Help Mom of College Grad

<p>Hello Everyone,
This is my very first post on CC. I need advice. My son graduated from PSU in May and has moved back home. </p>

<p>Okay, a little background information...When he started his freshman year at PSU, his father was offered a transfer and we moved to California. The first summer, S1 stayed in Pennsylvania took some classes and worked, but he also had to rent an apartment. In other words, we didn't come out ahead. The second summer, he came home, but since he was only here for a few weeks, he wasn't able to work. The third summer, he again came home and worked an internship at the City Hall (free of course) to meet requirements of his degree. I keep using the word "home", but to S1, California has never really been home. He doesn't know anyone here and has no connection to the area. </p>

<p>He graduated with a degree in Information Systems Technology with a minor in Security Risk Analysis. He has applied for a (large) number of jobs and has had a handful of interviews, but no job offers. An interview came up that required him to be in California, so he made the decision to move here. Once again, no job offer.</p>

<p>I didn't think moving home was a good idea. We live in an area that has an extremely competitive job market (between Los Angeles and San Diego) and the city where we live is very family oriented. He's not outgoing and so hasn't left the house much in the first week except to go to the library, store, etc. (all with me). </p>

<p>About his degree...I always thought it was too general an area. I kept asking him what he was learning specifically and he really never could answer. He would tell me to read the information PSU has posted on the website. He didn't learn programming, he didn't learn how to fix computers, he didn't learn about networks. What the heck did he learn? He did mention doing various projects for companies such as Vanguard while at school. My DH and I paid for his entire education, with the hopes that he would return some of the money to us. Did we just throw that $100,000 (give or take) in the garbage? </p>

<p>He has been applying for jobs in the Help Desk area because he says he likes that part of computers, but since he has very little experience, no luck. Now he is talking about going to law school. I don't know if he really wants to go or if he is saying that to keep us off his back. </p>

<p>I know this is his life and he has to work this all out for himself, but he's upstairs in my house and I don't want him there forever. (remember Will Farrell in The Wedding Crashers?)
I realize that my situation isn't unique that there are thousands of college grads struggling right now, if you parents are out there, please tell me how you are dealing with all this.</p>

<p>Sorry I rambled...Jetersmom50</p>

<p>Welcome to CC! Your feelings and concerns are shared by many here, at least with me!</p>

<p>I don't think the IT even has enough applicants, so consider your son lucky to be in that field (if that's what he wants to do). It's early still to find a job, unless he has been seriously looking for the past 6-9 months.</p>

<p>We live in the NYC area and I'm certain there are plenty of jobs here.</p>

<p>I recall my youngest brother struggled to "find where home was" after college. Like your son, he wasn't settled in mom's new community and felt like an outsider. Eventually he moved in Houston with my brother. His gf soon joined him there and within a few years they were married. That was about 25 years ago. Still incredibly happily married, a successful litigator, and his kids have successfully graduated themselves and found jobs.</p>

<p>I'm sure plenty of jobs will come his way. One of the best places to start may be in his college career center. If he uncertain about what he really wants to do, he might also go there and ask them to evaluate his skills and interests via the Briggs-Myers evaluation and then do the Strong test to see what types of jobs that looks like.</p>

<p>Like you, I also have a new college graduate. He's incredibly anxious socially, so we know not to give him any pressure. (See my past posts about him.) Right now, he has a lowly job in the food business which gets him out of the house everyday for a few hours and makes him interact with others. As I write this, the owner has hired him to do yardwork. Nothing like what he'll end up doing later in life, but we're happy to see little steps.</p>

<p>It's a tough market, but something will turn up.</p>

<p>Thank you for your post Jetersmom. As a parent of a rising HS senior who is interested in pursuing an IST degree, possibly at PSU, I am very surprised at a lack of job opportunities. According to the talk we heard at a PSU session, there is an extremely high placement rate in that major. I also thought there was some programming involved in there somewhere because my son has said that people that he knows that graduated from that program are actually working as programmers and not really in IST. </p>

<p>If it's any consolation, my oldest son graduated this Spring from a small private LAC and has also not been able to find a job. It's a tough job market out there and I hope that it improves soon.</p>

<p>I'm not sure what kind of advice you are looking for. How to encourage your son to find a job?<br>
A lot of young adults are living at home for awhile because they can't afford a place of their own. I can hear the resentment in your post, but you don't say what alternatives your son has. How can he live on his own without a job to support himself?</p>

<p>My advice is to do what limabeans has done and encourage your son to take any job that he can find at this point. Help him look through ads in the paper and on Craigslist and other internet postings. Look at USA Jobs for government positions. Take him to companies in your area and have him submit a resume and fill out an application. Encourage him apply to everything he thinks he is qualified for ( from waiting tables to an entry level IT job) and have him tell everyone he knows that he is looking for work. If he isn't spending five or six hours a day actively looking, he isn't likely to find anything in this market.
And try to be positive and patient, mom. It is tough out there.</p>

<p>
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My DH and I paid for his entire education, with the hopes that he would return some of the money to us. Did we just throw that $100,000 (give or take) in the garbage?

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</p>

<p>This part of the OP caught my eye. NO you did not throw $100K in the garbage. You made the decision to pay for your son's education. I would say hope of "payback" is very premature for a JUST graduated kiddo. </p>

<p>If having him at home is the issue, you need to set some parameters...like how long you will allow him to live there at no cost, what the "rent" will be when you do begin to start charging him, what your household "expectations" are (e.g. we expected our college grad to have a job or at least show evidence of applying....and we meant ANY JOB....not the dream job. Our kid is waiting tables), and any household responsibiities you expect those living at home to do. </p>

<p>I agree with others...it's a tough job market, but it's important for the kiddo to actively be looking and I don't think it's unreasonable for you to see evidence of this if you are allowing him to live there for free.</p>

<p>We will have two kiddos here for a while. They know that the first three months we will not charge them a dime. After that we will charge them for rent, food and utilities...a nominal amount, but they will have to pay. They both understand this.</p>

<p>
[quote]
I kept asking him what he was learning specifically and he really never could answer. He would tell me to read the information PSU has posted on the website. ... He's not outgoing

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I think the problem may be in his interview skills. I think most schools (and PSU should be among them) have some kind of advice/help in interviewing. He should look into that.</p>

<p>
[quote]
I think the problem may be in his interview skills. I think most schools (and PSU should be among them) have some kind of advice/help in interviewing. He should look into that.

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</p>

<p>Well the grad and family are in California and PSU is not around the corner.</p>

<p>I think we need to send internet hugs. And then you need to sit with son and discuss a plan. Discuss the idea of ANY job, of how long before you will expect an amount for rent/food etc. Once her realizes he has to work at SOMETHING, he will likely get motivated to get a job. Once he is working at the grocery store or waiting tables, he will realize he needs to get a real job in his area and he will feel the self-motivation.</p>

<p>If he is serious about law or grad school, time to let him know it is on his dime. He can sign up for student loans. You paid for undergrad, now it is his turn.</p>

<p>If you were closer to PSU, he could still use their resources for boning up on interviewing skills and placement. But that is not going to happen unless he finds a friend to room with and goes back for 2-3 months to focus on getting what he needs to get a job. So, without those resources, he will need to do it himself. And you will need to light the match under him by first having a family conservation, then setting a time line for when he has to start paying expenses to live at home.</p>

<p>
[quote]
I think the problem may be in his interview skills. I think most schools (and PSU should be among them) have some kind of advice/help in interviewing. He should look into that.

[/quote]

I agree with this. The fact that he has had several interviews already is a good sign. Many people are not so lucky in this economy. It also indicates the problem is not likely with his degree, or even his resume, but his ability to convey how what he learned in school can be put to use by the company. Since he can't even explain it to you, then it's no wonder. I also struggled with this myself. My Master's was in MSIS. The problem with my program, at least, was that it was all taught at a 30,000 foot level - analyzing the IT needs of the organization, using IT to tie together different parts of an operation, that sort of stuff. All very conceptual. We did learn some programming, but it was very basic. A lot of jobs are going to be looking for specific skills - do you have experience implementing SAP, can you develop web based applicatios in JAVA, etc. But there are very few undergrad degrees that sufficiently prepare you with these skills, so assuming the interviewer is hiring for the long haul you just have to convince them somehow that you are capable of learning these things, and any new things that come along. </p>

<p>If it's any consolation, my UG degrees were in Physics and EE, and they weren't exactly the "Keys to the Kingdom" either. I still had to work and spend time looking for every job I got.</p>

<p>In the past I would have said to self study for some Microsoft or CISCO certification to go along with the degree, but those tests can be expensive and I'm not sure they have that much value any more.</p>

<p>I also agree with the idea of getting some sort of job somewhere. And after you get that job, you may be able to convince them to let you help on their IT stuff - giving you some experience you can use.</p>

<p>Does PSU have their career information online? Even though you don't live nearby, they can still help.</p>

<p>
[quote]
But there are very few undergrad degrees that sufficiently prepare you with these skills, so assuming the interviewer is hiring for the long haul you just have to convince them somehow that you are capable of learning these things, and any new things that come along.

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<p>This especially seems true with computer science jobs--it's assumed that they'll teach you what weird thing you'll need to know, so the trick is to convince them that you're hardworking and teachable with enough of a foundation to be useful.</p>

<p>I would definitely review every big project that he did in his classes and internships with the idea of being able to talk about them excitedly in a clear and specific manner (even if it isn't related to what the company he's interviewing with is doing). </p>

<p>I'd also sign up with a temp agency to see if he can get some temp work in his area. Once hiring picks up, he can have the inside track on a job. Plus, for now, it gets him some experience, some money in hand and out from under his parents' nose.</p>

<p>One of San Diego's big industries is the defense industry--also in some parts of LA. Big companies with lots of technology--if you live in Orange County, I would definitely branch out and look farther afield. </p>

<p>Also, have a kind tech friend help with mock job interview. Better done by a third person, not mom/dad.</p>

<p>Would NOT go to law school just for something to do...</p>

<p>Agreed with bovintine and ellemenope.</p>

<p>I, too, have been searching like nuts for a job. I have a MA for goodness' sake! :)</p>

<p>I have been fortunate to have a couple of interviews. Still no job offers.</p>

<p>You need to stop focusing on what he "learned" in his major and whether it was worth it. It is true that IT is a practical major and he should probably have been expected to learn some programming. However, as boventine pointed out, it's helpful to review major projects and see what was learned from working on those. We all tend to be proud of our accomplishments and become confident when we talk about them.</p>

<p>Also, what I am extremely surprised at is that most of my discussion didn't even revolve around my coursework. Many of the jobs I've been applying involve a lot of teamwork, interpersonal skills, and public engagement and I've ended up talking about my experience of being involved as a leader in my student organizations. What the employer, I realized, wanted to be sure was that I could actually read, write, and analyze critically and they use the degree as an evidence. But I had to rely on my experience outside of the classroom in order to expand my profile. So your son needs to think about his ENTIRE college experience, not just his classes.</p>

<p>It's hard to be patient as a parent. I can see the ups and downs in my parents as well. Some days, they say that the market's so bad that the least I can do is just keep trying. Other days, they seem like they want to give up and suggest some things I could to fill my time in my community when the summer hiring is over until the next round of hiring. They know that I have a couple friends around here but they all pretty much work and I don't drive. So it's a tough situation here too. Give your son some space and let him talk about his job search (which it seems like he is and that is VERY good!) when he wants to. Right now, you need to realize and be prepared, with the current job market, things are definitely going to take a LOT longer than usual. 3 months used to be the norm. Now it can stretch to 6 months or a year.</p>

<p>And don't let him use grad/law school as an escape. There are thousands of others doing the same thing which only increases competition for admissions.</p>

<p>My niece found PSU very UNhelpful as far as career services, job opportunities etc. She graduated in May with an engineering degree and got nowhere through the Penn State resources. She may actually be about to turn something into a good job, but no thanks to any Penn State resources.</p>

<p>*He graduated with a degree in Information Systems Technology *</p>

<p>Welcome!!!</p>

<p>Yes, California isn't the place to be looking for a job right now.</p>

<p>Is your son willing to relocate to another region of the country for a job? </p>

<p>If not, are you in Northern Cal or Southern Cal?</p>

<p>Sometimes it's "who you know". Do you have any neighbors that work for companies that might hire your child?</p>

<p>Can you tell us what kind of jobs he can do? Is this the same as Management Information Systems?</p>

<p>There are lots of positions in IT, most of them, that don't require any programming skills and most programming jobs aren't in an IT group. A lot of people don't understand the difference between a software development function and IT. </p>

<p>There seem to be plenty of software development opportunities in California and elsewhere but that's not the area your S would be applying. </p>

<p>I suggest a few things - </p>

<ol>
<li><p>Review his resume to make sure it includes all of his relevant job/internship experience in the field, that it has an appropriate intro, and that it's logically laid out. Relevant experience through internships are important (but not absolutely required) for jobs in technical areas.</p></li>
<li><p>Do the mock interviews as the other poster suggested. These should be with someone other than the family. It doesn't really have to be technical or done by a technical person. Some people are bad at interviewing and it's important that they do well. He needs to project himself as someone who's enthusiastic, confident, amiable, will take initiative, etc. Hopefully he'll have some understanding of what value he can bring to a company. If he doesn't, he needs to figure that out and then be able to project in an interview how hiring him will benefit the group and the company. If he doesn't do well here he can work on improving his interviewing skills. </p></li>
<li><p>Check local colleges' websites to see which companies are recruiting there in these types of positions and then apply to those companies. If they're recruiting on a college campus then they're obviously willing to hire new grads. Check UCI, UCLA, UCSD for this info if you can.</p></li>
<li><p>He needs to keep at it with the applications and interviewing since he may not get traction immediately.</p></li>
</ol>

<p>I wanted to add....</p>

<p>Again, it's often "who you know" when it comes to getting your foot in the door for a job.</p>

<p>Network with everyone you know in your new community....church, temple, neighborhood, etc. Find out where the spouses of your co-workers are employed. </p>

<p>Find out where people work. Mention your son's degree. Find out if they can help get him placed in a job.</p>

<p>I think it is waaaay too early for you to have developed the attitude you have. If you are conveying this attitude to him, then you are likely making the stressful and self doubting business of job hunting much worse mentally. 6 month searches are the norm these days. If he needs some spending money signing up with a temp agency is a good idea, as long as he continues an aggressive job hunt so he doesn't get funneled into some lesser job. He can look in SD, LA, OC since he is close enough to easily commute. He should also apply in Bay Area, as it is a one hour flight. But really he should look in other states as well. It would be good if he has friends in PA to stay with for a week or two at at time, as he can do a campaign targeted there and give them a window when he will be available for interviews.</p>

<p>Great interviewing skills and resume are still needed, more than ever. He should make sure he is up to snuff and get help if not. Tech help desk seems reasonable entry job. Send resume to Adobe and all those type places as well as large corporations that will have own tech desks for in house systems.
Computer</a> Support Specialists</p>

<p>Law school is a really bad idea now. The debt is astronomical and the job outlook weak. If anything, he could consider a Master's in his area, but smarter to get a couple years work experience first.</p>

<p>IT is a management track business degree with some technical knowledge and he should look for opportunities with advancement. It is not a computer science degree.</p>

<p>The other thing he could do is go to the community college and fill out his hands on experience with whichever endeavor interests him most, network or programming or help desk. He has the key of a bachelors degree, he can fill it out with some practical skills if he is having problems getting hired. Even if his first job is as a wiring jockey, he would be recognized for his potential and not stay there long. </p>

<p>Has he considered sales jobs? Friends of S3 with general IT entered job market in retail sales and managing repair desk and then were able to move on to more in line with their education. A first job is just that, a first job, not a life time commitment. Some kids keep their search too marrow.</p>

<p>He should figure out which companies have their headquarters in the areas he's willing to live and apply to those as well since many/most of them have IT departments - sometimes very big IT departments. These companies are all types - financial, retail, service, banking, etc. If he limits his apps to technical companies he'd be eliminating the majority of potential employers. There are a lot of company HQs in the LA/OC/SD area and also in the bay area.</p>

<p>OP--If it makes you feel any better, my S is a recent grad with no job--and a liberal arts degree. (Funny, I thought if he had a computer science degree he'd have a job by now, but I see that ain't necessarily so. . .) We also moved while he was in college, so he has no friends here, and we don't have much of a network, either. He doesn't know what to do. He's only applied for one job and no interview. . .He's been here for a month and should have at least signed up with a temp agency by now.
I'm charging him rent. I told him to sell his identity on eBay to raise funds ;)</p>

<p>My niece graduated last year. Took her about 9months to find a low-paying job. She worked temp jobs before that.</p>

<p>You are not alone.</p>