Mom, Dad, I'm Home!

The dismal job market has forced many un- or under-employed twenty-somethings to move back in with their parents. And that may not be so bad. The secret upside to a down economy.

by Lindsy Van Gelder
Photograph: Photo by Phil Toledano.

Bezahler says she and her stepdaughter have entered “a whole new phase of our relationship. The dynamic has shifted from her reliance on us to something more mutual.” Her stepdaughter is reading biographies of Bob Dylan and Marilyn Monroe, and Bezahler and her husband enjoy talking about what these icons meant to them. “But she’s also been able to give us an understanding of how those celebrities fit into contemporary culture and how, for example, this woman who was such a complicated vision of femininity, and who had such baggage, can play out in someone like Lady Gaga taking that stuff into a more empowered direction,” Bezahler says. She adds that her stepdaughter “was always an interesting kid—but she was an interesting kid.” Now they’re getting to know each other more as equals. Says Newman: “This is a time that can lead to a real quality relationship between adults. Maybe even a better one than you would have had if the child hadn’t come home.”    

Originally published in the February 2011 issue of More.

First Published February 14, 2011

Share Your Thoughts!


To YOU ARE SPOT ON! I'm 42 yrs. old and remember the way it used to be. We are breeding generations of people who "feel" entitled! Guess what? ...Time to get back to realistic living and stop all the wasteful government spending!

Kate Leiner02.13.2011

Yes, there are many twenty-somethings out of work but how can you talk about how under-employed they are? Today's workplace moves at lightspeed and requires a significant committment of time, energy and experience to be successful. These kids are not under-employed because they have no experience. Graduating from college demonstrates the fact that you have a good memory and enough discipline to do the work but it doesn't qualify as experience. These kids are short on track record and expertise but long on entitlement and that is the problem. And the parents aren't offering a solution.
Most older adults have seen their 401K's decimated by recent events so why are they making regular handouts to their kids? Why are the kids taking them? I'm a single 46 year old professional woman who earns a comfortable living but I remember being an inexperienced twenty-something. I worked retail until I found a "real job" and lived in a $163 month studio apartment that barely qualified as decent. I didn't own a car because I couldn't afford one and when I did buy a car it was old, used and cheap to repair. The used cars got nicer over the years but I never bought a luxury car (and never will) and didn't buy my first brand new car until I paid cash for my Honda Accord three years ago.
These kids need to learn to live within their means and pay their dues in the workforce. If they can't afford a smart phone they shouldn't buy one. Same goes for cable. They can't waste time on Twitter and Facebook when they could spend that time doing an internship or helping out in a non-profit in their area of professional interest. Those activities would give these kids the type of marketable skills they need to find a job because once again, the books they read in college do NOT count as experience.
Also, twenty-somethings need to realize that there is something else at play here. No one can talk about it but in the back of every hiring manager's mind is age. People in their twenties are known for partying, dating, living free and doing as they please. It's great to be in your twentys but for an employer...younger people are riskier.
I'd pay a little more for someone older who is experienced, mature and settled rather than hire some young person who may call out when they're hungover or crawl in the morning after doing the walk of shame. I'll take the person who worries about their role as caretaker of their elderly parent over the person who will spend half the day trying to figure out why the guy of the moment didn't call. Is that fair? Probably not but it's realistic. Employers want productivity and proven performance and twenty somethings are simply too high risk.
These parents need to understand this and stop enabling their kids because in the long run they aren't helping them. American companies hired 1M people last year in this country while they sent 1.4M jobs overseas and our Government is doing nothing to stop it. The market will only become more competitive and these kids needs to develop their skillset, live on a tight budget and learn to roll with the punches because unless the Government steps up it is only going to get harder.

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