On the cusp of President Obama's inaguaration, I can't help but wonder if everything is changing, shouldn't our career advice about Gen Y be changing as well? Sure we'd like to think it's new-age and modern and "different," but perhaps the foundation was based on a relentlessly optimistic economic time and place. Maybe it just doesn't fit anymore.
Instead of creating posts to further reiterate past stances, perhaps it's time to see some object them. Someone needs to acknowledge that the expiration date around generational ideologies is narrowing every day. Even the ones that ooze cool and rebel against the system. Is it still a good idea to be picky? Maybe, but only if your personality can handle it. Is it still a good idea to job hop? Maybe, but only if you're ready for some criticism from those who may not understand the logic.
In the end, mental effects are far greater than career ones. What it boils down to is this: Do you know yourself well enough to be brazen?
I dont believe career advice will ever be cut and dry again. That being said, I've been thinking about the new-age advice about moving in with my parents. It's been hailed as the new black, the thing to do for college grads, and a great way to build a rainy day fund. But lately I've been thinking it may not be the greatest idea, especially since I read this article in the NY Times about what happens to a marriage after the children leave the nest.
The answer, my dear friends, is that the marriage actually improves. In fact, the article states that having you to begin with is what started your parents on the road to unhappiness.
Indeed, one of the more uncomfortable findings of the scientific study of marriage is the negative effect children can have on previously happy relationships. Despite the popular notion that children bring couples closer, several studies have shown that marital satisfaction and happiness typically plummet with the arrival of the first baby.
The article contiues to delve into the long-term results. In other words, you moving back in seals the deal (emphasis mine):
In the empty-nest study, researchers compared the women’s marital happiness in their 40s, when many still had children at home; in their early 50s, when some had older children who had left home; and in their 60s, when virtually all had empty nests. At every point, the empty nesters scored higher on marital happiness than women with children still at home.
She notes that the lesson from the empty nest may be that parents need to work to carve out more stress-free time together. In the sample studied, it was only relationship satisfaction that improved when children left home. Over all, parents were just as happy with children at home as in the empty nest. (What happens when adult children move back home, their job prospects having evaporated in a brutal economy, has not been extensively studied.)
I wonder if moving back home is going to ruin my parents marriage?
I mean, in all honesty, I never really asked if I could. I posted the idea on my blog and assumed my dad read it. He reads all my posts and is quick to offer an opinion. Since he didn't immediately refute it, I, again, assumed they wouldn't mind. Yes there were a lot of assumptions, but I didn't feel guilty because I don't plan on staying long. The guilt only set in when I realized that sometimes even the best laid plans have flaws.
I would like to think that I add a bit of much needed energy around the house. When I'm there I still run errands as a dutiful child should. This weekend I went to Dunkin' Donuts for Mom when she was craving a lemon-filled snack. I also ran to the grocery store for Dad when he felt like Sam Adams would be the only one to truly understand his woes. Heck, I even bought them a brand new, highly coveted Wii Fit, not because they needed it, but because all the cool parents have one.
Now here's where the idea of parent/child needs gets interesting...
Let me first say that my independence is something I've prided myself on. My never-say-die mentality is recognized and appreciated by many. Yet and still, when the engine light came on my car, I called Daddy. When my pants needed a hem, I called Mommy. I didn't call because I needed them specifically, but because they were there. Surely if I was in Charlotte I would've called the appropriate professional and taken care of it myself. But I wasn't. I was at home.
Perhaps I've just missed the convenience of having someone with your best interests in mind within arms reach. Perhaps there really is a co-dependence or, perhaps that's the way families who live, pray, and eat together are. It's hard for me to tell anymore. I wouldn't know anymore.
So I asked my best friend over lunch how it feels to live at home. She is one who not only lives with her parents, but also works in the same building as her mother--for the same company. If anyone would know about a potential parent overload it would be her. She tells me it's not that bad. She says there are times when she feels "trapped," but they are few and far between.
"Trapped?" I reply, "I am, what they call, a free spirit--I don't do well with trapped..."
Now I'm struggling. I'm not anxious, but I'm not calm either. It's like being in the midst of a storm and feeling afraid to look out the window because you don't know whether it's passed, or whether you're just in the eye. Do I relax and adjust? Or do I brace myself and hold on for the rest?
I refer back to the article for in search of some comfort. Surely the writer would not just denounce children who move back in and the parents who accept them. Surely the writer would keep searching for proof in order to prevent alienating such a large segment of readers.
I soon find renewed faith in the journalist as I read this gem:
“Kids aren’t ruining parents’ lives,” Dr. Gorchoff said. “It’s just that they’re making it more difficult to have enjoyable interactions together.”
What a relief. Thanks Dr. G. And thank you NY Times. I can deal with being difficult.
Now where's the research for the effects on the children? Sign me up for the case study!