Confessions Of A (Quasi) Boomerang Kid

I have to admit that this kind of makes me laugh.   Boomers are sitting around wondering why it’s taking so long for their kids to fly the coop.  http://www.nytimes.com/2010/08/22/magazine/22Adulthood-t.html?_r=1 Now that I’m an adult, I can see both sides of the coin, but the kid in me has no problem figuring out why “boomerang kids” return home after school. The reason is pretty simple:  It’s literally because they have to.

They’ve just dropped thirty, fifty, a hundred grand on student loans, can barely afford the eight- or ten-year-old piece of crap they’re still making the smallest payments they can on each month, and they are having a harder time than nearly any other generation finding a good job.  Actually, it isn’t only trying to find a good job that’s difficult; for many students who got into a prestigious school but didn’t get enough financial aide to finish, or students who changed majors, or students who just partied too much, the credit cards are quickly doing them in.  Many students have come out into the real world into a place that was different than when they went in.  Now, if you don’t have decent credit (or if you have a mountain of credit debt from school, as my wife does, thanks to a shortage on her financial aide), your likelihood of getting a liveable-wage job drops dramatically.

And this isn’t to say that good jobs aren’t out there; they are (beginning to be).  The problem is that employers want people with experience, and there are currently plenty of those people–so a brad-new college grad is thrown out of that ring immediately.  What’s left, then?  These new grads are at that point relegated to either trying to get one of the remedial jobs they had to get through school (which they won’t get because those employers know how over-qualified they are and will leave the first chance they get to start their career), or they’re stuck accepting some kind of internship that pays below the poverty line for no other reason than to get their foot in the door of their field.  So, what else can they do? Well, the obvious choice for someone in this position is return home and grind it out until you can launch your career.  If you don’t have that option, you’ll likely suck it up and rent out a house with five or six other people just to cheapen the rent.  A large problem here is that, even in times of despair, a credit card still provides that instant gratification, and now we’re seeing twenty-five-year-olds filing for bankruptcy.  And even if we do have good or great credit, we’ve learned now from the last few years that even if we could pre-qualify for a half-million dollar home, there’s no reason to try and get one because we can’t even afford Christmas presents or wedding gifts for the people we love.

Let’s face it, it’s really hard to get out of Mom and Dad’s place anymore.  Without any real traction (read: contacts) in our career field, many of us simply have nowhere else to turn.  We’re trying, believe us.  We’re no more thrilled about living at home at twenty-five than you are, and we cannot wait to go from this to this !

Do any of you out there have a boomerang kid, or have had to BE one at an age you never thought would happen?  Tell us your tale.  And what if you never had to return home?  Was it by luck, or design?  How did you avoid it, and what tips could you give current college students?  The juniors and seniors in particular will appreciate your wisdom!

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