It was October 2009. I’d graduated a year previously from one of the top schools in the UK, brimming with arrogance, confident that waltzing into the workplace would be a cinch. A year on and I was wavering on the brink of bankruptcy, pouring my heart and soul into an unpaid internship, staring at yet another job rejection email. Unable to keep up with my rental payments, I had no choice. I had to move back in with my parents.
Now none of us want to be branded ‘boomerang kids’, but for many of us recent graduates, moving back home is the only financially viable option. A recent study conducted by Twentysomethinginc revealed that as many as 85% of this year’s graduating class will move back in with their parents. It’s not hard to understand why. The average American graduate leaves college with an eye watering $27,200 worth of student debt. Couple that with the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ January findings that as many as 50% of Americans under the age of 25 are not working, working part time or are otherwise in a job outside the college labor market, and it’s hardly surprising that we can’t flee the nest just yet.
For all you recent grads who’ve moved your belongings back into your old bedroom, I’ve been there. It’s tough but there are ways of making the experience a whole load easier…
Avoid the Door Slamming
Yep I admit it. When I moved back home I regressed back to an angsty teenage state, constantly teetering on the cusp of a volcanic explosion of expletives. Financially crippled and emotionally battered after constant barrages of rejection, my confidence reached an all-time low and I perfected the art of stomping off and slamming doors. I made my grump of a fourteen year old sister look positively angelic in comparison.
Then one day, at a particularly vulnerable moment, I sat down with my mom and just burst into tears. Academically successful, I’d never had to deal with rejection like this and being outclassed in the job market felt humiliating and painful. Admitting as much to my mom was the best thing I could have done. The door slamming subsided after that. Don’t let pride stand in the way of letting your folks know how you feel.
Yes it is going to be strange suddenly living under someone else’s roof and abiding by their rules. Yes it is going to be weird telling your parents where you’re off to when they’ve been blissfully unaware of your every movement for the past few years. Mentally prepare yourself for a more restricted existence than your college days and it’ll be a lot easier to cope with.
Set Up Agreements (and Stick to Them)
When you move back home, respect is absolutely key. And that respect works both ways. Sit down with your folks and have a frank conversation about rent payments, the amount of time you plan on staying there, your expectations and their expectations. Schedule into your week time for job searches and stick to it. If you honour your agreements, your parents will feel confident that you’ve got a handle on your situation and aren’t living the life of Riley courtesy of the Bank of Mom and Dad. Always remember the mantra- parental confidence in you and nagging are inversely proportional.
Surprise Your Folks
As much as you’d like to think your parents love having you around, the smiles on their beaming faces definitely start to fade once they’ve seen the water bill rocket and they realise they’ve got another contender for the TV remote to deal with. Soften the blow by going the extra mile. Make dinner when your mom least expects you to, fix that bike that’s been lying around for ages, paint that fence that’s been neglected for a while. Surpass their expectations and stay firmly in the good books. Trust me- put a lid on the rebellious kid. Their badgering will subside, making your life (and theirs) so much easier.
Have you moved back home with your parents after graduating? How is it going? Or are you a parent with a ‘boomerang kid’? What are your tips for keeping both parties sane?