Too many waiting for the "perfect" job

A recent New York Times article featured the story of a 24-year-old unemployed college graduate who’s living at home and being supported by his parents. He was offered a job at $40,000 per year, but turned it down because he felt it was “dead end work.”

What?! This is crazy. When I graduated from college, I moved home with my parents for a few months as I regained my footing and tried to figure out what was next (I draw on this experience in my book). With an English degree, the job opportunities were certainly not falling in my lap. So what did I do? I went to work in a bookstore for $8 an hour. Sure, it was a lower-level job than I thought I’d get with a college degree, but at least it brought in some money that allowed me to contribute to the grocery bill and start saving to move out. It also allowed me to create some opportunities for myself, as I volunteered to create the store’s website, and started doing some promotional and marketing work that became the earliest pieces in my writing portfolio.

If your adult children are living at home and struggling with their job search, make sure they understand that they need to earn some money — even if that means they take a job that is not exactly their ideal position. Those ideal positions are rarely first jobs. And any job offers opportunities to build your resume, as long as you’re willing to seek out tasks that are beyond your job description.

Hey, it’s summer. If your adult child is living at home and unemployed, send them out to start mowing neighbors’ lawns! Sure, it’s manual labor, but making a few dollars is good for anyone’s self esteem.  And if they come to you asking for advice about what to say to a $40K  job offer that’s not exactly in their chosen field, tell them to jump on it. In this economy, we have to take opportunities when they are presented to us, and create our own luck.