopter parents

I've been job hunting. For a long time. The search has been 'serious' for the last seven months or so (aka as of the death of my dancing career), although I've been sort of recreationally looking ever since the first day of sitting on the couch with a swollen knee and a lack of good daytime TV. Inevitably, you get sick of looking at Craigslist, Monster, Careerbuilder, and Idealist, and start looking at blogs. Trust me, it happens (why are you reading this, anyway?). The whole career blog community is what I find most intriguing right now. Not for a wealth of advice or the holy grail of interviewing or anything of that sort; what cracks me up is the sensationalistic feeling of all the issues. Everyone is SO caught up in the ideas of Gen-Y vs Baby Boomers, helicopter parents, and other issues that really don't seem to be issues to me.

The way I see it, so-called friction at work between the Gen Y group and the Boomers is inevitable because these people are our parents' age. We are in the age range of their children. Naturally, there's going to be some transferrance, and your boss is probably going to yell at you not realizing that he's mistaking you for his 23 year old daughter who just ran away and married a tattoo artist in Las Vegas. Problems between Gen Y and Gen X? Come on, people. You naturally get testy with people you spend most of your waking hours with. It's human nature. When you find the person who doesn't make you want to go on a shooting rampage, hold on to them and marry them.

Helicopter parents are what really bugged me today. I had been reading Penelope Trunk's blog in an effort to become a bit more realistic about my expectations for a job, so naturally when she launched I figured I should read the blogs that she reads: 50 20-something-aimed, career-geared writers. One in particular (I forget her name) seems rather obsessed with helicopter parents. All these 20-somethings complain so much about their 'hovering' parents but the truth is, we did it to ourselves. We were the ones who wanted to do ballet, tennis, swim team, gymnastics, and honors choir all at the same time in fourth grade while taking 6th grade math and getting bussed across the district for the gifted program. So, our parents became impossibly busy chauffeurs. So we were spending hours of extra one-on-one time with our parents each day in the car, and naturally we told them what was going on in our lives. Too much, in fact. They knew our homework assignments, projects, and issues inside and out... and once they knew, its only natural that they made sure that we followed through on it all. So we did it to ourselves in becoming over-involved, super overachievers who made the mistake of telling our parents all of the things we needed to do. Our parents wanted to help and make sure we were successful in all that we were doing, so they hovered (a bit). So many people my age complain that it's their helicopter parents who are to blame for their lacking abilities to look after themselves, get a job, and for their absolutely crushing feelings of inadequacy. Nope, guys. We did it to ourselves. The quicker you figure it out, the quicker you can heal.

Of course, I have this 'suck it up' attitude right now because I lived through a pretty damn hard year and am still living to tell the tale. Also, I'm awaiting travel plans for an onsite interview for a pretty fun job at the number one place in the country to work...

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