So what exactly is a “Boomeranger?” In short, it is a term to describe Gen-Xers and Gen-Yers who have moved back home with parents and family, in response to the current recession. While this situation may provide financial relief for the young adult, there are many facets to this arrangement that need exploring.
Often after an “unsuccessful” job hunt, a young adult may return home and continue to be financially supported by their parents. Ten percent of all children over the age of 25 now live with their parents and a startling one third of all American men between the ages of 22 and 34 still live with their parents, an increase of 100% percent in the last two decades, according to the Census Bureau. Statistically, a large percentage of this population becomes more passive in their search for employment. They begin to lack motivation, and may unconsciously be manipulating their parents into believing that “there is just nothing out there.” Parents take the bait, continue to enable the young adult, and now a prophecy has been self-fulfilled. Indeed, the “Boomeranger” has positioned his/herself as “unemployable.” The longer you are idle, the less likely you will be desired by a potential employer.
So what can we do to help motivate and move this generation to action?
Start Planning before the diploma is in hand. Set up a four-year plan to help assemble a tool kit so there is something to put on the resume. Academics are important, but they need to be complemented with life experience. Joining organizations help individuals learn to be part of a team, to acquire leadership skills, plan events, and develop time management skills. Internships and jobs show responsibility and the ability to juggle multiple priorities. All are characteristics that a future employer will seek.
Encourage young adults to take responsibility for their job search. Is their resume well-prepared? Are they out their networking or simply claiming that they can’t find any positions on the internet? Only 10% of jobs available are public knowledge. Only the aggressive job-seeker is finding what’s really out there. Do they have a daily plan? A specific number of contacts to make per day? The job search should be treated as a job, with to do lists, deadlines and accountability.
It’s often easier to find a job when you are employed. The first job may not be ideal or have anything to do with that four-year degree. But WHATEVER the job is, it will build the resume and show that the individual is not sitting back in defeat.
Say goodbye to the security blanket.A tough economy means making concessions. It might mean taking on multiple roommates for an affordable living situation. Maybe it means getting a foot in the door with an unpaid internship while working a part-time evening position.
Stay in motion. To reach the destination, you need to get on the bus. Sitting at the bus stop, gets you nowhere.