Life is pretty interesting in our house right now, especially for Missy who has moved back into the bosom of her family after graduating in December. This is not the scenario she had planned as she stood on the verge of real life and self-sufficient adulthood.
The lack of suitable (and unsuitable) employment options has been a show stopper for her enthusiasm and ambition. The cold reality is that a pretty face, perky smile and degree certificate still dripping with ink are not always a passport to an immediate opening in the perfect career.
Even the burger flippers have not been hiring which would at least have contributed towards her apartment, car, health insurance and current lifestyle.
According to CNN 85% of college grads are moving home and unemployment in the USA for 20-24 year old is running at 15%. From talking to friends and reading newspapers in the UK things seem pretty much the same there.
Our family does not own a money tree and Missy’s predicament had not been factored into the domestic budget. Nor were we prepared for how challenging and stressful this would be for our middle child as she faced continual rejection from companies who a few years ago would have been falling over themselves to recruit her.
What all employers wants to see on a résumé is experience.
Newspapers are full of items on graduates working for nothing so they can add the E word to their list of post-graduate accomplishments and give them an edge. Especially when in a few months thousands more students will be entering the workforce. Tough times.
In most cases the financial burden falls back on parents who had hoped, at this stage in their lives, to be traveling the world, installing saunas in the newly vacant bedroom, or celebrating one less on the family payroll. Harry’s anxiety levels went through the roof as he perceived money from his college fund might be under serious threat from his fiscally irresponsible and inconsiderate sister.
After two months of serious job hunting and nothing concrete in the pipeline it was time for Missy to come home until she could be employed, self-supporting and back on her feet.
It was a conversation none of us wanted – although Harry had an awful lot to say considering he generally contributes little to the verbal interaction of the household. His input related mostly to his sister having to live in a card board box if necessary, getting with the program and not being an unacceptable drain on domestic resources.
I knew Missy would not want to consider the option. She has lived on her own in the USA since we left five years ago (her choice). She is an independent, sassy, smart 24-year-old who is globally and culturally comfortable, regularly flies across continents and travels alone without a second thought. She is the epitome of the strong, independent woman we always hoped she would be – on every level except, right now, financially.
In most families the dilemma might be a tad easier, returning home within the same state, or country. For children studying overseas it would be returning to family and friends in their home country.
We were asking Missy to the move from the place she has called home for the past 15 years. The country where she, like us, chose to take citizenship, where she went to school, where she has friends she’s had forever, where there is a support system for her to fall back on.
In asking her to come home we were asking her to move to a foreign country she has visited but never lived in, with a different language, culture and customs. And terrible weather compared to the glorious skies and hot temperatures of Baton Rouge.
We were positive. We promised the aim would be to get her back to the USA as soon as possible – she could apply for jobs from here in the Netherlands while getting experience in an internship/ temporary work here in The Hague. Wouldn’t that look fabulous on her résumé?
So Missy has come home. Of course she wasn’t happy, who would be at having life turned upside down and moving a quarter-way round the world? Having said that, after what has been a challenging time for her this past year, she was ready to have someone else take over for a while and completely understood our situation. Our little girl is not so little anymore, despite what I wrote about her in a previous blog.
Decision made, she packed up, stored her belongings, gave up the lease on her apartment, re-housed her beloved dog and relocated her life in six days. Told you she was capable.
She has a job (temporary but covers the E word on the résumé), several irons in the fire in the USA and enjoying the chance to reconnect with family. It helps that she knows she won’t be here for long.
She is coping well, but like my daughter I’m not a total idiot. I know the day will arrive, sooner rather than later, when the realisation she has moved will sink in and culture shock will overwhelm her, if only for a few days.
I have all my notes on surviving global transitions and a box of Kleenex to hand. Will keep you posted.
UPDATE: these days our middle child has a career she loves, based in Houston TX, as an international buyer for a shipping company.