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Bring Your Parents to Work Day?

Sep 23, 2013, Vol. 19, No. 03 • By THE SCRAPBOOK
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The Scrapbook discounts a lot of the perennial harrumphing about “kids these days,” but we were nonetheless a bit taken aback by last week’s Wall Street Journal report on our latest generation of participation-trophy winners: “Should You Bring Mom and Dad to the Office? Employers Are -Embracing the Involvement of Parents to Attract and Hold On to Talent.” To the extent that question in the headline isn’t entirely rhetorical, the answer is no. Of course, making due allowance for the hardiness of your rootstock, it can be prudent to ask your parents for career advice when you’re younger, but the extent of the involvement the Journal reports on is appalling:

For example, HR executives have to follow privacy policies that prevent them from sharing information with parents. That can be a problem when a parent calls asking why their offspring didn’t get a job or wants to negotiate salary, Mr. Fall explains.

If you are an adult whose parents are negotiating your salary for you, that’s a pretty obvious sign you’re probably not a go-getter who deserves a fat paycheck. And helicopter parents in the workplace aren’t a rare occurrence these days, either. Last year, NPR reported:

Michigan State University surveyed more than 700 employers seeking to hire recent college graduates. Nearly one-third said parents had submitted résumés on their child’s behalf, some without even informing the child. One-quarter reported hearing from parents urging the employer to hire their son or daughter for a position. Four percent of respondents reported that a parent actually showed up for the candidate’s job interview. 

Might this phenomenon of parental over-involvement in the hiring process suggest that, uh, kids these days have work-ethic issues? According to Pew, more Millennials think the word “capitalism” has negative connotations than positive. And Millennials also have a net positive reaction to the word “socialism.” These results are in marked contrast to the reactions of every other age group. As depressing as this is, it may help explain why Millennials voted overwhelmingly for Barack Obama. When their parents aren’t around to hold their hands, they want Big Brother to take care of them.

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