Readers Are Spellbound & Perplexed…
Dear GWBW — My best friend’s son is like a nephew to me and I’m worried about him now that he’s graduated high school. He obviously has no intention of ever going to college, but won’t get off his butt to get a job (he needs to be a barista, something, just work!) while he’s waiting for his “big job” to land in his lap. He only tried out for one civil service job and is holding out for it. In this market! His single dad won’t push him (out of guilt). I’m genuinely worried for his future, he’s already 22. Where’s the line I can step up to? — Concerned from the Sidelines
Dear Concerned from the Sidelines,
I understand your concern for your friend’s son. Under employment is better than no employment—especially in this economy. But beyond offering good advice, a friendly recommendation or “a good piece of my mind,” as my mother used to say, as a friend of the family, there’s not much else you can do.
I have to agree with you. In this economy, especially, it is important to piece together whatever work you can. We cannot expect to check off the same list the unemployed checked off to find a job in the last two decades. A well-crafted resume, pressed suit and a diploma doesn’t mean a job and a steady paycheck. Under experienced workers need to build up their hirable muscles by taking any employment they can. Yes, even a Barista job counts as experience in customer service, a hallmark on just about every career path.
Employers want to see that your friend’s son has experienced the 9-5 grind, reporting to superiors and managing the expectations of the workplace — whether that’s at a hot dog stand, the local café (which might mean healthcare) or temping in offices. The bottom line is he will look more employable with more experience. And in this market where college grads and well-experienced laid off workers are vying for the same jobs, the competition will very likely send your boy’s resume to the bottom of the stack and out of interview contention before he can say, “Hi, my name is.”
Perhaps, you can suggest to your friend that he give his son a deadline on contributing to the household. I don’t mean full half of expenses, but even something like $300 a month can make a huge difference, in the son’s self-esteem. He needs a reality check about what is expected in the real world. Your friend’s dad may be coddling “out of guilt,” but this may be doing more of a disservice than helping. More and more studies are coming out over how our over-coddled youth are growing into uncertain, unsteady, unrealistic adults, looking for automatic rewards and hand-outs. It’s time to get this kid to open his eyes. The world owes you nothing. In the end, your life is the way you make it and no one else can make it for you.
Dear Concerned from the Sidelines,
The problem with problems like this is the person in question already knows the right thing to do. Doesn’t he? (Now if only more kids today understood they are qualified to take nearly any good job because few to none are beneath their station in life, we’d be making progress.) I feel your frustration of caring for someone more than he seems to care for himself. Sidelines, the fact is you can’t ever “fix” someone but especially one who appears to have very little will to help himself. But if you’re gonna give it one more try…
…given the closeness of your relationships, I’m sure your buddy and his son probably expect some thoughtful words from you on this subject. I’ll tell you what. If absolutely none of the logical reasons you’ve cited to us, no real and scary consequence scenarios and/or suggested job options or job boards take with your Prince Nephew, pull out the big guns and appeal to his 22 years. Tell him he’ll never get any. Darlin’ I’m not suggesting that all women are seeking men for their money or otherwise to provide “security,” but I can guarantee he should care that his total lack of motivation and desire (and at this age!) is no aphrodisiac for a serious girl or a serious party girl, alike. No money no honey is an old adage for a reason.
Lonely and unemployed do not paint a picture of a happy or satisfying future — unless he gets more out of looking at his dad’s stressed out face than you know. I suspect there’s a lot of guilt and shame going on in that household between them, and for a variety of reasons not seen by you. Your supportiveness and good ear may be all you need to offer for the time being.
Keep on working your caring,
Juicy Relationship Coaching for Leaders and Individuals.
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