A New Twist to Managing Gen Y: Calls from Mom

When the first wave of Gen Y, also known as Millennials, was born in the early 1980s, “Baby on Board” signs began popping up on minivans. Children were buckled into child-safety seats, fitted with bike helmets, carpooled to numerous after-school activities. These kids, now our newest generation of employees, are confident, achievement-oriented and used to hovering “helicopter” parents keeping tabs on their every move.

Helicopter parents are now crossing the line from being involved with their children’s employment to actually running the show for them. Remember the big-mouth parent at Little League? That was nothing. Parents of Millennials are continuing the intense oversight this generation has been known for all along: challenging poor grades, negotiating with coaches and helping kids register for college. Over-involved parents meddle in college registration and interfere with students’ dealings with professors, administrators and roommates. Students who get frustrated or confused during registration have been known to interrupt their advisers to whip out a cell phone, speed-dial their parents and hand the phone to the adviser, saying, “Here, talk to my mom.”

Now helicopter parents are going to work. Managers are getting phone calls from parents asking them to hire their 20-something kids. Candidates are stalling on job offers to consult with their parents. Parents are calling hiring managers to negotiate pay packages.

A very funny email and video circulating around the Internet parodies these helicopter parents. It features an automated voicemail created in response to parents who demanded that teachers change their children’s failing grades despite an excessive number of absences. Despite confirmation that it’s an urban legend, many managers and teachers apparently aren’t laughing as it hits too close to their work and schools.

Listen and watch for yourself. You’ve got to admit it is funny, even if not true.

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