I’m currently hyperventilating over this Wall St. Journal article: Should You Bring Mom and Dad to Your Job Interview?

An excerpt:  “Some firms have begun embracing parental involvement and using it to attract and hold onto talent and boost employee morale … Some Northwestern Mutual managers call or send notes to parents when interns achieve their sales goals and let parents come along to interviews and hear details of job offers. They may even visit parents at home … A 2012 survey of more than 500 college graduates by Adecco, a human-resources organization, found that 8% of them had a parent accompany them to a job interview, and 3% had the parent sit in on the interview.”

My head just exploded over here.

{ 360 comments… read them below }

    1. Jessa*

      BUH What? My head went splodey boom when I read this.I’m with you Alison, this is insane. Whiskey Tango Foxtrot, indeed.

  1. fposte*

    There are people who want their parents to have a copy of their *performance review*?

    I bet their parents filled out the survey responses for them.

        1. Anony1234*

          That’s it! You’re going into the corner for time out! How old are you? That’s how long you have to sit there and think about what you did (or didn’t do)!

          1. Tax Nerd*

            Au contraire. The kids don’t get in trouble for the bad performance review. Darling Child’s *boss* gets a call that they were unfair/mean and that Special Snowflake is Spesh-ulll, and their review should be adjusted upwards.

            Yes, I have heard of this happening. In a Big Four accounting firm.

            (No, it did not get the result the parent, or child, wanted.)

            1. Bea W*

              It happens to teachers. I guess employers getting parental agro is just the next logical step down that slippery slope.

            1. JMegan*

              I sometimes give myself timeouts when my children are misbehaving. And ITA – when else do I get 39 solid minutes to myself? :)

  2. Bryan*

    Instead of worrying about being fired, I’m worried they’ll just call my mom.

    On a separate note I’d love to bring one or both of my parents in to see what I do. I don’t know about anybody else though but when I’m in stressful situations, such as a job interview, my parents never decrease my stress level.

    1. Sascha*

      Job interview – hell no. Office tour after lunch date – yes. I think it’s great to show your family your workplace and let them see what you do, but that’s it – SEE, nothing more.

      1. Lanya*

        We had a coworker bring his mother in for a tour. It was a little weird. Another coworker goes out with her mother for lunch in town regularly, which is great, except that “Mom” has taken it upon herself to befriend everyone else in the office and engage each person in a chat about their personal lives every time she comes to visit. Co-worker knows it’s not appropriate but won’t tell Mom to stop. My conclusion is, it’s best to leave family out of the workplace as much as possible.

    2. Judy*

      The US Navy has a tradition called “Tiger Cruises”, where the sailors on a ship can bring along someone for a weekend. I think its roots are to get the (mostly) sons excited about the ships.

      One of my co-worker’s youngest is in the Navy. She is so excited to fly out and see what her daughter is doing for a few days next month.

      1. PuppyKat*

        About the Tiger Cruises, though, I’ve always thought that they were rewards for family members who haven’t seen their mom, dad, sibling, etc. for several months because they were deployed halfway around the world. I think it’s a fabulous tradition.

        Someone asking to bring their mom, dad, sibling, etc. to a job interview: Just a nice easy way for me to strike a candidate’s name off my list.

    3. AP*

      My dad was in the neighborhood of my office one day and he dropped by to see it. It was kind of cute, and my co-workers told him good things about me. (But I had been there for a few years at that point!)

      1. Bea W*

        Flashback of my dad coming into my work (it was a college office where the public could just waltz in) and called out “Hey Bea! Why can’t I get into your apartment?!”

        Um…a better question would be “Why are you trying to get into my apartment?” My parents had keys because they would feed my pets if I was away, but they took it as an open invitation to let themselves in for whatever reason while I was out. There was nothing wrong with dad’s key. It was just my dumb luck he couldn’t work the lock and then felt the need to drive to my work and tell me and everyone else within earshot about it.

        I didn’t give them keys when I moved. Dad embarassed me once, but at least he didn’t stop by to ninja poop and leave it for me to find later.

    4. Collarbone High*

      Ugh, this. It’s stressful enough going out to a meal with my parents, worrying that they’ll use the lame “My name is Steve, and I’ll be your customer” joke, or leave a 4 percent tip, or some other hideous breach of social conventions. I cannot imagine adding that stress to the already considerable stress of a job interview.

      1. louise*

        The 1st time i met my husbands parents he forewarned me his dad isn’t really socially appropriate. I was glad for the warning: his dad asked our server if he could shake her hand. When she said sure, he grabbed her wrist and SHOOK it while declaring loudly, “yup! Shakes real good!” Making it even worsr, i knew the server from college and i was so embarrassed on her behalf. That we have been happily married 7 years speaks of my husband’s amazing lack of ANY resemblance to his father.

      2. Em*

        Ugh, don’t even get me started on parental tipping! In their defense, they live in a country where gratuities are automatically added to the bill, and just don’t seem to understand that times have changed and 15-18% is NOT a really good tip! I usually convince them to tip more when I’m with them, but have no idea what they do when they travel to the US and I’m not around…

          1. Rana*

            18-20%, I believe. (I always tip 20% unless the server’s performance is truly wretched, both because they get such crappy pay, and because the math is easier.)

          2. bearing*

            I tip 25% if I bring children, since their food is less expensive and it’s not like they’re lower maintenance.

    5. Elizabeth*

      I’ve brought family members in to see my workplace before, but only long after I was hired and established. I love my family, but my boss should get to know *me* before being introduced to my mom, dad, sister, fiancé, etc.

  3. ProcReg*

    Have community soccer games taught us nothing?

    I’m trying to get my parents out of my career activities, and there are people that want them involved?

  4. Calla*

    I’m assuming this is only done with the employees’ permission, but I would honestly be livid if they even asked. If I’m old enough to hold down an office job, I am old enough for my parents to not be informed of my every move.

    (Though it’s interesting that actually the U.S. results are lower than global averages.)

    1. Tina*

      In most cases that I’ve come across (I work with college students), parental involvement has been at the potential employee/candidate’s request, not that the employer is “telling” on you to your parents. Though I have also seen a few cases where the parents interjected themselves into the hiring process without the candidate knowing it (and certainly against their wishes) until after the fact, and usually not to the candidate’s advantage. Overall, parental involvement during the actual process has not been well-received from the employers I’ve spoken to. I remember one employer on a panel being quite vehement about how your mother may NOT wait for you in their office during your interview, especially as their office had an open floor plan and the mother could see (and be observed watching) during the entire interview.

      Having families visit the office or participating in social events after someone is hired is certainly easier, and more to be expected. I think many of us enjoy showing friends/family where we work and what we do, but that’s not the same as involving them in what we do or our own decisions.

      1. Calla*

        Sure, but this article is about employers who do things like *actually make home visits to the parents.* I can’t even think of how someone would request that without knowing it’s an option, and if you tell me it’s an option, I’m outta there.

        1. Anonymous*

          Agreed, I lost track of that as I was answering, since I mostly see it from one side, not the other.

          I can’t imagine any reason for an employer to make a home visit. For anyone.

    2. some1*

      “If I’m old enough to hold down an office job, I am old enough for my parents to not be informed of my every move.”

      I think it’s true for *any* job, including a high schooler baby-sitting or mowing lawns, unless the child is being seriously taken advantage of. But even if that case, the parent should get the child to advocate for herself (just my two cents) if possible.

      1. Chinook*

        Absolutely – there is no reason for a parent to be involved with someone’s job, even if they are under 18 (unless the child is being taken advantage of). After school and summer jobs are where you get to act like an adult.

      2. Jazzy Red*

        In fact, it would be a good thing for parents to teach their kids how to know when they’re being taken advantage of and how to deal with people who do that.

    3. Jules*

      I’m from Asia and parents are involved in their kids life until they die… pretty much.. Hahahah… no seriously. Drives my American husband crazy XD

      1. Heather*

        Me thinking the first post didn’t go through and writing it again – now THAT’s because of Obamacare ;)

  5. A Teacher*

    Helicopter parenting at its finest–trust me, as a high school teacher this doesn’t surprise me although it is sad.

    1. Construction HR*

      I read a story a coupla years ago about a mom who stayed in her daughter’s dorm room for about a week after school started. The roommate finally got fed up, spoke up & mom left.

        1. TL*

          Seriously? Unless the family was so broke that a hotel was truly not an option, I wouldn’t have let my roommates parents spend a single night in my dorm room. And one night would have been my limit.

          1. Naomi*

            I find that a little offensive. Very few people are wealthy enough to afford hotel stays when they have a family member in town they can stay with. I had a roommate’s friend, brother, and mom stay over for a few days (on separate occasions, not all at once) and had no problem with it. My own mom also slept in my dorm room for a few days when she visited for parents’ weekend. Yes, she technically had money for a hotel-but that money’s not unlimited, and she would rather spend it on a vacation where she actually needed a hotel room. I don’t think it’s any different than a friend or family member staying with me for a few days now that I have my own apartment. (I do agree that the parents shouldn’t hang around the first few weeks when students are supposed to be getting to know the other students)

            1. Ask a Manager* Post author

              Assuming that we’re talking about a dorm room and not a suite, this isn’t like having someone stay in your apartment. It’s like having them stay in your bedroom.

              You were nice to accommodate it, but I don’t think it’s offensive to say that you’re not willing to have someone else in your space like that.

              1. Naomi*

                What I was offended by was the statement about anyone who can’t afford an unnecessary hotel room being “poor.”

                1. Ask a Manager* Post author

                  I read that as “the only way I’d be at all open to this is if it would be if it would cause massive financial hardship to them if I refused,” which doesn’t seem unreasonable.

                2. TL*

                  Right, that’s how I meant it – undue financial hardships. And where I went to school, a clean but cheap hotel for one night was $37-60, so doable for most people if only for a night or two.

                3. Anonymous*

                  What do you mean by unnecessary? A parent who by necessity needs to share a dorm room with their child is, well, less than well-off, or very cheap.

                4. Naomi*

                  Maybe it’s just the location of where I went to school, but between plane ticket and hotel room, it would have cost well over a thousand dollars for one of my parents to visit me for a weekend. Most people don’t have that kind of money laying around. And yeah, it was weird when my roommate had her mom/brother over (when my mom visited me, I had my own room) but so what? I’m not such a prima donna that I would prevent my roommate’s mom from ever visiting her at college just because I’d have to change in the bathroom.

                5. TL*

                  I don’t think not wanting to share a dorm room – the only semi-private place in a very public lifestyle – is being a prima donna. Especially because it’s your room and a very personal place anyway.
                  Look, I don’t know about you, but I couldn’t go anywhere on campus without running into someone I knew who wanted to talk to me about something. My room, like most students, was the only place I had solitude and even then I had to share it. And when I came back to my room I did not want to continue being “on” so I didn’t offend my roommate’s parents. Nor did I want to feel forced to stay out of my room so they could have privacy.

                  Like I said, if there were extenuating financial circumstances, if it really was stay in the dorm room or don’t visit at all, I’d be willing to compromise for a weekend a semester and stay somewhere else. But for most families and most colleges, that’s not the choice and it is weird for the parents to stay in the dorm rooms.

                6. Naomi*

                  TL- I felt about the way you describe. But it’s only a couple nights out of the whole year, it’s not like her mom was moving in permanently. Besides, it would have been about $500 for a hotel room for the weekend. I don’t think not being able to afford that makes someone really poor, just middle class.

                7. TL*

                  Right, but I think we can safely say that in most of the US, you wouldn’t expect to pay $500 for a weekend in a hotel. So your example is an exception specific to NYC; in most cities, it’s not unreasonable to expect a middle-class or even lower middle-class, family could afford a hotel room for a weekend, even if it’s just the Motel 6.

                8. Ask a Manager* Post author

                  I think even in cities where hotels are expensive, most people wouldn’t be okay with their roommate’s mother staying in their dorm room. It’s nice that you allowed, Naomi, but I think most of us would have said we were uncomfortable with it and not okayed it.

                9. Bea W*

                  So what that boils down to is you find people who are “poor” offensive? Otherwise, there would be no reason to be offended by the implication you found in the commenter’s word “broke”.

                  One doesn’t need to be “wealthy” to afford a hotel room. The reaction seems a bit over-the-top to me. It really wasn’t a response about ascribing a lower or higher socio-economic status to anyone let alone judging them for it.

                10. Bea W*

                  BTW – for visiting NYC or any other city where room rates are ridiculous, it is possible to find accommodations outside of the city but close enough to commute in my driving or public transit that are much more affordable. BTDT.

                  As others have touched on, when sharing a tiny space (or any space) with other people, it is considerate to ask your roommate(s) first and come to some agreement about overnight guests. You may not have an issue with your own family crammed into a 10×12 or smaller space along with your roommate, but your roommate may be really uncomfortable and find that situation near untenable, and that roommate is one who has paid to live in that space and likely has no place else to go and shouldn’t have to feel like they can’t be in their own room.

                11. J*

                  A lot of it just depends on the dorm, too. Some colleges I’ve seen have more suites with a common area and a bathroom shared by maybe 8 people. My dorm room was one room shared by me and roomie, and our bathroom was used by the entire floor, so about fifty guys. Even if my parent had wanted to stay with me the only option would have been for them (or me) to sleep directly on the floor in our three square feet of walking space.
                  This also would have been considered Very Weird, to have a parent in your dorm with you. But again, I’m sure that can vary depending on your college or specific dorm.

              2. Ann*

                Thank goodness this was never an option where I went to school. Overnight guests were not allowed to stay in our dorm rooms. If visiting parents wanted to stay on campus they had cabins for that purpose.

            2. The IT Manager*

              This probably depends on your college experience, but no way. In my college experience, the only person staying in your dorm room that you share with someone else should be you. And that was a pretty clear policy at my school. My college dorm room was a small room with two desks, two beds, and two wardrobes. Its certainly inappropriate for a mother, sister, boyfriend, etc, etc, etc to decide to stay. Where did Mom sleep? With her daughter? That was a tiny bed.

              For you to think this is okay probably means, your dorm room looked a lot different than my dorm room.

              1. Naomi*

                My dorm room was about what you describe. My mom slept on my bed, and I slept on an air mattress. The official policy was that visitors could stay for up to three nights, and it was completely normal and accepted for people to have visitors. During parents’ weekend many visiting parents stayed in their kid’s dorm rooms–the school even issued special badges for them. (Also, my first apartment was a studio not much bigger than a dorm room, and I had no problem with my brother staying for a few weeks. Yes, it’s inconvenient, but should I have said, sorry, find another place to stay while you’re in town, I can’t stand sharing my room with someone? He was in town for my graduation, and he’s in college so it’s not like he could afford a hotel room)

                1. TL*

                  Your apartment is fine to share as you please, but a dorm room you share with your roommate.

                  I, personally, was not okay with strangers or people I barely knew spending the night when I was there. I had no privacy anyways, but if someone was spending the night I would have had to be on my best behavior, sleep in a lot more clothes than I normally did, give up space and bathroom/closet time, and be creeped out by more total strangers there while I was sleeping, when all I ever wanted to do in my dorm room was relax and watch trashy t.v.
                  Plus, at my school, no one’s parents stayed in their dorm room.

                  I share my apartment all the time, but it’s with people or relatives I know and trust, not a random roommates’ parents.

                2. TL*

                  (Not that your parents are creepy; I just hate sleeping around other people and find that whole experience creepy.)

                3. Colette*

                  But it’s one thing to share your dorm room with your family, and another to expect your roommate to share her dorm room with your family (or for you to have to share your dorm room with your roommate’s family).

                4. Anonymous*

                  My dorm room was 10 x 12 and I shared it with three other girls. No way did we let anyone stay over, not even hot ‘n heavy SOs.

                5. Ellie H.*

                  From my experiences it is quite atypical, these days at least, for a dorm to allow parents to stay in a room.

                  My school allowed visitors for up to three days but this could not be a parent; parents were expressly forbidden from staying overnight in the dorm. I think most people would agree that dormitory life is quite different from an apartment or other living arrangement and that it’s not appropriate for parents to stay there.

                6. Naomi*

                  Once again, I had no problem with my roommates mom staying a few days. What should I have said, “your mom has to pay hundreds of dollars she can’t afford for a hotel just to visit her daughter because I want privacy at all times?”Anyway, when my own mom visited I didn’t even have a roommate. My room was about 6×12, so it was cramped, but again so what? It’s just a few days. I really can’t fathom not being able to put up with a few days of discomfort for a friend’s sake.

                7. TL*

                  Okay, but you’ve clearly stated that your school was in the most expensive city in the states, hotels are hundreds of dollars more expensive than they are elsewhere, your/her family had to fly in, and it truly was a case of “stay in the dorm room or don’t visit” because of these extenuating circumstances. Most parental visits don’t operate under those circumstances. And thus most roommates would not tolerate a parent staying in the room.

                8. Ask a Manager* Post author

                  What should I have said, “your mom has to pay hundreds of dollars she can’t afford for a hotel just to visit her daughter because I want privacy at all times?”

                  Well, no, but you could have said, “I’m sorry, but I’m not comfortable sharing the room with a parent” if indeed you felt that way. That wouldn’t have been unreasonable (I think many people would have said something like that, in fact!).

                9. AnonAnony*

                  Sorry, replying to your post downthread isn’t working. But you said “I really can’t fathom not being able to put up with a few days of discomfort for a friend’s sake.” and I think that’s where there’s a culture clash: My college roommate wasn’t a friend, it was a randomly assigned stranger that I had to share a minuscule sleeping space with for 9+ months.

                10. TL*

                  To be honest, if those were the circumstances, I probably just would’ve told my roommate the weekends I was planning to be out of town (and I like to travel, so at least one weekend a month I find myself roving somewhere) and said any of these dates are fine.

          2. College Career Counselor*

            The situation in question was when a mother moved the student into her dorm room…..and then moved herself in, ostensibly to help her student adjust to college life. Apparently she slept on a bedroll on the floor and waited in the room all day for the student to get back from class (which is why the RA was not aware she was living there).

            The poor roommate didn’t know what to make of this or quite how to handle the situation, so it continued for some time. My recollection is that this went on for at least three weeks and possibly longer.

            At that point, the roommate finally went to the RA (presumably to ask, “do I have to share a room with my roommate AND her mother?”), who called the Director of Residence Life. The parent was informed that part of college life is gaining one’s social independence, and that she was doing a disservice to her student (not to mention the roommate, and she was asked to move out immediately (which she did).

            I don’t recall if the mother then went home, or if she got a room at a hotel nearby to be on hand in case of “transition to college” issues..

            1. Anonna Miss*

              Oh. My. Word.

              I am so horrified at this. That the mother (or her daughter) thought this was anywhere close to reasonable, or that the poor roommate put up with it for so long without knowing how to handle it.

              I’m suddenly very glad that every college roommate I ever had was like me in that their parents only visited for Parents’ Week and the like, if that. (The upside to a college town surrounded by cornfields is that it’s boring to visit.)

              1. TL*

                Haha, my parents visited so much less than any of my friends (and they lived the closest by an hour or so) and I loved it. College was my place, not theirs.

                1. Bea W*

                  My parents never visited any of us. We were expected to come home on occasion, and in cases where airfare is expensive on top of hotels being expensive. That’s actually a way more affordable solution, buying your child airfare for a visit home instead.

            2. Caffeine Queen*

              My mom stayed with me in my dorm once-but my roommate was away and I cleared it with her first. My mother, thank the Lord, is the least likely to be a helicopter parent-it was just one of the very few times I’ve had my mom to myself and it was her way of seeing whether she could still live the college life in her forties :D

              After that, she’s been more than OK with getting a nice hotel room for herself when visiting :D

              But no, my parents would never just show up and expect to sleep in my dorm and I wouldn’t want them to. They also didn’t visit much since I moved 500 miles away and that was fine by me. I like having my own space and the ability to see them and engage with them on my terms. It actually has strengthened our bonds, believe it or not.

            3. Jazzy Red*

              OK, if I was the roommate’s mother, I would have gone there and physically thrown that helicopter mom out on her…rotor.

              Boundaries, people!

              1. Bobby Digital*

                Yeah, that’s what I was thinking. Why didn’t the roommates’ parents fill her in on how weird this was?

            4. Rana*

              At one of the places my husband worked, there was one student (somewhat infamous among the faculty for his difficulties with adapting to college life) whose mother rented a place just off campus so she could check up on her son regularly.

              We all thought it was very weird, and not doing the kid any favors.

          3. Dani*

            The day winter semester started my freshman year there was a huge snowstorm so my roommate’s mother ended up staying in our dorm room because she couldn’t drive home. I didn’t mind because it was obvious that she hadn’t intended to stay, but since the highways were closed she didn’t really have a choice and I wasn’t going to insist she go to a hotel instead. She was gone bright and early the next morning.

      1. Stark*

        During a dorm chat back in the day, someone asked our university admissions director about the school’s policy regarding child prodigies. He said they’re evaluated and admitted like any other applicant, but that they’re expected to behave like any other student (i.e., an adult.) This resulted in one 13-year-old leaving school because it turned out he wasn’t ready to live in a college dorm with 18-year-olds, and a 14-year-old being… strongly discouraged from applying because the mother planned to move into the dorm with her.

        1. Evan*

          Assuming they don’t force them to stay on campus if they / their family can get an apartment in town, that sounds perfectly sensible.

          1. Kat M*

            My college had mandatory on-campus housing for all unmarried first-year students. I think this also applied to students whose families lived in town.

        2. Ruffingit*

          I don’t know why anyone would want their 13/14 year old to live in a dorm anyway no matter how smart they are intellectually. Dorms are a vehicle of transition from childhood to adulthood, a place you can exercise some freedom while still having some assistance as needed (RA, Dorm advisors, etc.). It’s not the place for 13 or 14 year olds to be.

          1. Anonymous*

            I was that age when I started college, and for liability reasons, I was asked to *not* move in to the dorms. (My family lived within an acceptable commuting radius, so I went through the normal exemption process and rode the bus.) When I was 16 and a senior, I lived in the dorms and had a fine time.

            1. Ruffingit*

              I can see a difference though between 13/14 and 16. Two years is a lot when you’re looking at those ages. It’s the difference between being able to drive yourself and not, being able to work (in most places) and not. Two years matters quite a bit. But my comment is more reflective of the difficulty for everyone when a 13 year old (for example) moves into a dorm full of 18 year olds. That’s hard for the 18 year olds, not knowing how to relate to a kid that young and it’s hard for the 13 year old who will have a lot of trouble making friends among the dorm group. Just doesn’t seem the best way to handle college for someone that age.

              1. Rana*

                When I was an undergrad, it was usual for the “language dorms” (ones occupied by students studying a language – you were expected to speak in that language while living there, hold events, etc.) to have a live-in native speaker (usually a foreign visiting professor). One year the original native speaker for our dorm had to return home unexpectedly, and the only replacement available was a single mother with a ten-year-old child. We were all taken a bit aback at first, but said child turned out to be great fun to live with, and improved our language skills immensely.

                But this was a child living with her parent, not a lone child trying to fit in with other, much older, students.

  6. O*

    Just saw that on Huffington Post (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/09/11/parent-job-interview_n_3907447.html?utm_hp_ref=business), it really is WTF. I’ll admit, I’m a millennial, I’m living at home after graduate school, I have a part-time in my field that was meant for students. My mom keeps encouraging me to use my dad to network, and my dad keeps offering to help me find a job. Absolutely not! (other personal stuff aside) This is my life and I know I can do it on my own, I want to do it on my own, it’s called growing up. This is just creepy.

    1. MiketheRecruiter*

      Why not use your father’s network? I used my parents and got a great first job out of school. I still had to go through the standard interview process, but I got introduced to a hiring manager who was always too busy to check their ATS so they didn’t even know people were applying.

      Put your hubris aside…networking is real, regardless of family, and saying “I can do it on my own” is a great attitude, but not using a tool is being a silly goose.

      1. Calla*

        I do agree with this. I also used my dad’s network to get my first real job, which ended up being a fantastic experience that really helped me. He was a respected employee and often helped out the legal department (which he knew I would be interested in). When he heard they were hiring, he said “Oh, my daughter is very interested the law and would be great.” They said “have her send her resume!” I interviewed, I got the job. It’s not he talked them into hiring me.

      2. O*

        I’ll admit the personal reasons are pretty overwhelming and his attitude about the entire thing doesn’t help. But I promise I’m not permanently cutting off my nose to spite my face, I told myself when he first offered if I didn’t have anything better by the end of the year, I’d suck it up and finish growing up. ;)

        1. dejavu2*

          Your ideals are noble, but I don’t believe it is an exaggeration to say that the *overwhelming* majority of people I know got their first jobs as a result of their parents’ networks. And I’m more than ten years older than you are. That’s just how the world works. I don’t happen to believe the world should work this way, for about a million reasons, but that doesn’t change the fact that you need a job.

          1. HAnon*

            Yep. It’s not that the parent is “getting” the job for you — YOU still have to apply, YOU still have to interview, YOU still have to show up and do the job. But people are more likely to hire people through people they already know and trust, and that includes your parents.

            I’ve used my parents’ network, my extended family’s network, etc. to get jobs since I graduated from college in 2009, and I don’t think of it as “my parents got me this job.” I think of it as “my parent’s connection to X got my foot in the door.” What you do after making that first connection is all on you, not your parents.

            1. dejavu2*

              Exactly. Even with publicly posted positions, hiring tends to favor people who come through some sort of connection. It makes you more of a known quantity. Also, using your parents’ network isn’t even necessarily about “Hey, this is Bob’s kid, we should interview him.” It can be more like you meet your dad’s friend for coffee, your dad’s friend knows a guy who he thinks you should talk to, so you go have coffee with that guy. Then that guy has you meet with another guy, who likes you enough to set up an informational interview with an internal recruiter. It’s not your parents getting you a job. It’s not even your parents getting you an interview. It’s you doing everything in your power to meet people who can connect you with opportunities. You’re young, you don’t have your own professional network yet. That’s why it makes sense to use your parents’ network.

            2. LJL*

              Right. Your network is used to get you a toe in the door. What you do with that toe is entirely up to you. Work the network, whether it’s your parents, friends, whoever.

              1. Caffeine Queen*

                My fiance and I turned down our parents’ networks for a variety of reasons. One set of parents wouldn’t know the first thing about what it takes to get jobs in our city and field and the other set has been guilty of codependency so we really don’t want to encourage that.

                It worked out fine for us. Sure, we struggled for a bit, but we already built networks on our own and we used them. Plus, it feels different when an adult who isn’t your parent introduces you and vouches for you professionally.

            3. Anon with a name*

              Doesn’t this assume that you go into the same field as your parents? I would never have been able to use my parents’ professional connections to get a job, way too far out in left field.

          2. Bea W*

            Interesting, I don’t personally know anyone who started this way, but my mother did find a job through my network later on when she was out of work, and like HAnon says, she had to do all the work. I just alerted her to an opportunity I knew of that matched her skills and pointed her in the right direction. She still had to apply and interview and stand on her own merit.

      3. James*

        Too busy to check the ATS! If I had just spent 2 hours plus grappling with Taleo for someone to tell me they never check the ATS, I don’t know what I would do…

    2. ChristineSW*

      Now I see why recently letting my dad give my resume to his fellow board member was probably not the best idea. I appreciated the help at the time–and I still do–but I wouldn’t be surprised if he made me sound like a delicate flower. And I’m almost 40 years old.

    3. Elizabeth West*

      Using dad’s network is a bit different. It’s not the same thing as your dad getting you a job. I assume your dad expects you to do the contact and communication part yourself.

      Now if there are other issues, such as parents who if you give them an inch they take a mile, then I can see why you wouldn’t want to. Not like I’m speaking from experience or anything…. :P

      Although I did work for my parents here and there when they ran a Hallmark store, and they expected me to do the work just like their other employees.

    4. Ruffingit*

      No, it’s not called growing up, it’s called being naive. No offense, but as others have stated, using your father’s network is not a bad idea at all. A lot of life is WHO you know and there’s nothing wrong with taking advantage of that.

    5. Manda*

      This is exactly how I feel. I want to do this on my own, not with my parents trying to butt in. They know nothing about job searching and simply can not help. My mom is a stay-at-home mom. My dad works in construction. He belongs to a union and members can easily move from one company to another without actually having to submit an application like the rest of the world. He was working out of town and sent me an email one day asking what my degree was in since he didn’t even know and then said he had talked to a couple of contacts. It sounded sketchy since I didn’t think he could possibly know anyone who could help me. It turned out he had talked to his company to see if they had anything for me, even though he has no idea what I’m interested in or qualified to do. I’m a nerd. I’m pretty sure I would not fit in at a construction company. The other person he talked to was a relative whom I could have easily contacted myself if I thought it would help, but instead he did it for me, without my permission, making me feel like an idiot. She works for a government agency so I guess he thought that would be a good place to get in, but she does nothing that I’m at all interested in. She sent him some links (which he then forwarded to me) to info that ended up being unhelpful and a complete waste of her time. After I got off the phone with my dad I was so fuming mad that I sat in my room and threw stuff at the wall. It is NOT his place to take it upon himself to try to get me a job, especially when he has no clue how to be helpful or even encouraging. GRRRR!!!!

      1. Caffeine Queen*

        Totally agree. For me, it wasn’t a problem reaching out to parents’ friends, with whom I had an established relationship on my own. However, there are some parents who use it to try to force you into their field and hold an upper hand. Quite a few of my friends have experienced this and the only way they prospered was by breaking free of them and forging their own networks. Nothing wrong or naive about turning down a possible network if it’s going to bring other problems into your life. Particularly if it means enabling toxic behaviors. Besides, there are other ways of building your network-not everyone has parents in their fields.

        Also, then there are the well meaning parents who really have no clue. My parents at least recognized that they didn’t know much about my field and I think that helped me more because it forced me to do things on my own. Funny enough, that was the benefit of going further in education than my parents did-I knew I couldn’t rely on them for help with my homework, so it helped me think strategically about who I should ask for help when I needed to. That’s a strategy that’s served me very well in life.

        1. Ruffingit*

          If the network of your parent is not going to be of help and may actually harm your search, then obviously you need to steer clear of that avenue. However, if it’s a case where they could help and you just refuse it because you’re determined to do things on your own, then that is being a bit naive. Especially in the beginning of your career, there’s nothing wrong with getting a foot in the door through a contact of your parents and then building your own network from there.

          As mentioned, that’s a very different thing than having toxic relatives who harm your efforts.

          1. Caffeine Queen*

            All the same, in light of the fact that our generation of parents is known to be quite overbearing, I don’t think it’s naive to turn down their help if you have other options. Sure, it’s not a problem if your parents introduce you to someone and leave the room, letting you do it on your own. However, if your parents are going to try to control every aspect of the process and be pedantic about your resume and application because they don’t want you embarrassing them and they don’t trust you to be an adult, no thanks. I’ve known quite a few people that’s happened to.

            Further, if your parents are helicopter parents and are that overbearing, do you really think they’d help you become independent if they’re helping with the job?

            There’s nothing wrong with wanting to do things for yourself. Quite honestly, my generation could use that chance.

            1. Ruffingit*

              Again though, what you describe falls under the toxic parents/relatives part and I did say steer clear of help from those people. However, if you have a situation where you either have other options OR your parents are more like the “here’s the info for my contact, have at it, good luck” then it’s fine to use it.

              The idea I’m trying to get across is don’t be closed off to people who can help in the job search under what can be a misguided notion of “doing it yourself.” Networking is going to be a useful tool your entire life, so don’t be afraid to make use of it is all I’m saying – parents, relatives, friends, etc. As already stated, the obvious caveat here is if those people are toxic/helicopterish, then steer clear. Otherwise, let them assist, it’s not a bad thing.

  7. NylaW*

    Oh my god. No. Never.

    This is perhaps a sign that the trend of over involved parenting has really reached a critical mass.

  8. Steve*

    I don’t understand the interviewer allowing the parent to sit in. I’m put off by someone arriving with a guest who waits in the lobby (though I try to get over it and do my best to not let that get in the way – who knows, maybe they had a flat tire and a friend picked them up and got them to the interview in time?) However, I would absolutely refuse to let someone come back to my office with them during the interview.

    1. Ask a Manager* Post author

      That’s what always surprises me about those stories. If someone showed up to an interview with a parent or a parent otherwise tried to get involved, I’d tell them absolutely not. Why aren’t these employers pushing back?

      1. My 2 Cents*

        Agreed!!! I think it would be VERY beneficial as the employer to tell them both (interviewer and parent) “This is not the norm and it’s not acceptable. Furthermore, you are severely limiting your child’s employment opportunities by being here because it does not demonstrate sound judgment on their part.”

        If this happens enough then maybe people will finally catch on.

      2. Evan*

        If the parent wanted to sit in on the interview, absolutely. But are you also talking about a parent who drove the candidate there and wants to sit in the lobby? I could have seen myself in that boat for my first internship, since I didn’t know how to drive then – as it was, the only interview was just down the road from my school, but if it’d been elsewhere, my parents would have probably had to drive me.

        1. Ask a Manager* Post author

          No, I meant coming to the interview itself. I still don’t think anyone should sit in the lobby though, not unless it’s a huge lobby where they wouldn’t be noticed. A small office where they’re the only waiting in reception, though? No.

            1. Elizabeth West*

              We had shop worker candidates at Exjob whose rides just waited in the car if it wasn’t too hot or cold. If it was, they sat in the entry area and played quietly with their phones.

        2. Elle D*

          I think there’s other options besides waiting in the lobby. The parent could drop the candidate off and wait at a nearby cafe, run errands, or bring a book/magazine/tablet and wait in the car. This can certainly be inconvenient, but I think it’s more comfortable for everyone involved and allows the candidate to appear much more professional.

        3. Colette*

          If the parent drove, they had a car they could wait in (or they could find a coffee shop). Depending on the company, having someone wait in the lobby might be an issue – in my previous (small) company, there wasn’t always a receptionist, so if someone was waiting in the lobby, there would be nothing to stop them from wandering through some of the unstaffed areas at will.

        4. Claire MKE*

          There’s no reason for a parent to come in, IMO. I was driven to manyyy interviews by parents and actually was driven TO work by my dad for a not significant period of time while I saved up money to buy my own car (it was a temp assignment, so the impermanence made it hard to commit to a big expenditure). We were always very subtle about it, and for something like an interview with an indeterminate end time, my parent would either bring work or a book to work on waiting in the car, or would head to a coffee shop or something and I’d call them once I was done.

      3. ThursdaysGeek*

        The employers aren’t pushing back, because they think that’s what they have to do to get bright Millenials to work for them. They aren’t thinking about how it would be better to have bright professionals working for them, many who will be Millenials who can stand on their own feet.

        I think they are people who have always followed a fad, not thinking that much for themselves, and are now in the position to hire. And they will continue to hire those who are not yet thinking much for themselves.

        A’s hire A’s and B’s hire C’s. And they are the B companies hiring more C employees. You’re confused, because you’ve always hired A employees.

        1. Jill*

          And too many employers thinking that Millenials, just by virtue of being young and fresh out of school, are automatically the most qualified. Completely discounting workers 30 and older who have had years of practical experience – – and who don’t need mommy and daddy holding their hand through life.

          1. Manda*

            O Rly? Then why do so many new grads have such an awful time just finding an entry level job? It seems to me they’re often considered unqualified to do the most basic things due to lack of experience – things that should be simple to teach.

            1. Caffeine Queen*

              All the same, in light of the fact that our generation of parents is known to be quite overbearing, I don’t think it’s naive to turn down their help if you have other options. Sure, it’s not a problem if your parents introduce you to someone and leave the room, letting you do it on your own. However, if your parents are going to try to control every aspect of the process and be pedantic about your resume and application because they don’t want you embarrassing them and they don’t trust you to be an adult, no thanks. I’ve known quite a few people that’s happened to.

              Further, if your parents are helicopter parents and are that overbearing, do you really think they’d help you become independent if they’re helping with the job?

              There’s nothing wrong with wanting to do things for yourself. Quite honestly, my generation could use that chance.

              1. Caffeine Queen*

                Sorry, that was my reply from above!! I tried to reply to this post!

                Manda, I have to agree with you. It took me about a year to find something full time in my field after I finished a gap year post-college. Thankfully, I wasn’t without work in the meantime but it wasn’t easy. I think this economy’s hard for everyone but the media loves playing on the generational angst.

        2. Emma*

          As a Millenial (born in the late 80s), I cringe when I read things like this and think that my cohort needs to be split into smaller chunks…preferably insulating those of us born before the Gulf War from the rest of this foolishness (I’m only marginally kidding). Surely the concept of a generation should evolve now that the accelerating pace of life, technology, etc. has lead to such divergent experiences among its cohort?

          1. MJ of the West*

            I’m not a Millenial, but I would like to see some pushback on the unnecessary and, quite frankly, unproductive obsession with generational cohorts. I tend to think that this line of thought is really born out of rosy retrospection.

            It might be reasonable to have concerns which are specific to all workers who are newly entering the job market. But really, once someone has been working for any length of time, their generation should matter not.

      4. Ruffingit*

        Maybe these employers are themselves helicopter parents and see nothing wrong with this? Don’t know, but it’s bizarre and needs to stop right now!

    2. Erin*

      My boyfriend has driven me to a couple of interviews (Because my car is getting old and sometimes it’s just nice to have the extra company on longer rides), but he always stayed in the car for that exact reason. You never know how they’re going to react to an unexpected extra person, even if they’re just going to quietly wait in the lobby.

      1. Jen*

        I work on a college campus and when I interview work study students, a few times they’ve gotten a ride from a parent. But on a college campus, it’s easier because the parent can wait in the cafeteria or the library and no one knows they’re there. If someone showed up with their parent, I would hand them a campus map and tell them how to find the library while we talk.

        But just someone getting a ride doesn’t bother me. Once after I was in an accident and totaled my car, I had to get a ride two different interviews and they’d wait in a nearby coffee shop while I interviewed.

      2. Anonymous Too*

        I have taken family members to job interviews with me. They sat in the lobby or in the car. Never on an interview. Plus, I’ve interviewed people who had other people with them, but never sitting in on the interview. That’s too far.

  9. CatK*

    Hopefully AAM won’t get an increase of letters from parents with questions like, “How can I better negotiate salary for my son?” or “Can I call back this interviewer so she’ll hire my daughter?”

  10. AMG*

    Uh, not if you’re working for me! How can you expect to be considered a true professional with this kind of silliness. Honestly.

  11. Erin*

    I’m 23 and still live with my parents. I haven’t had a curfew since 18, so I can’t even imagine what my life would be like if they wanted to tag along for my interviews. Like I need the extra stress. I really hope this doesn’t become a trend, it’s ridiculous.

  12. ExceptionToTheRule*

    I’m okay with the business tour/open house part because people like to show off where they work & what they do. The rest of it? No. Just no.

    1. Loose Seal*

      If I had a kid that worked at a place I’ve heard so much about being a great place to work — Google, Zappos, Blizzard, etc. — I’d want to go so badly. I’d like to think I’d restrain myself from insisting but, man, if it was Blizzard…

      1. Alicia*

        My fiancé was watching this new (I think) show called “Heroes of Cosplay” and one of the women on it was interviewing for a job at Blizzard. He sat right up and paid so much attention – it was like he never knew how to focus before there was footage inside Blizzard. haha.

      2. Michele*

        I worked for Nike for a number of years and I for one got so sick of people asking for tours of the campus, a pass to the employee store, free product, or getting them a job that I started to say no. It is still a place of work and I needed to get stuff done. I will gladly show you the products I had developed once they hit the store.

  13. JR*

    UGH. Every time I see an article on millennials I die a little inside. This is crazy. I’m a millennial and I just can’t imagine getting my parents involved in this kind of stuff (or that they would even get involved??).

    1. Sydney Bristow*

      I totally agree. I share information with my parents when something big is going on for me at work but that is solely to keep them updated on my life. It is never done with the intention of getting them involved aside from potentially offering advice and they would never dream of ever getting involved. Then again, my parents are entirely reasonable people who believed in raising children who were self-reliant.

    2. Natalie*

      Writing ridiculous trend stories about the group 20-30 years younger than you is a mainstay of bad journalism. The “Greatest Generation” bitched about hippies, the first wave of the baby boom bitched about the “Me Generation” (70s), and so on, and so on.

      Everybody just wants those kids of their lawn!

      1. Bryce*

        I remember in World History class in high school that Socrates complained about how soft and undisciplined young people were in 2000 BC…so it’s not new! More recently, I read a news article in an issue of Life, the Saturday Evening Post, or Look magazine from 1942 (I can’t remember which) that portrayed American youth (today’s Greatest Generation) as soft and undisciplined, unlike the tough and disciplined German and Japanese youth and questioned whether American kids could hack it in combat…so nothing changes!

        1. Natalie*

          It really doesn’t!

          When I was a kid and teenager I was obsessed with the 60s (I’m 30 so I’m a fair bit removed from that generation). My parents got me the 2 anthologies of Mad Magazine from that era (Mad About the 60s and Mad About the 70s). The books included a lot of cultural/historical background for readers like me, so I got a pretty up-close look at how the Baby Boomers were targeted for this sort of moralizing by their elders.

          I can only hope that I remember this in 20 years when we’re all ragging on the next generation, whatever they’re called, and remember to give those kids the benefit of the doubt.

      2. MousyNon*

        THIS times one million. Nothing about this article indicates a real, systemic ‘trend’ of parents sitting in on interviews or anything like that. And though it keeps quoting ‘surveys’ it doesn’t link to them, and I’ve seen way too many horrendously leading survey questions NOT to be wary of how these surveys come to their conclusions.

        And the WSJ article spends most of its word count talking about ‘bring parents to work’ events (mostly intern events, and completely contrary to its ridiculous headline). I don’t think a family events for employees is any more or less problematic than any other “bring your kids/dogs/neighbors/dentist to work!” days.

        This WSJ article is just more click-bait-millennial-handwringing, and it’s both exhausting and offensive.

        1. Anne 3*

          I agree completely. I’m so sick of these click-baiting articles. These news outlets keep churning them out because they KNOW an attention-grabbing headline about Those Damn Kids will get the article shared on lots of blogs, bringing them lots of $pageviews$, but usually the article can barely back up the headline (vague surveys, unnamed experts, sweeping generalisations, etc.). It’s so condescending.

  14. JenTheNiceHRGirl*

    I have never had a parent call to ask for info about their son/daughter’s employment… however, I often get husbands and wives calling to “help” their significant other get an interview. Once, I even had this lady ask if she could interview on her husband’s behalf as he was not a good communicator and most likely wouldn’t be able to appropriately respond to questions. What the heck?

    1. AP*

      I’ve had a couple cold calls like that lately – people asking if they can send their friend’s resume, or child, or husband. I don’t get it.

      1. JenTheNiceHRGirl*

        I just don’t get it. I am all about helping friends and family behind the scenes with resume advice or job leads, but they need to do the application and interviewing process themselves.

      2. bearing*

        Some of this just might be the widespread-ness of unemployment, especially long-term. Family members may be getting desperate and acting out inappropriately.

  15. Yup*

    If my company called my parents, the response would end this nonsense permanently.

    Job: “Yup meet her quota this month. You must be very proud.”
    Mom: “She works too hard there. You need to stop having late night meetings. She needs her rest.”
    Dad: “How do you set the quotas? Is it based on regional averages? Because that’s a common but terrible methodology.”
    Job: “Ummm…”
    Mom: “She has terrible back pain sometimes. You should to get more comfortable chairs. Have you heard about the ergonomodynamicals? My friend Betty bought a chair at Staples that is much better.”
    Dad: “I read your annual report for fiscal ‘12. Is your Board concerned that you’re so overleveraged? They should be. I wouldn’t buy your stock if it were free.”
    Mom: “And better food options in your cafeteria. She doesn’t like her vegetables, but it’s so important to eat heathfully, don’t you think?”
    Job: (Hangs up. Cries.)

    1. Ask a Manager* Post author

      Dad: “I read your annual report for fiscal ‘12. Is your Board concerned that you’re so overleveraged? They should be. I wouldn’t buy your stock if it were free.”


    2. QualityControlFreak*

      Laughing hysterically at my desk. (I’m at lunch and nobody is here to wonder.). Thanks, I needed that. (Wipes eyes.)

  16. A Teacher*

    I had students apply for their FAFSA pin and we are going over the differences in financial aid and loan types right now in my dual credit course. I was super blunt with the kids about needing to fill out the form themselves–I’ve had parents say that they “don’t feel comfortable” with little Johnny filling out the application. God forbid the kid knows what mom and dad make. Another parent told me she keeps her kid’s SS # under lock and key because she doesn’t really need to know that. My advice to the kids was cut the cord because it is your future not your parents.

    1. Evan*

      she keeps her kid’s SS # under lock and key because she doesn’t really need to know that

      Is there any way to report these parents to the Social Security Administration? Or, I wonder what’s the best road for the kid to take here…

      1. Meredith*

        She can apply for a replacement card that she can hold on to herself. She will need to have a document proving her identity and a document proving her citizenship (a US passport will do both). Then, she needs to apply for a replacement card through the SSA: http://ssa-custhelp.ssa.gov/app/answers/detail/a_id/251

        My SS card was stolen a couple of months ago (I stupidly had it in my wallet), and all I had was my passport for ID. I didn’t want to mail my only official ID to the SSA, so I went into the local office for a new card. Not a fun experience! However, this person will probably need her SSN in the near future for all number of reasons, and if her mom is being unreasonable she’ll have to do it herself.

      2. A Teacher*

        Her kid is only 17 (dual credit at a high school) so she can, but they are taking college courses and I like to know that I’m preparing them as much as possible for college. Last year I had 20+ kids bring me financial aid reports to help them figure it out, I’m trying to head it off at the pass by giving them the basics on all of that this year.

    2. Anon*

      Oh I have some bad stories along this line. Several parents absolutely refuse to give students info so they can fill out the FAFSA. A colleague had a parent say that they “didn’t want any government handouts” and refused to let her student complete the FAFSA even though the student would have qualified for a lot of financial aid.

      When I worked phone lines, I was astounded when parents called in asking about their college student’s financial aid issues (like – why is the financial aid 3 days late? Seriously? A college student needs to be responsible for these types of things.)

      1. FormerManager*

        That’s appalling but I will say when I was in college, the one or two times I ran into financial aid issues and tried to resolve them on my own nothing happened until my parents got involved :(

        Made me feel bad for the students who didn’t have such help at home….

        1. TL*

          I had horrible experiences with my finical aid office (it was truly awful; one time they told me that I should just round up the money I owe to the nearest thousand and pay that. Like hell, lady. Like hell.)

          Anyway, one time I was calling about money I owed (that they never notified me about; I only found out when I needed a transcript) and I was informed that I owed them $5000, with no mention of HOW to get that money if I didn’t have it. I said, “Okay, I don’t have that kind of money today. I have to talk to my mom; she has my college savings account information.”

          The lady told me to “call my mommy” and take care of it.
          Trust me, some of the college aid people only want to deal with parents.

          1. A Teacher*

            I also agree on the jumping through hoops thing. I live in Illinois and my sister went to school on scholarships and on College Illinois. Every year her school messed up the financial aid. My mom would have to call and straighten it out–the difference, my sister’s school required permission from the student to talk to the parent so that they didn’t violate FERPA. In addition to teaching at the high school dual credit level, I teach adjunct for a local college. One of the first things our Financial Aid office went over with us as staff was to not talk to parents without permission of the student or we violated FERPA.

          2. Heather*

            I’m almost more speechless from this than from the original article….

            Never in a million years would I come up with it on the spot, but how awesome would it be if you’d told them you only had $4100, but they can just round it up to the nearest thousand and call it even?

            1. TL*

              Yeah. I had the money thanks to a college fund from summer jobs, livestock shows, and family contributions, but I thought it was beyond unprofessional that she didn’t suggest I come in to talk to them if I needed because it is a large amount of money.

              Then again, I went to a private school where most of the students’ parents were very upper middle-class, thanks to a crappy financial aid system.

              1. TL*

                Crappy as in they didn’t offer enough aid to cover finances unless your family could afford $10,000+ a year (most could) or you had federal grants, loans, and some personal money like me.

        2. Anonymously Anonymous*

          And this is when parents should step in. My kids had their first work experience this summer. They even set up bank accounts. I gave them some leeway but I still maintained a watchful eye on their finances after our discussions about debit cards. They are 17 and 15.
          Well the bank decided to charge my daughter a $15 fee for taking $20 out of (her own bank’s) ATM. They charged the fee because the system had to automatically transfer the money from her savings and into her checking. She didn’t realize it because the bank had a ‘convenience key’ prompting her to take out the $20 after she entered her pin. She could have obviously transferred the money herself being that she was right there at the ATM. Well they tried to bull her around on the phone and I had to step in. On the flip side, when she kept transferring money out of her savings and reached her maximum and they charged her a fee for I told her that was lesson she had to learn…

      2. Cat*

        Actually, that one doesn’t surprise me given that colleges demand reams and reams of financial information from parents every year, and that parents are often expected to contribute enormous sums of money before their child is ever eligible for financial aid. It’s not surprising that the lines blur on that one, and I don’t know why every family needs to delegate financial aid responsibilities to the college student. That’s different from taking responsibility for academics or a job, which is non-negotiable.

        1. dejavu2*

          Yeah. Financial Aid for college students is typically based entirely on the parents’ financial situation. I was a very independent college student, but my parents handled every aspect of my financial aid stuff, because it didn’t really have much to do with me. Some of the loans you can get nowadays are for the parents instead of the students. Also, the forms are complicated and really important. I’m not sure as a parent I would want to place my financial future in the hands of an 18-year-old.

        2. ThursdaysGeek*

          And colleges demand it even when not applicable. My goddaughter tried filling out a FAFSA, and they wouldn’t accept it without the financial information from her step-father (who hadn’t supported her since she was 12, but is the only father known) and her mother (who hadn’t been in her life at all since she was about 3). She was 22 or so at the time, had been supporting herself since she was 18, but without the financial information from the parents, there was to be no progress. I suspected a bureaucrat being the problem, not that independent young adults always need info from the non-supporting parents, and that’s the case where an adult with more experience could have helped. She didn’t ask for help, and now that she’s above 25, she has gotten the financial assistance that she couldn’t get to when younger.

        3. Rana*

          It does depend on the family’s situation, however. When I was an undergraduate, my parents paid my way. But when I went to grad school, I had myself declared as no longer their dependent, so that their income and savings weren’t counted against me when I applied for financial aid, as I was paying for grad school myself. As an independent student I qualified; if I was still their dependent, I wouldn’t have.

          And I can easily imagine other students who, for various reasons, are financing their own educations; the financial aid office, and the bursars, and the billing office, shouldn’t make assumptions about who needs to be aware of billing issues, therefore.

      3. LadyTL*

        I was one of those kids who parents wouldn’t let them complete the FAFSA on their own. It was because they didn’t want me to see their income and wanted to be able to control what college I went to. Of course now they are always trying to guilt trip me over the debt they went into for the one year of college I had since they refused to fill out the FAFSA past the first time and I couldn’t get loans on my own.

        Sometimes kids are just stuck until they get old enough to not report their parent’s income even if they do know their SSN and try to take care of their finances.

        1. Jules*

          Yeah that is kinda crappy. My husband’s parents refused to fill FAFSA out too and he didn’t get to go to college since he didn’t know any other way. Instead he worked. Hopefully one of these days we can make enough for him to do his degree. It’s a waste since he is really bright.

    3. Recent College Grad*

      I was pretty self-sufficient in college (my parents dropped me off half way across the country, told me not to screw up, and left) but I didn’t fill out my own FAFSA because my parents didn’t want me to know how much they made — they thought knowing the number would make me less grateful for what I had. It was their choice, and you really have no right to criticize a parent for that. Sleeping in your kid’s dorm room or showing up at an interview is a different story…

      1. A Teacher*

        I’m not criticizing the parents for that, although I personally think its a stupid reason for not letting your child be responsible for their own future. I see on this blog from several posters quite a bit about how “schools don’t prepare students for the future.” When we try to do that the parents want to swoop in and keep their child a child. Literally, one told me their kid didn’t need to understand financial aid because they were “just a baby.” It is also frustrating when the same parent that doesn’t want their kid to grow up, refuses to let them be responsible for their education or any realistic decision making, and expects their kid to do well in life gets mad at the school system for “not preparing them.”

        1. Anonna Miss*

          Oh dear. There are so many kinds of FAIL in there, I don’t even know where to begin.

          Talk about setting someone up for failure.

        2. A Teacher*

          I guess I should add–I don’t criticize parents or parenting choices in class–even when mom/dad/whomever is in prison for something. My students are allowed to say what they think within reason and in fact we just had this discussion in class. The biggest comments that stood out were “I wish my parents trusted me more,” “I wish my parents were consistent in what they said,” “I wish my parents would let me take the fall sometimes.” The kids that liked how their parents were raising them said “my mom trusts me,” “my parents treat me with respect,” “my dad treats me like me and not like my sister,” etc… I don’t have to criticize parents because kids get it on their own. Usually I put things in the context of you need to learn to do for yourself and those of you that use the excuse but “mom and dad say” or “but my home life is” have to make the decision to stay in the cycle or break the cycle. A trend that I’ve seen in the last few years is this idea to “save” kids. Instead of letting them suffer from consequences of their decisions we race to fix it or excuse it. The problem with that is then they leave high school and become your co-worker or your employee. My students call it “keeping it real.” It works in my room so I’ll continue to do that and hopefully I can help to produce a few students that will be awesome co-workers or employees along the way.

          1. Elizabeth West*

            Learning about consequences should start when they are little. I like that you are engaging your students this way. You are enabling them to think about their futures in a productive way. +100 Internets to you! :D

        3. Editor*

          “Just a baby” annoys me in many contexts. When infants have learned to stand and walk on their own, they aren’t babies any longer, they’re toddlers. A four-year-old is not just a baby, even if the kid is the youngest in the family.

          In my experience, the women crying rivers on the first day of kindergarten are leaving their babies at school, and the parents walking out of the room more calmly, even if with some anxiety, are leaving their children at school.

    4. TL*

      My parents don’t want me knowing how much they make. (I don’t know why; I’m freakily good at guess annual income and I usually have a good approximation). It’s their business and not my money.

      I was responsible for a lot during my college years – I decided what kinds of financial aid to take and all the loans are in my name and my parents never really helped me move in or anything – but my mom filled out our FAFSA.

      1. Bea W*

        I kind of envy that – my parents made their melodramatic financial woes our business, when we were too young to understand how things really worked. I was consumed in my teen years with worrying over my mother’s finances, occasionally agreeing to lend her money out of my own earned savings to pay the mortgage and being pissy with my dad for some imagined greed, when I should have been focused on school and being a teenager. In some cases, ignorance is bliss, and All I really needed to learn about earning and managing my own money, I could have learned without all that.

        1. Anonymous*

          I’m sorry that you had to go through that, but if it really did come down to lending your mother money or becoming homeless, wouldn’t you rather have been in the loop to began with?

    5. annie*

      Hmm, I think you’re being a little hard on the kids – in my opinion, this should be a group effort between parents (who are “expected” to contribute according to the financial aid formulas, whether they do or not) and the student. Both parties are going to be responsible for the result so I think both parties should work on it together.

      Speaking for myself, I was an honors student (so, smart enough to fill out a form) and very self-sufficient from an early age, however I still needed my parents’ help in filling out the form. For one thing, I did not know/have access to some of the documents needed (like their taxes) and two, I was very nervous about doing it correctly because of the extremely high stakes for me personally – if I did not get financial aid, I was not going to be able to attend college. I would imagine that most 17 year olds are in a similar spot.

      1. A Teacher*

        Did you read my response above or any of them since? I don’t criticize the parent/parenting choices. I basically tell them that you need to take responsibility for your future and part of that is the FAFSA. You do need parental help–i.e. if your parents insist you shouldn’t see their earnings (I said I think its stupid here–I don’t tell the kids that, but whatever) then have them do that part of it, but you should be doing the rest of the FAFSA. I feel like the very same people that think I’m “hard on the kids” or am critical are the very same people that would probably rush to tell me the school system doesn’t prepare students for the working world. When we try to bring in reality, we get told we’re too hard or too critical, as evidenced by a few of you here. It isn’t the parents’ future, it is the student’s and they need to get the implications of what owing a lot of money means. How do they do that if they aren’t a part of the process?

        1. annie*

          I did read your response above. And actually, I am myself often accused of being too hard on college kids. However, I wonder if you aren’t perhaps looking at the situation from a place of privilege – my experience, as I said, was that I was unable to fill out the form without parental help, and I was definitely in a better position than a lot of kids are because I was smart enough to understand the process, and my parents were very supportive and educated enough themselves to understand the process and help me through it because we were all focused on making sure college was a possibility for me. As you no doubt encounter, many kids do not have those advantages. In fact, many of my friends came over to my house senior year and sat at our kitchen table while my dad and I helped them through their forms, because their parents were not able to do it due to various reasons including language barriers, lack of education, not understanding the importance of the form, not caring about their kid going to college, and just generally being a crappy parent, etc. Many of my friends had never had to fill out a form for anything in their lives to that point, and I think we forget how clueless seventeen year olds can be sometimes.

          I do understand where you are coming from, I just feel strongly that college is a lifeline to so many low income and even middle income families and we should all as a society do what we can to help lift kids up and get them a shot at escaping poverty where we can – to be that means a chance at a college education. It does not mean that they do not have to do the work or be involved in the process, but it means that we acknowledge that not everyone is starting from a level playing field, and a lot of people are not going to be able to just write a check for tuition and be done with it.

    6. Janelle*

      I feel like the FAFSA is awkward all around.

      While a lot of folks feel that a person’s 18th birthday is a magic date upon which they become a fully-fledged adult, somehow colleges exist in this alternate universe where parents are still entitled to support their 18 and over children financially.

      I’m not so much interested in debating the merits of that rationale, but I can see why parents would not want to share their family finances with their newly adult children. Unfortunately, there’s no good answer there.

      1. Ruffingit*

        Totally agreed about the bizarre nature of the FAFSA in regards to the age they expect you to continue acquiring income information from your parents. Makes no sense to me and has been a huge hindrance to many would-be college students who are estranged from their parents, don’t know where the parents are, etc.

      2. Bea W*

        This was a thorn in my side. I was on my own at 18, receiving no parental support, and yet I couldn’t apply for aid without having my parents’ income taken into account. At the same time I had a friend who was living at home fully supported by her parents, but she was able to get aid without counting her parents’ income because she had a baby, and that automatically made her “independent”. Her parents even helped pay what was left. I couldn’t get any help even though I was supporting myself and truly independent. It was horribly unfair.

        I had to apply for a waiver for the first 2 years I was in school until I was 24 years old, and to get that I had to submit two years worth of my parents’ tax returns as proof that they had not claimed me as a dependent! Then someone had to take all that paperwork and make a decision whether or not to grant me the waiver so that I could submit the FAFSA on my own income, which was the only resource I had since my parents neither finanically supported me any longer and were not contributing toward my education.

        Oh yeh, I could go on at length about the whole BS process.

        1. Anonymous*

          This really stinks, especially as it sounds like your friend’s college’s FA office was asleep at the wheel. Having a child isn’t supposed to automatically make you independent *unless you provide >50% of your child’s support.* Stories like this drive me up the wall.

    7. HAnon*

      I see the intent, but I think it’s good to keep in mind that while some families are socially well-adjusted and psychologically healthy, a vast amount are NOT. And until a child is living independently from her parents (outside of the house, making independent decisions socially and financially), that means the child is still living under the parent’s rules — including their unspoken “family roles.” If the child is still acting like a dependent after graduating from college and transitioning to the adult world, it’s a cause for concern — but psychologically speaking, differentiating doesn’t always occur at the same time for everyone. For some adolescents it can occur at a much earlier or later age than others, depending on the family dynamics in play. Consider that if the parents are controlling or oppressive, a teenager living under those conditions hasn’t had an opportunity yet to differentiate and learn how to be independent because at a minimum, it has not been encouraged, and worse, it may be squelched. Sometimes the circumstances are such that the child has not been given a safe place to rebel, and the consequences of rebellion would be disastrous, so that psychological growth towards independence is stunted. A lot of developing occurs during college, and some are late bloomers, and that’s ok!

    8. Ellie H.*

      I think that every family is different about the way they handle these things. In some families, it’s just not expected that the kid is privy to the kind of financial information or is expected to understand it and find the information. With the FAFSA I think that either my dad filled it out or I filled it out with my dad there telling me what to put in. My parents also figured out what kinds of student loans I needed and applied. I definitely had friends who handled all the financial aid applications themselves which I greatly admired. I did not have any kind of experience with financial issues at that point in time so I would have been quite lost at a stressful time and I am grateful that my parents were able to help me so much with these matters. Now that I’m an adult and am, obviously in charge of my own finances I would be able to manage the whole thing myself but at the time I didn’t really have any kind of grasp of what any of these things meant. I think it’s great when kids have financial education from an early age, and I do wish I had learned more about it earlier, but not everyone does.

    9. Elsie*

      I don’t think this not sharing the salary info/the parents filling out the FAFSA is weird at all, IF the parents are the ones paying for college. I was always taught you only need to know how much it costs if you’re paying for it. My dad’s salary was always off limits for discussion (I still don’t know what it is even as an adult) as part of the “it’s rude to talk about money” rule.

  17. MF*

    This is so utterly bizarre to me. I’m a “millenial”, recent college grad, and my parents have always been pretty involved in my life/decisions… but from behind the scenes. I mean, my dad once told me about a job opening that a client/friend of his had at her company, and said she had asked if I was interested… but that has been the extent of their involvement.

    If I suggested they come along on a job interview, they would be so weirded out. And likewise, if they thought they should be in any way involved in my career/job search, beyond giving me a pep talk before a big interview… I mean, who are these people?

  18. Laura*

    I read this last night. For context, I am early 20s, in my first job out of college. I was horrified about parents at interviews or getting separate letters.

    What I did like was the idea of inviting parents to open-houses. We have events at work and people bring their kids. My parents are some of my best friends, and I’d love to show my mom my desk (same reason you’d love to bring your kid/husband in). I don’t think there is anythign wrong if she walks through the office during an open house. I wouldn’t’ want her chatting with HR about my performance or acting any differently than your spouse would at an open-house.

  19. College Career Counselor*

    I saw this yesterday and think it’s a click-baiting “trend piece” by the WSJ. Note that 8% had a parent accompany them to a job interview (I call that “getting a ride,” which is fine). Only 3% wanted the parent to sit in. While that’s stupid and wrong, it’s hardly commonplace or mainstream behavior. And why in the hell would you have your performance review sent to your parents (note that it says they want it, not that it was actually done)? Is this some kind of extension of having your report card/grades sent home? (And in the higher ed world, if you’re over 18 you have to sign something to allow the institution to release your academic information to your parents.)

    Having worked in higher ed administration for many years, I can certainly say that I’ve encountered my share of helicopter or otherwise overly-involved parents (I have my own stories of parents insinuating themselves into the career development process inappropriately). But, they’re not as extreme as this article would have you believe.

    Business tour/open house is fine. I would NOT advise any employee to bring their parents to the company picnic or softball game. Your spouse/partner/significant other (depending on organizational culture) is okay. Ditto for your children (but only if the invite says it’s encouraged).

    1. Cat*

      Yeah, this seems like one of those NYT Style Section trend pieces where the author managed to scrounge up 3 people who died their elderly cat’s fur to cover the grey and thus feels like they can call it a trend. On the performance review in particular I wonder if this is actually a situation of someone forwarding it to their mom on their own and saying “Hey, look at this, things are going well at work.” Which is . . . not a big deal, and it was still a negligible percentage. “Want to receive” is really ambiguous wording.

    2. Anon*

      My thoughts exactly. I read this on the WSJ’s website yesterday, rolled my eyes, and thought how the trolls in the WSJ’s comment section would have a field day with this.

      I did have a wacky thought though with Northwestern Mutual. A lot of the entry level jobs at places like this are “financial advisor” jobs, which basically means you try to sell their financial products to everyone you have ever met in your life, family included.

      Could this be the way NWM tries to push junior’s first sales? By showing the parents what a good company it is, the parents may get a better impression of the company, and decide to help junior by signing up for a mutual fund. Very tinfoil hat I know, but with all the crazy/stupid things businesses do these days (9 holes of golf for $9.11 on Sept. 11th?), nothing would surprise me.

      1. voluptuousfire*

        That’s not tinfoil hat-y. It’s pretty plausible.

        A few years ago I had 2 or 3 different interactions with NWM’s recruitment staff about a recruiter position for I believe the “financial advisor” role. For some reason we never connected on an interview. After reading this, it’s probably a blessing this didn’t happen. The idea of having to deal with helicopter parents does not appeal.

  20. Anonymous*

    I am sick of catering to these kids. We had a failing new grad try to quit and the boss had a heart-to-heart with him and his dad over breakfast. Quitting was the best decision this kid made, and the boss talked him out of it. He quit again a week later. Thank god!

    1. Mike C.*

      I highly doubt these kids exist in any statistically significant number. You might as well complain about catering to kids who believe they were born on Mars or are the long lost heir to a European monarchy.

  21. COT*

    I’m a millennial (27 years old) and can’t imagine ever having my parents this involved in my work. I do like to give them tours of my workplace or have them come to a volunteer event or fundraiser (I work in nonprofits) a couple of times a year. It’s fun for me to show off what I do and fun for them to see it firsthand. I appreciate their support of what I do. But being involved in interviews, negotiations, or performance issues? Never. The idea horrifies me and would horrify all of my millennial friends as well.

    1. Anon Accountant*


      When I had health problems and couldn’t drive and my mom dropped me off and picked me up, the boss invited her in to help herself to coffee or soda meant for clients and since it was cold weather, he told her it was okay to use the waiting area to read magazines or such. And she felt awkward doing that althought if you didn’t know her, you’d have assumed she was a client waiting for someone.

  22. HR lady*

    I recently had a former employee in my office after her termination and at the beginning of the conversation she took out her phone and said “my mom wants me to record this conversation”. Um, no. That’s not gonna happen.

    1. Pussyfooter*

      Interesting. Did you have to end the exit interview? Did you find a way to convince her to continue without the recording?

  23. Anon Accountant*

    I can’t comprehend that these young people will be working in professional jobs for large companies where their parents are encouraged to be that involved.

    In my opinion, it just seems unprofessional to have parental involvement at that level. Bringing your parents to a job interview?! A boss calling your parents to tell them you met your goals?!

    Banging head on desk repeatedly.

  24. ChristineSW*

    Not sure I want to waste my brain cells on reading that article. Why on earth is the article writer even encouraging the debate?!

    1. Natalie*

      A ridiculous headline attracts attention, attention gets clicks, and more clicks means they can charge more for advertising.

      As traditional journalism continues to struggle with profitability, expect more of this nonsense.

  25. 22dncr*

    Oh Hell NO! If I had paid any – ANY – attention to the career advice my Mom (whom I am very close to) has given me over the years I’d be on the streets or worse; I kid you not! I’ve learned that doing the opposite is actually the best thing. And my Mom hasn’t been a stay-at-home since 1965 and worked many times before that in very professional roles/companies – usually as the Office Manager.

  26. AMD*

    My mom called the other day and mentioned that my sister had let a professional organization membership lapse, and Mom was considering renewing it for her, even though sister had told her not to. (Sister had recently been let go and was job-searching.) I advised my mom not to – my sister had to make her own professional decisions.

    It was really emotionally hard for Mom to not do this. I can see where this mothering, providing instinct can become twisted into “I have to protect them from their mistakes,” that would lead to wanting involvement in the kids’ professional lives. Even relatively normal parents might take advantage of this if it was an option…

    But it’s weird, and I hope it is just a fake, hyped-up trend.

    1. College Career Counselor*

      Agreed with AMD about the dark side of the protective instinct. My mother once told me the hardest thing she had to learn as a parent was to let her children make their own mistakes, particularly as we got into our 20s. I’ve got to give her credit, she was able to move from “don’t do that/let me do that for you” to “would you like some advice” pretty well. No doubt at some emotional cost!

  27. The Cynic*

    The cynic in me is wondering if this is a bit subterfuge. Lets say an employer wants to have workers that are more submissive to authority. In other words, they are not “trouble makers.” Candidates who are well educated and yet cannot make major decisions without their “leaders”, in this case their parents, would probably fall in this category.

    1. Meg*

      So …. are you suggesting that a coalition of private employers got together and convinced and/or bribed the Wall Street Journal to write this article?

  28. Coelura*

    I just had to show this to my teenage daughters. Both thought it was crazy and I completely agree.

    However – it may well indicate the amount of diversity in the US. We have a large India/Asia population here and it is commonplace in India for parents to be heavily involved in the interview & negotiations process.

    1. Amanda*

      I did wonder about the stats that other countries/cultures reported greater parental involvement. And I know that other cultures tend to place higher value on extended family. I still don’t understand this extending into the professional sphere. I feel the same way about spouses and significant others too.

      I love my parents and I love my boyfriend. But aside from being a sounding board and giving advice behind the scenes, I don’t want them involved in my career.

    2. Elizabeth West*

      I wondered about that when I read the article this morning. If you published an article in some family-centric countries that said “Zomg, parents accompanying their kids to job interviews!” people might just shrug and say, “So?” In the U.S., where independence is highly valued, we say it’s egregious. But even here, in certain areas where the demographic is heavily skewed toward a familial culture, it might not raise the same ire.

  29. YoungMeg*

    What omg no. I’m a millennial by birth, but every time I read about what “we” are doing, I get more and more horrified. The LAST thing I would want would be my parents tagging along to an interview, the naggy phone calls during my last job search were bad enough.

    1. Natalie*

      Fellow Millennial, and I would save your horror. Even according to the stats in this article, which are probably not all that representative in the first place, only a small percentage even wanted their parents to sit in.

      This is just the latest in a very long tradition of shitty journalists trying to get attention by being the most provocative rather than by doing decent journalism.

      1. HAnon*

        Could be factually true…but if so, let’s also talk about the waves of baby boomers who are getting divorced because they’ve reconnected with their high-school sweetheart on facebook. Or any other generational behavior that seems “click-worthy.” There are a percentage of socially ill-adjusted whackadoos in every age group of the population. I read an NPR article about how something like 1 in 10 higher ups in corporate settings are sociopaths (but aren’t diagnosed).

      2. Heather*

        Yeah, it’s click bait. Like Cat (I think?) said above, it’s like the Times Style section finding 3 women who dyed their cat’s gray hair to make it look younger and claiming that it’s a trend. (And btw, please, please, please tell me that was a made-up example.)

  30. De Minimis*

    Noticed it a bit at my work…two parents came in and wanted to make arrangements for their daughter to do a “job shadowing” in our medical department. The daughter is in medical school.

    Now I can understand if the daughter just happened to be too busy to make it out here to talk with people and her parents were just trying to help out, but I kept wondering why she couldn’t have just come here herself?

    1. Ruffingit*

      I find that very strange. Job shadowing arrangements are not something you outsource. If you’re too busy to make the appointment and show up yourself, what that says to me is “I don’t make time for the things that are important to my career.” And having her parents do it says she is totally naive about professional norms. All-around it does not look good for that person.

  31. urban adventurer*

    If I see another news article about how millenials have to have their helicopter parents hovering just overhead, I’ll puke.

    I’m 25. I have never involved my parents in my professional life. They’ve never even seen my resume. My work life is mine–that’s that.

  32. Jubilance*

    I heard this story yesterday and again today on the news. This kind of stuff gets picked up by EVERYONE and then suddenly every Millenial is assumed to be some overgrown immature kid with attachment issues and helicopter parents. It paints the entire generation in a bad light & we all have to fight off the stereotype *sigh*

    1. Anne 3*

      Right? I never see the WSJ or NYT write a headline saying “98,3 % of 25-Year Olds Said to Have Never Involved Parents in Their Professional Lives, Somehow Manage to Do Just Fine”. Because that kind of thing doesn’t go viral, I guess.

  33. LizNYC*

    I’m a millennial and just good grief no. Articles like this make me want to smack others of “my” generation upside the head and tell them to get their act together.

    My hubster is a HS teacher and goodness knows it’s only getting worse. Some of those kids barely wipe their own bottoms without mom checking in, much less know how to act like almost-adults (in college-level courses, no less).

    1. A Teacher*

      Thank you, but I get told I’m criticizing when I point out that with the FAFSA. Many of the kids aren’t bad and will handle life just fine. It is the 10-20% that you just want to say let your child make decisions, figure it out, and even fail sometimes. It isn’t your life and while I get you want to protect them, it won’t do them much good. My sister is a millennial and I’m at the end of the Gen Ys.

  34. Anon*

    Gah I would never ever ever want my mom involved at work! She’s stopped by work a couple times on her own for my birthday and even then I cringe. She’s tried to get me to take her to company picnics and events as well – NOT HAPPENING. I would love to be a little more lenient but 1) my mom has never worked full time or in an office. I hate to say this but think “uber ghetto” mom. To be perfectly honest, she wouldn’t know how to behave around my work mates and 2) I’m the youngest person in my office – all I need to do is have my mom remind people of that. It’s a little different when someone a little older brings their elderly mother. But for me, it looks like some crazy teenager who needs her mommy around.

    Also – sharing negotiations???? and performance reviews??? I keep my mom updated a little bit but if she had any idea how much I made, she would either ask to borrow money or criticize me about my financial decisions.

    Lastly, I once made the mistake of giving my mom my work phone number for “emergencies only.” She called me AT LEAST once a day. Yes, the cat catching a mouse is an emergency…. It was so beyond ridiculous. Yes my boss noticed and yes it makes me absolutely cringe to think about it. I was so relieved when I changed positions and was able to give my mom the excuse that I wasn’t able to be on the phone at all during the day because I sat next to my boss.

    My mom is a helicopter parent and I have pushed her away fiercely when it comes to work. I can’t imagine if I was actually naive enough to let her carry on with her behavior full blown!

  35. Jill Pinnella Corso*

    Um, no? Just like you advised that woman whose husband wrote to her supervisor (which you just reposted last week and I haven’t gotten over since), your employer has no professional relationship with your parents.

    If I were an intern and my supervisor sent a note home to my parents, I would find it deeply insulting. Notes home to your parents end at age 18. Even colleges don’t report back to your parents.

    Not to mention possible negative unintended consequences… “Why didn’t I get a note this month? Did you not make your sales quota this time?” Could be scary in households run by abusive parents or even just tiger moms.

    1. Pussyfooter*

      Duh! Not every family is happy and supportive!

      My dad lives on the fine line between jerk and con-artist and my mom has a hoarding problem and talks nonstop about cats.
      No way in hell.

      The percentages of companies/employees interested in this (in the US) was under 10%. I’m afraid some people are going to read this and think it’s the next big thing in recruitment. Some companies won’t promote unmarried people to executive levels. Imagine if your whole family had to be up to an employer’s desired standards!

      1. literateliz*

        Yeah, this is exactly the problem I had with this article and couldn’t quite articulate at first. I think it’s pretty clear that this is just a few wackos and not in any way indicative of a “trend,” but if (in some imaginary Bizarro Land) it were to become normal… I mean, even among us pampered millennials (ha) there are plenty of folks with parents who are not present, not supportive, not sober, or not able to take time off of their minimum-wage job to come in with their kid for an interview. That kind of thing is painful enough in childhood when your parent misses a parent-teacher conference or whatever, but to actually have it extend into adulthood, and to literally NEVER be able to break free of a bad family situation… Yuck.

  36. AdminAnon*


    I am millenial/recent grad and I didn’t even like talking to my parents about my job search (especially since I lived with them at the time). If anyone had sent a letter to my parents or suggested I bring them to an interview, I would have been absolutely disgusted. And I am very close to both of my parents!

  37. VictoriaHR*

    My kids are 5 and 3 and I tell them already that once they’re 18 they’re on their own (other than advice and nagging about getting married and giving me grandbabies). Good lord, I can’t imagine overseeing their careers.

    1. Anonymous*

      other than advice and nagging about getting married and giving me grandbabies

      I know this was said in jest, but hearing that all your life can be terribly difficult if you have a same-sex partner and/or no interest in children or marriage. Being true to yourself can be a challenge when you’ve been given a very clear idea of your parents’ expectations for your life.

      1. Heather*

        +1! I am so grateful to my mom that even though I know she would like grandkids, she never, ever pushes me to have kids when she knows I don’t want any.

      2. Sophia*

        Well hopefully long before her kids are marrying-age, all states will have equal marriage acts, and there’s always adoption, surrogacy/sperm donation, fostering etc – a whole number of options for grandkids. The problem comes if they choose not to be married or not to have kids. They should feel free to live the life they want and in that case, I agree with you.

  38. Kara*

    This is just so wrong…

    On so many levels…

    The HR-oriented side of my brain is having conniptions right now…

  39. Shelley*

    This sounds like my time in India. I lived there for 5 years and married an Indian, and parental involvement was not only encouraged but almost mandatory is many respects. My husband used to tell me about his College days at the age of 21, when they would lock the gates at 9am and if you didn’t get there by then, the Principal or director would call your parents. Seriously. No wonder my husband hated everything about his College days.
    I’ve seen parents attending job interview with their “child” who was of course a frigging adult. I’ve seen parents drop resumes, call potential employers and ask the status of their “child’s” application.
    It was all very normal.
    It’s just not normal in the west , and I was shocked to see that this even happens at all here.

  40. Bea W*

    If a candidate over the age of 18 brought parents to an interview, I’d have serious reservations about his/her ability to work and make adult decisions independently without hand holding. If employees want their parents to get information about an offer or performance, there is no reason the employee him/herself can’t share it themselves. Heck, get all the advice you want outside the job, but I expect adults can do this for themselves and not pass the responsibility to an employer and expect them to treat you like a child, because that is what they are doing.

    Bringing parents to social events where an employer has invited “family” doesn’t seem so bad…assuming they are just there to enjoy a social event and not meddle in the employee’s business.

  41. SAK*

    About 15 years ago I was ordering name plates for a couple of new employees – one employee was on my team and the other a team that sat near us. I asked the new employee on the other team what name he wanted as his full name was Christopher but he went by Chris. He said he needed to ask his mom. Next day he told me his mom wanted him to use Christopher.

    He and I were about the same age at the time – mid 20’s. I think of this every time I have a new employee and I need to get a name plate. So far no one else has had a problem making their own decision.

  42. MrsKDD*

    No. No, no, no. Why are we accommodating helicopter parents? Why encourage this trend? This is running and screaming in the wrong direction. I work in HR, and I’m going to have to change careers if this becomes a thing. I think I feel tightness in my chest right now…

  43. MARA*

    Pretty sure this is just another click-bait story about how awful kids are these days. The millenial bashing in the media is getting ridiculous.

    Then again, it might not be the worst thing for parents to get involved in the process. It’s such a tough market out there that employers are getting away with all kinds of abuses, and ‘experts’ like AAM are just telling the kids to suck it up and get on with it. Having an experienced worker who cares about you help you hold on to your self-respect and understand what is and isn’t bullshit from the company seems useful.

    1. Ask a Manager* Post author

      Wow, that’s pretty insulting. If I tell someone to suck it up and get on with it, it’s because I believe that’s in their best interests, not because I’m shilling for employers.

      I also haven’t exactly shied away from calling employers’ practices BS when the label fits — but it doesn’t always follow that you’ll get the best outcome for yourself by making a stink about it. Sometimes it does, and other times it doesn’t. The point is to recognize the difference.

      I’d also suggest reading some of the posts here about the career advice parents have given their adult children. You might feel differently.

    2. Amanda*

      For as long as I’ve been reading AAM, she has never told anyone to stick with an abusive workplace situation. She HAS pointed out that building and maintaining a great professional reputation is imperative to having options so that one doesn’t have to stay in a toxic workplace. She has also reminded people that work life, like life in general isn’t always fair and that a lot of dumb, mean and crazy stuff employers do is perfectly legal (at least in the US). Excellent advice, IMO.

    3. Mike C.*

      I think you’re way off base here. Unlike most “experts”, AaM has the guts to interact with her readers directly, and has at times changed her mind in the face of new evidence.

      I highly suggest you read more before making such rash posts.

    4. WFBP*

      Troll perhaps? Or maybe you just haven’t read this site long enough to know better than that. Either way, very rude. Especially the ‘experts’ remark. I’d say that AAM *is* an expert, as she has helped countless people get jobs and her advice is proven and sound.

      If I had someone apply to a position in my company and bring his/her parents along, yes, I would absolutely question their ability to get the job done on their own without outside help. Getting behind-the-scenes advice from a parent is not the same thing as bringing them into the actual work environment.

      1. Anon101*

        Yeah, MARA, get back under your bridge and take your nastiness with you. Ain’t nobody got time for that. This is not the first time you’ve been unnecessarily abrasive.

  44. Interviewer*

    A few years ago a mom called me to follow up on a resume that her son had sent to my company, unsolicited, for openings in a professional role in a specific department. I clearly remembered the resume, where his cover letter very optimistically assumed that we could hire him for a role that we typically hire candidates with 8-10 years experience, and he had none, just a degree and very little work experience. I had put it in my unsolicited resumes folder. When I told her we did not have any openings, she asked about other companies that might. I told her that most companies that size would be looking for a specific certification he didn’t have, and he might look for more entry level positions, work the network if there are family friends in the industry, etc. And secondly, I very gently told her, HE needed to be the one making the calls. I said it to her just like that. Her response was “Oh!” She said I was the first one she had happened to call to follow up on resumes. She thanked me, and hung up.

    I like to think of that as my good HR deed of the day. One at a time, people. It occurred to me much later that she probably wrote the cover letter and the resume for him.

  45. JCDC*

    Um. Erp? I’m on the older end of millennial, but … huh? I think it’s totally fine to use your family (or friends, or alumni) network in looking for openings. But involving them in the interview? I just don’t see why that makes sense. I’m not even sure that I told anyone about my first interview for a post-college job until after the fact. Said interview involved multi-state travel and I was sort of pleased to be handling it solo, even though I got lost at least once.

  46. Jamie*

    Just have a quick second and haven’t read all the comments, but are we sure this isn’t satire?

    I adore my kids, I truly do, but when my youngest graduated from HS a couple of months ago amidst my sadness and mid-life whatever was a happy dance and a “hell yeah!” song to celebrate never having to attend another IEP meeting. Or Parent/Teacher conference. Or prom meeting. Or athletic banquet. Or you know…anything that required me to leave the house, really.

    Their jobs? Their problem. I will advice from the sidelines and chime in what I think is bad management and when I think the little cupcakes need to suck it up because their managers don’t love them like I do…but I’d never interfere.

    I do frequent the store where one of my sons works as a bagger. I have two jobs. One, to not comment on how cute he looks working and two, to buy nothing embarrassing. They lost my feminine hygiene and Imodium business because of that…hope the store doesn’t go under.

    1. Pussyfooter*

      Several people think the article is a “click bait” and I suspect that’s true. What’s creepy is that it’s not 100% clear whether this is a legitimate article, so some people could actually take it as guidance–eek!

      1. Ask a Manager* Post author

        To be clear, it can be click-bait but also factually and accurately reported, and since it’s the Wall St. Journal, I assume it is indeed accurate reporting. But you can create a “trend” out of virtually nothing and find facts to support it, and that could certainly be the case here (and that’s what I think the click-bait references here are talking about — not that it’s made up from nothing).

        1. Pussyfooter*

          Yes, by “legitimate” I meant implied normalcy of the topic. I agree that it’s a factual article.

        2. Calla*

          I suspect that since absolutely NO ONE so far has commented on this article in a positive way, that the number of actual people who would think this is a good idea would be very small. Then again, we are a highly intelligent & mature group!

        3. jmkenrick*

          Well, they mention Google’s “Bring your Parents to Work Day”…I know that’s a real thing. But it’s definitely not the kind of program that the article is talking about in terms of parental involvement…it’s more like a picnic day, honestly.

  47. JaneJ*

    I once had an applicant ask to wait in the office at the end of the interview because his mom hadn’t yet arrived to pick him up. Then my entire office listened to him call his mom 2-3 times and in a whiny, impatient, attempting-to-be-quiet-but-not-really-achieving-it voice complain “Mommmm, the interview ended 15 minutes ago! Where are you?!” I didn’t hire him.

    Why didn’t he just walk out front door, walk to the drugstore on the corner and argue with his mom from there?

  48. CCoach720*

    I am at the tail end of the “millennial” generation (I’m 29) and reading this made me want to flip my table in a fit of rage.

  49. Dana*

    Dear AAM,

    I am joining my son at his first professional interview today and I have a few questions:

    1. Do I need to wear a suit, or is a sweater set with a skirt appropriate? I should note that I have already purchased a sweater set that coordinates nicely with the tie I’ve picked out for my son, so I’m hoping this will suffice.

    2. When shall I share the photo albums I will be bringing? Is it best to do this as he discusses his background, or is this something I should save for later in the interview?

    3. When I display his achievement awards shall I also bring in his 5th grade science fair winning volcano, or will a picture in the above mentioned photo album be sufficiant? I’m fairly certain the volcano is in working order.

    4. Do I need to bring my own equipment to display video footage I have compiled from birth through college graduation, or is that typically provided?

    Thank you,
    Overbearing Mother

    1. Marie*


      5. At the interview, I would like to chronicle his Career Journey by taking pictures. Lots of them. I’m sure he will put them up on Facebook, but in case he doesn’t, they will (of course) be on my Facebook. Will you accept my friend request?

  50. Sabrina*

    This reminds me of a time when I was still in HS but had hit 18. I wasn’t feeling well and wanted to go home, nurse called my dad to get permission, and my dad gave her a piece of his mind about calling for permission about his *adult* daughter.

    1. Jess*

      I’m not sure about the legal ramifications in your location (so it could be different), but where I work (at a high school) we have to get parental permission for students to leave no matter how old they are. This is for liability reasons due to the nature of what the state/school system/(some other authority??) considers “adult,” which is a self-sufficient person who has complete responsibility for him/herself. If the student still lives with his/her parents, we have to have parental permission for the absence to be excused and for an ill student to go home (especially the ill student: there was a recently-turned-18-year-old student sent home several years ago with a headache who ended up dying at home alone due to an aneurysm, and the school was sued for negligence). Where I currently live/work, even if a student is 18, for the purposes of high school education, they are not independent.

  51. Marie*

    “W.T.F.” indeed!!!! The subtitle could be, “What Is Wrong With Our Society.” If this is truly a trend, it doesn’t bode well for us. What are we teaching our kids (who by the time they’re interviewing are…um….ADULTS), if we are doing this kind of hand-holding? This is ludicrous. I have 4 “kids” (one recent college grad, two college students, and a h.s. senior), and while I support their job-seeking efforts and can offer advice, there’s no way in hell any of this makes sense to me. And if it makes sense to them, then we’ve got a problem! No….just, no!!!

  52. Dianne*

    My mother accompanied me to a job interview once…at TCBY, when I was 14. I was mortified, I thought she was just giving me a ride but no, she plopped herself down in the red vinyl booth next to me.

    I used to work in a college library. Every fall we’d get a few phone calls from parents asking us to hire their kid. We’d always tell them that the student needed to initiate contact themselves. The students always seemed really embarrassed if they showed up to fill out an application. I never held it against them but I would’ve if they had brought a parent to an interview (that never happened, thankfully!).

  53. KF*

    This takes helicopter parenting to a whole new level. I can’t even contemplate what it says about an employer who thinks this is a good idea.

  54. Brittany*

    The first thing I thought of when I read this was…good lord, what would my parents say about the answers I gave during an interview? I do not need to be told afterward that actually, honey, saying XYZ instead of ABC would have made you come off looking a lot better. Talk about a really awkward ride home. And dinner conversation. For the next zillion years.


  55. Revanche*

    *raises hand* Long before this was “cool” …. one of my previous bosses allowed the interviewing intern to be interviewed WITH HIS DAD.

    I’ve been picking up the pieces of my head that ‘sploded ever since.

  56. KB*

    OMG – unbelievable! Grow up people! It’s called a workplace not grade school. Sooner or later you’ve got to stand on your own two feet and not have Mom & Dad there to make everything OK!

    I agree with KF – it’s taking helicopter parenting to a new level.

  57. Mike C.*

    I can think of one perfectly acceptable reason to bring your parents to work, but it’s incredibly niche.

    If you work somewhere where tours are regularly offered because it’s a point of local or historical interest, then I can see bringing family members on occasion. For example, if you’re a park ranger and you take your family to the park, museums, unique manufacturing sites and so on. If you work in a cube farm or office, I have no idea…

    In my case, I work in a large airplane manufacturing facility. No, bigger than that. Really large. Yes, that one.

    Every two years they have a “Family Day” where employees can bring family members to see the plant, watch machine demonstrations and tour the site and examples of the aircraft. Yeah, my folks came to the last one because the walking tours are much, much more detailed than are offered to the public.

    But involving them in your job in any way? That makes no sense and frankly I doubt it happens in any large numbers.

    1. Cat*

      For that matter, I work in a normal, boring law firm and when my parents were in town, I brought them in on the weekend to show them around. They didn’t meet anyone, but I didn’t feel bad about it.

      1. Mike C.*

        Not mine, those are headed south to make 737s. :)

        The widebody fuselages are either assembled on site or largely built up elsewhere and flown in on a highly modified 747 (aka the Large Cargo Freighter or “Dreamlifter”).

    2. Jessica*

      Oh my goodness! I have a former coworker who’s visiting soon, because her brother works there. Her boys are so excited to see it! (If it’s the same one that she was talking about, and I think it probably is.)

  58. Anonymous*

    I just saw this story on a UK ‘news’ paper’s site- they are starting earlier! This is a definite clickbait site. They love to show pictures of annoyed (preferably single – and even better, on benefits!) mothers moaning about how their little sweetpea has been hard done by as it will start a frenzy in the comments section from barely literate people frothing about ‘their’ taxes being used for these spongers / scroungers / insert-insult-of-choice-here!

  59. ITwannabe*

    What the crazy what??!? So, I guess Mommy and Daddy pack a sack lunch with our name on it for the first day of work as well?

    It’s the end of the world as we know it. We are now living in the Twilight Zone.

  60. Jill*

    I’m 36 and I just dont’ get this whole discussion. My parents made it quite clear from the get-go that once my five siblings and I turned 18, that’s it. We were on our own. No more living at home, no more being on their insurance, and with six kids, obviously no monetary help.

    Five of us are well established in our carreers. Four of us are married and raising children while doing volunteer work and staying otu of legal trouble.

    The one of us that is the opposite is the one that came along significantly later and who my parents babied and coddled the most. So there you go.

    1. Judy*

      Wow, I’m not sure I could have supported myself and finished the final 6 months of high school.

      My parents had saved some for me (& sis) over the years. They offered me health insurance, a car after my freshman year and car insurance, along with the money they had saved for college, for the time that took for me to get my BS. From that money, the money I saved in high school from my job, money from summer and during school jobs, and scholarships I paid for my school. I was very lucky that they were able to save enough to pay for roughly 1.5 years along with keeping my coverage for health insurance and buying me an 8 year old car. I did benefit from living at home during the summers, which allowed me to save enough to pay for my tuition and dorm.

      It would have been very difficult if I would have had to move out halfway through my senior year of high school.

      1. Amanda*

        I feel like when people say stuff like that, they don’t literally mean they were put out on the street on their 18th birthday, but rather they moved out at the age of 18 when they were finished with high school.

        At least I hope that’s what they mean. Suddenly being homeless would be a really sucky birthday present.

    2. Ariancita*

      Yep, similar situation. Out by 18, no monetary or other help. No insurance either. Paid for my own college by getting scholarships (from great grades) and working. Never had a car or anything like that at that time. Everything was on my own and when I graduated college at the top of my class, I felt such a sense of accomplishment. There’s something really rewarding about getting there on your own through your own hard work and determination.

  61. De Minimis*

    Even if this isn’t a trend or anything, it does make me curious…what will happen when the “helicopter” generation do start taking on more management roles? Wonder how it will change the workplace, if at all. GenX [my group] were supposed to be different, but I’m not sure if we really have been. I think in general, the type of behaviors that tend to lead to success in the workplace tend to be the same for everyone.

  62. Staci*

    This is weird but it lends a reason to some of my encounters recently. On several occasions, I have had mothers of newly hired nurses (who have not started) call to negotiate their orientation schedule. One of them actually told me that her child (who is an adult) has never worked anywhere 5 days a week. I can guarantee you even as a new grad I would not have let my mother anyhere near my future employer.

    1. K.A.T.*

      Oh wow, I can’t even imagine. Their poor school – I bet they were all involved in setting up and arguing about their clinical times, too. I wonder what they’re going to do when they’re off orientation and on the regular schedule or have to work holidays. Maybe mom will call and explain that no, her baby can’t possibly miss Christmas!

  63. Bunny Manders*

    I admit I’m curious about the study from Adecco–as a staffing company, they definitely have an interest in making it seem inordinately hard to hire young people. Then, they can step in and say, “Why not weed out the crazies by hiring through us?”

    The financial firm is stranger–unless they’re just trying to schmooze with potential new clients/contacts. I would imagine that the average parent of an intern in the finance industry is reasonably well-connected, and might even need those services themselves.

    But maybe I just want to believe that my generation is less crazy than we’re made out to be.

  64. De Minimis*

    With PWC I think it might be more of a case of it being overall a very “young” industry–the regular career path is to usually be on your second promotion by the time you reach age 27-28, so I could see how some offices might consider it more acceptable to have parents involved in the internship process.

    I can say from experience [I’m a former employee there] that most employees are usually of fairly average middle to upper-middle class backgrounds, so it would be rare for any of them to have parents that would be potential clients, except maybe in a case where the parent might work for one of the smaller client companies.

  65. Amber*

    I… sorry, what the hell?!

    I’m 17 and I just had a job interview today. I drove MYSELF there, and my parents were not involved at all!!! That’s just weird!

  66. Manda*

    The people allowing and promoting this crap must be helicopter parents themselves. That is the only explanation I can imagine, and that in no way excuses things.

  67. CubeKitteh*

    I read this yesterday and had to actually double check the website to be sure I was really on the WallStreet Jounral’s site. I love and respect my parents, but for the love of all that’s right in the world, I certainly do NOT want them involved in my work life. I cannot comprehend the idea that work functions would include one’s parents much like a school function. My brain hurts…

  68. Kevin*

    I don’t know if I even believe these statistics, why isn’t there one interview with a family that has actually done this?

  69. Anonymous*

    My father walked me to one interview – however it was because he had the pass to park on campus, knew where the building and office was, and knew the person I was “interviewing” with. So I got the job because of my father’s talking to everyone, I mean networking, and because of luck. I still work at the same university, almost 15 years later, so it didn’t turn out so bad!

  70. Allison*

    Late to the game here (forgive me, I missed a day of AAM due to work travel), but wow . . . just wow.

    I’m 24, and just starting my adult life, so I do kinda get the desire young adults have to involve their parents in stuff like this – to a degree. Telling them about work is fine, asking for advice is fine, but bringing parents to the job interview is going to far.

    In general it seems like a lot of families these days have trouble cutting the cord. Not sure if I can talk about that too much, having lived at home 16 months after graduating. But I remember how in college I’d see parents stick around for days after move-in, still being on campus when classes started.

    1. Ruffingit*

      I think it’s so bizarre that parents would stick around for days after the dorm move in. Don’t these people have jobs and lives? That’s rhetorical because the obvious answer is they believe their jobs and lives ARE their kids. It’s sick and weird to me. I was the only person in my family to go to college and my mother dropped me off and left. My parents were supportive, sending care packages and some pocket money every term, but they were not uber-involved because they had jobs and lives of their own. I can’t imagine any kid who would want their parent to hang out at the dorm for days or weeks. SO WEIRD.

  71. Jules*

    As a parent I would love to be the fly on the wall. As a HR practitioner I would give this expression => O.o

    There are only so much hand holding a parent should do. If they are willing to coach on interview questions, that is great but to go to interview with them…

    Hmmm… My dad did drop me of at an interview for my first job though, but he waited at a coffee shop and only wished me good luck and buried himself in the newspaper while he waited.

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