Continuing with our theme of Baby Boomer parents and the Millennials they smother, I’d like to introduce a segment called “Baby Boomer, Echo Boomer” where I discuss breaking Millennial and employment issues with the people who coddle me best: my parents.
My mother, Shannon’s Mom, is a self-effacing bibliophile with an anarchist streak. My mother has always worked for non-profits and State departments in the areas of entitlements, domestic violence, traumatic brain injuries and health disparities.
My father, Shannon’s Dad, is a charming people person with an eclectic employment background ranging from non-profit work to super for-profit work via the insurance industry.
This Week’s Question: How did you feel about having to help support me as an adult?
I did not think about it; you never stop being a parent and I never think that if I help you or others that I am depriving myself of something. I think that culture, ethnicity, and where I was reared shapes my understanding, acceptance and belief that, barring certain behaviors that threatens harm to family member or others, support for family members should not be needlessly limited or restricted. In the South, where I was born and reared, the extended family provided emotional as well as financial support. Many people equate age and adulthood with complete independence; none of us are completely independent – we are all interdependent.
You and your brothers were reared to pursue your goals and objectives; you were also taught that honest work is honorable – regardless of what form it takes. All three of you have performed work that some may think is beneath you. You all have persevered and have grown as a result of those types of work experiences. I hope that your current employment status does not have a long lasting impact on how you feel about yourself, your inherent value and worth – I am confident that you will make a significant difference in the lives of those who are disadvantaged and disenfranchised. As a parent, I owe it to myself, to our family, and you to support you in any way that I can. To paraphrase The Hollies, “you ain’t heavy, you are my daughter.”
Ironically I have two very distinct feelings. The first is resentment. Resentment that the world economy has been so disrupted by greed and deception that your generation has not had the same opportunity to enter the work force in meaningful ways like I did. I’m even more concerned that someone who has decided to do work that will support social justice and the greater good has not been able to secure a career part that will allow you to make the impact that I know you can and will make. It’s a loss that is hard to accept.
My second distinct feeling is gratitude. From the time you were a little girl you have been fiercely independent and self-reliant. Your mom has done a wonderful job in instilling a strong sense of self in you. It’s always been very difficult to help you and you rarely ask for it. I am pleased that I can offer support that is of benefit to you. I have been very fortunate in my professional life and I wanted nothing more than to have that success benefit my family. I have been able to lend a helping hand to you and your brothers as adults but it was never a situation where I ever felt I was doing more to support you than you guys were doing on your own. I do so very little that I almost feel as if I get more benefit from it than you do. I love knowing I can help all of you guys and I hope the day will never come when you hesitate to ask if its necessary. Your grandfather helped me on many occasions while you guys were growing up.
While my parents don’t consider post college financial support for their children to be a burden, I still associate needing their help with abject failure and the deterioration of one of my most cherished characteristics: independence.
Are there any qualities you find yourself struggling to maintain during your job search?