Wednesday, May 23, 2007

For Students -- Helicopter Parents

Not many questions from students this week, but I'll get back to those that have arrived in the future. For today, just one thought. I heard yesterday of stories of helicopter parents who actually write thank-you notes to their child's first employer, upon hiring of their offspring.

A piece of advice to students. Don't ever, ever, ever let your parents do any such thing! And parents, don't ever, ever do such a thing. Perhaps it should not have this result, but I cannot think of anything that would more quickly make me question my judgment about hiring someone than to get a note like that.

15 comments:

Brandon said...

your post this morning got me thinking about first career moves... as i stated before, iam just about to finish up my graduate degree in health services administration and as i am finishing up my administrative residency, i am having difficulty determining what my next step should be.. luckily, i have a very strong preceptor that has helped me along in this process, but iam conflicted choosing what area of management i should pursue next... according to my preceptor, he believes that my personality and demeanor would be an excellent fit transitioning into a line-management role where i would have day-to-day responsibilities over a department, but after speaking to another senior exec. he believes i should pursue a staff position, like in strategic planning or business analyst, where i would have great exposure and access to the actual decision-makers within the organization.. any advice on what my next career move should be?

(almost) dr. jess said...

As I'm about to start my internship, I was wondering if you could comment on the economics of a residency program for a hospital. I can see it having both pros (prestige, cheap labor) and cons (decreased efficiency on wards and clinics). How do you guys figure out how much to pay your residents?

Tom said...

Paul, I'm a once and future student and I have a question: what is the staffing makeup of BIDMC? Particularly the administrative staff helping you run the hospital (how many, who are they, what do they do) but also the other staff employed by the hospital.

Tom

krylonultraflat said...

I think this phenomenon has been either overhyped by the media or not put in the proper context.

By context, I mean in the event parents DO get in touch with employers, they may do so in the following two circumstances:

1. They had a distant relationship with the employer, like being a friend of a friend or a business contact of some sort (Granted, this is not a connection that shouldn't be acknowledged for fear of impropriety, but that's a different subject)
2. The job isn't a first job and is instead an internship or educational endeavor.

In either of the above situations, it's still not proper, but is done in less meddling circumstances. I'm not defending it, just pointing out the possible flaws in coverage of the subject.

My dad stopped influencing my decisions about my life as soon as I went to college (a college that, despite being less than 1 mile away, he made me move into the dorms to attend).

Anonymous said...

Looks like theres plenty of questions on there why not answer them.

Alexis said...

Wow...... just...... wow. That's terrifying. Needless to say, I just sent this to my parents with a big thank you message for letting my brother and myself become adults with all the potential foibles and failings that go along with it.

Maxine said...

Not sure if this is a totally new phenomenon. I'm going to congratulate myself that it never occurred to me to do that to my kids. However it may be because I remember my mother "dropping in" to my first job. she just happened to be "in the area". Yeah we lived in a coastal community, and my first job was off the MassPike.

Scott said...

Paul -- I'm surprised by your extreme reaction here. While my parents would not have called one of my employers to thank them in my past years, I know that if one of my parents wanted to do something, I'd have a hard time stopping them. I can think about parental comments in the past that have gotten me in trouble by way of association... and it's really not quite fair.

As an employer, I agree that if an employee's parent called me, I'd think it was strange and it would raise some questions - and I'd talk with the new hire about the incident and explain my concerns. If a parent is going to be a "helicopter" at work, that would be a problem, and we'd have to discuss. But if they are acting on their own free will, it's not a fair reflection on the child.

Paul Levy said...

Scott,

I was exaggerating a bit to make the point . . .

Tom said...

Brandon, where did you go to graduate school and where did you do your residency? Just curious.

John Norris said...

As a Manager, I had a young employee whose mother stopped by the office for entirely appropriate reasons. I took the time to speak with her about the fine job her child was doing. The mom's pride was palpable. It was a rare opportunity, and I am so glad I took it.

Paul Levy said...

I do the same, and it is a lovely thing to see. That's a bit different from an unsolicited note from the parents thanking an employer for giving a job to one's child.

John Norris said...

Agreed. Such a note from a parent is not appropriate. To me, such a note frames the hiring as a favor, when it is very much a business matter.

Anonymous said...

Helicopter parents - there seems to be quite a lot of these folks around these days.

I am a parent of two teens one about to enter college. my moto is "Guide and advise but never try to take control over your kids lives for that will only be doing them and you a great disservice".

Rich said...

I agree with your comments so much that I'm leaving a post just reinforce them. PERFECTLY said!