The Negatives of Nepotism

Q. My adult children seem indifferent to actively seeking a Summer job, in spite of the consequences (no spending money) and my help and guidance (most of their jobs have been through parental suggestions and connections). Is this a generational thing and what are your suggestions moving forward?

A. Looking to the future, planning accordingly and acknowledging consequences are all skills which mature as we age. So, yes, it is a generational thing. As college-age students become young adults, their action and inaction continues to have a direct impact on their parents. In a college mindset, summer is a long way away – especially as the spring break celebration has barely been planned, never mind enjoyed.

If you can’t say “Get a summer job because I am not going to fund you, and I won’t say anything else about it”, and mean it, I do have a few suggestions. Start with a calendar which you will share with our potential wage earners. Count the number of weeks from now until the last day of their semester plus at least one week to chill out, which brings you to just after Memorial Day. Pick a day that week and mark it with “Do or Do Not Start Summer Job and Earn Money”.

Any successful job search requires effective planning and execution within the right time frame. Many colleges and universities offer support in finding summer jobs, and you may want to add the Office of Career Planning to weeks 1 and 2 on the calendar, with a note that says meet staff, review summer job openings, attend resume writing workshop. Since they have worked before they have experience and so resume content for the week you assign to resume writing. Perhaps they plan on returning to a previous job for another summer, and have not discussed this with you, or their former employer. Now would be the time for those conversations, as employers are making these plans for staffing.


Strongly encourage your maybe job seekers to create a LinkedIn account. First develop your own if you haven’t already. Make sure to link to any connections you think may be able to help your offspring benefit from parental connections through their link to you. Let your kids know that since they are connected to your contacts, that after April 1, you will no longer be able to make phone calls on their behalf. You will still be able to make a LinkedIn introduction. Hopefully all the connections your contacts have won’t be used up by then. Though you are involved in their job searches, you can’t write recommendations for them on LinkedIn, but you can encourage them to get their own from former employers, and even faculty members.

Networking face to face is the most effective way to find jobs, and between your contacts, former employers, the alumni they can research, and parents of their friends – they should be getting leads to job opportunities. Since they are experienced ‘googlers’, the research they do on the job and organizations can prepare them for very effective interviews

The job search activity all has to happen. Starting now helps ensure job options, career experience, and fewer swoops of the helicopter parent. So email this article to your job seekers wishing them luck, and recognize they’ll need to do it all over again for full time work.

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