The playing of Pomp and Circumstance is over. The mortarboards have been thrown in the air. Your son or daughter is home and looking for work in one of the toughest economic climates in decades.
How bad is it? In 2010, college graduates had a 9.4 percent jobless rate. Before the recession, it was 5.5 percent. Many grads have moved back home, and this spring is sure to see another wave of boomerang kids moving out of the dorm for the last time and heading reluctantly back to their old bedrooms – not necessarily because they want to, but because they can't pay rent elsewhere on their own.
As a parent you want to help. But what to say? It's an emotional time, and nerves may be frayed. You certainly don't want to start doing their laundry again, but you also don't want to provoke a fight.
With that goal in mind, here are 10 things NOT to say to your recent college graduate:
• "I'm sure we all need a break from stress, but you need a job before you know what real stress is."
• "Since you are applying for jobs now, you might want to remove those beer pong pictures from your Facebook page."
• "Some time in the military never hurt the old resume."
• "You may recall that we were not thrilled with your choice of a creative writing degree, but your contention that we promised to support you until you sell your first novel does reveal a truly creative mind."
• "Remember that I plan to retire in six years, and it's important that you be paying your share of Social Security by then."
• "I don't care what your roommate told you, everyone does NOT have a trust fund."
• "I'm sure Tiffany's surgery will help her job prospects, but we are not paying for a nose job."
• "It's too bad you didn't find a nice young (man/woman) in college, because you'll never again be around so many eligible people." (On the other hand, asking, 'You're still with HIM (her)?' might not go over well either, depending on your tone of voice.)
• "We forgot to mention that we've turned your old room into our scrapbooking center. How do you feel about sleeping on the couch and putting your stuff in a storage unit?"
• "I hear they're hiring … in China."