GRAND Magazine - September/October 2018 - 39

education

Millennials in wonderland
How grandparents can help
BY WENDY SCHUMAN

W

e all want to help our kids and grandkids succeed in life
and work. That's why my husband Ken and I wrote our
book, "Millennials in Wonderland: Coaching Grads at
the Crossroads of Life and Career." Six years ago we started a pro
bono coaching program for young college grads-because we
had seen too many Millennials leave college with no clue about
what they wanted to do or how to move ahead.

Here are some ways grandparents can
help (and some things not to do):

1

Be your grandchild's cheering section. It's a

tough world out there, and they're facing lots of rejection.
So let your grandkids know you believe in their ability to work
through problems and setbacks. Remind them of times they've
succeeded. Help them break down their goals into small steps.
Then cheer them on as they achieve each one.

2

Don't step on their parents' toes by pushing your

own agenda. You can be a sounding board for your grandchild's complaints, hopes, and fears, but never criticize their parents. Encourage your grandchild to look forward, not back.

3

Do use your contacts to help your grandchild
network. Most jobs are found through personal con-

nections rather than websites. So tap into your own network of
friends and associates. That could include your doctor, accountant, or dentist-professionals you come in contact with regularly.
Your network might be shrinking as people retire, so ask friends if

39 GRAND

SEPTEMBER OCTOBER 2018

their children could help. Once your grandchild
has narrowed down a field, suggest they email
the contacts you've given them to ask for short,
positive informational interviews to broaden
their reach.

4

Don't regale your grandchildren with long stories about how

you worked your way up. The work landscape
has changed radically since we all started out.
The jobs that exist today are totally different
from those of even a decade ago, and your
experiences might sound like the Stone Age.

5

Help them do well at interviews. Certain things

don't change-like the need to make a good impression at
an interview. Susan Hay, a career coach at LaunchingU, always
coaches her young clients on interview etiquette. "It's amazing
what they don't know, " she says. The basics: Look the interviewer
in the eye while shaking hands and
say "I'm very happy to meet you" or
"Great to see you again." Wear nice
clothing, even in a casual office-no
jeans or shorts. Other tips: Be on
time or early, don't chew gum, turn
off your phone during the interview,
carry a portfolio with extra resumes,
and prepare some good questions to
ask the interviewer. And always follow
up with a thank-you email.

6

Give them shelter. If you live in a city or town where

your grandchild is job-hunting, offer your couch or spare
room until they get settled. They'll save money and your relationship will grow closer.
You'll find many more tips for helping the new generation
of college grads in "Millennials in Wonderland." To learn more
about Grad Life Choices, our pro bono coaching program, click
here.

Wendy Schuman held editorial posts at Parents Magazine,
Mademoiselle, and Beliefnet. She's the co-author of
"Millennials in Wonderland" and co-founder of Grad Life
Choices. She is also a freelance writer in West Orange, NJ
and a proud grandmom.


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GRAND Magazine - September/October 2018

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