Category Archives: Uncategorized

On the difficulties finding work in today's economy: Two perspectives

In his personal finance column a couple of weeks ago, Globe and Mail columnist Rob Carrick referenced a letter he published about a year ago. The letter was from a 29-year-old who had a lot to say about his generation’s difficulty finding work — especially meaningful and/or well-paying work. I didn’t see that letter when it was published last year, but Rob’s column this week made me want to seek it out.

The letter stirs up mixed feelings in me. Here’s an excerpt:

What makes me extremely bitter is how poorly people of my age and younger have been treated by potential employers…

About a month from now, I’ll likely randomly get an email … telling me that while they really liked me, I wasn’t the right person for the role and they hired someone else. That’s it. The kicker? They likely didn’t hire anyone at all and wasted everyone’s time…

Being willing to work is absolutely USELESS if you can’t get a foot in the door. The economy is only part of the problem.

I have to say, this gets my hackles up — for a couple of reasons. First, I can relate. After all, I’m only five years older than the letter writer. Yes, five years can make a big difference in the economic landscape. But things were not easy when I graduated either. (My first job after graduating from university was working for slightly more than minimum wage at a book store.) I understand that things are hard(er) now — but sometimes you really do have to work for less than you think you’re worth so you can build skills and contacts, which make you worth much more.

But what really irks me is his view of the hiring process — because I’ve been a hiring manager, and I can tell you that I find it hard to believe companies are intentionally wasting their own employees’ time interviewing people for jobs that don’t exist. Hiring is a huge expense for a company, and it takes an almost unbelievable amount of time. At one company I worked for, I think I interviewed pretty much every young writer in Vancouver. Clearly, most of them did not get the job. Maybe they thought I was evil and that we never hired anyone. But here’s the thing: Many of them just had not developed their skills to the point of being hireable — yet. I once hired a writer with very little paid experience because she had an excellent blog that showed she could write. When I asked for samples from more experienced writers and they either didn’t have any, or they were badly written, or they spelled my name or the name of the company wrong in the e-mail they sent them in, well, they didn’t get hired. Sometimes I did a round of hiring and didn’t hire anyone — not because there was no job to fill, but because it would have been way too expensive for the company to bring on a new employee that everyone knew was not going to work out.

For the letter writer, I don’t know what the answer is. I know it’s tough out there. I know it can seem bleak, if not impossible. You’re right that by sheer virtue of the time you were born and graduated, you face a tougher road than those 20, 10, or even 5 years older than you. I would just urge you to keep going. And don’t believe the system is out to get you. Make what you can out of the opportunities you’re given. And hope for a little (or a lot) of luck along the way.

For another perspective, here’s another letter from a 29-year-old “job-haver” who wrote Rob to respond to the first letter. As I read it, I kept saying, right out loud, “YES!” A couple of his excerpts:

Applying for hundreds of jobs, over the Internet, in a wide variety of fields…  is the shotgun approach, and it is a big mistake…

This is hard to swallow, but the people who will get their dream jobs are already doing their dream jobs before they get hired. You wanna be an accountant? Start doing your friends’ taxes. You wanna work in an ad agency? Make spec ads for your friends’ and family’s small businesses. Wanna be a journalist? Start making YouTube videos. Mechanic? Fix some cars. Teacher? Tutor poor kids. Yeah, you gotta make money. So sling coffee. And be darn well passionate about it. Find a coffee shop you love and pitch yourself to them, so you can make a few bucks an hour to support your weekends of doing your dream job for free. That’s how economies work. People do things. Real things in the real world with grease and sweat and moving parts and grit. Your credentials are theory.

I could not agree more.






W Network Show Looking for Canadian Boomerang Family that Needs Help

Force Four Entertainment, W Network, and The Audience are looking for families or individuals that are faced with a dilemma, are having a difficult time with the decision, are looking for some advice, and would like to share their journey.

Specifically, they are looking for a family with a boomerang kid living at home  faced with the dilemma of moving on.

Here’s some information about the show from the producers:

The Audience is a transformative, caring and compassionate social series.  Each one-hour episode focuses on an individual or family who is struggling with a life-changing decision and is at a crossroads in their life.  For one week, the individual is followed by “The Audience” 50 insightful people from diverse backgrounds. “The Audience” puts their heads together, debates the dilemma, and comes up with the best possible solution… the wisdom of the crowd.  At the end of the week, “The Audience” presents its considered, collective, and thoughtful advice to the individual.

For more information about the show, or if your family wants to get involved, you can get in touch with the producers directly by email at or on facebook.

1.7 million boomerang kids in the UK

A report published in the UK by housing charity Shelter shows that 1.7 million people aged 20 to 40 are living with their parents because they can’t afford their own home. What’s worse is that 40% of the parents in these homes think their children will never — ever — be able to afford their own home.

Parents are taking a financial hit, too. Forty percent are buying their kids’ groceries, and 20% say they have less money to spend on themselves.

NYC tri-state area TV show looking for a boomerang family

“Money Matters With Jean Chatzky,” a TV show on RL-TV, is doing a story on boomerang kids. They are looking for parents in the NYC tri-state area who would like to discuss their experience  having their child move back in with them — the good, the bad, the ugly — on camera. If you think you fit the description, please e-mail the producer at

A last resort: Filing for bankruptcy after supporting your adult children

I am a firm believer that parents should never, ever, ever (is that clear enough) take on debt to support their adult children. It does not make financial sense for a generation nearing the end of its earning years to take on debt to support a generation with a full working life ahead.

That said, I know that some parents don’t heed this advice. They DO take on debt to support their adult kids, and they may find themselves in way over their heads.

If this has happened to you, you need to get your financial situation sorted out. John Skiba of Skiba Law Group has written an article explaining how to proceed with bankruptcy if you find yourself in this situation. You can find his information here.

W Network looking for adult children living at home

W Network’s new reality show “The Audience” is looking for adult children living at home (or their parents) who are at a crossroads and need some advice. They’re also looking for people who would like to provide crowd-sourced advice. Here are the casting call details and contact information straight from the producers:

Force Four Entertainment is launching a groundbreaking new television series called “The Audience”, based on the popular UK show.  “The Audience” is looking for people who are struggling with a life-changing decision, are at some sort of crossroads and in need of some thoughtful advice.  We would like to find an adult who is thinking about moving back in with their parents, or the opposite, that is trying to decide whether to move out of the family home.  We would also like to speak to parents who have some sort of dilemma with their adult child living at home.

Here are a few more details about “The Audience”:  This W Network show draws on the “wisdom of the crowd” – how sometimes many minds can be better than one when it comes to solving a life-changing dilemma.  For one week, the “person with a dilemma” is followed by 50 insightful people from diverse backgrounds who will ask the tough questions that will get to the root of the dilemma and then provide valuable advice and a possible solution.

We are also looking for participants who might be interested in being part of the group of 50 advisors.

If you have a dilemma or are interested in finding out more information about the series, please email: or call 604 669 4424 x148.

Adult children living at home: It's not all bad!

Wowza. I just read an article from The Winnipeg Free Press that begins with the following paragraph:

Accumulating statistics show today’s mollycoddled kids prefer the comforting velvet-cushion homespun pampering of the parental home to the cold realities of independent living. Life on a silver platter sharing the parental home is the option of choice for young people facing uncertain economic times.

I think the author has some negative feelings about adult children living at home! The truth is, some adult children living at home ARE mollycoddled. They live at home with no expectation of contributing to the cost of their stay there, they come and go as they please with no responsibilities, are fed and clothed, and may even have their laundry done for them. Sure, this is life on a silver platter. But it’s also not the only way.

If an adult child moves home for a defined period of time to allow him or her to achieve a specific goal (find a job, pay off debt, complete school, etc.), contributes financially to the household, and behaves according to the parents’ expectations in the home, it provides that young adult a huge advantage in what has become a very financially challenging world without creating ongoing dependency or mollycoddling. The key is to set a timeline for the stay and expectations for behavior and contributions (financial or otherwise), and to expect the adult child to take care of his or her own household responsibilities (keeping things clean, making meals, and so on). When the stay is managed intelligently, it can actually be a positive for both adult children (who get obvious financial and emotional benefits) and parents, who get to know their children as adults in a way we often don’t make time for in our culture.


Are your adult children appearing in your dreams?

Here’s something a little different: Carolyn Plath, a dream analyzer with, recently analyzed a dream that involved a run-down nag rummaging in the dreamer’s refrigerator. The dreamer gives the horse a swift kick, but it falls into the fridge and clumsily tries to make its way out. Plath’s analysis? The horse represents the dreamer’s adult child living at home, and the imagery symbolizes her difficulty getting that child motivated. You can see the full description of the dream and Plath’s full analysis here.

Reporter looking for families with adult children living at home in New York

A reporter is currently working on a story for the New York Daily News about adults living at home again with their parents and is looking for families to speak to. If you live in the New York area and have adult children living at home (or are an adult child living with your parents), please get in touch with the reporter directly at