I received a call last week that went like this:
Caller: “Hi, are you the person I would speak to about internships?”
Caller: “Great, my son is senior at xxx high school and he is looking for an internship at your company.”
Me: “I am going to share with you two things that I hope you will find helpful. First, unfortunately I do not have any internships available. Second, your son should be making these calls.”
She was offended. Oh well.
As a mom, I certainly understand the impulse to intervene and ask your child’s employer questions that he or she may not know to ask or feel comfortable asking. However, if your child is old enough to apply for a job, go on an interview and get hired, he or she can and should handle all issues related to the job.
I am not saying you should not help, but I am saying you should not take over. For example, when each of my daughters began their first job after college each came to me with the “tower of terror” insurance paperwork and said, “Here, can you fill it out for me?”
In this case I was not only mom but the "HR Lady" as well; how could I say no? I did. Believe me; it would have been much easier for me to fill everything out. Instead, I went over the papers with them, answered questions and had them fill everything out. Now, when they receive information from human resources, they read it over and come to me only if they have questions.
See? Step back and presto, instant adult.
About a year ago I received a call from a woman who began, “Hello, I am xxxxx’s mother, I am also his lawyer.” To which I responded, “Well, as his lawyer you are aware that I cannot speak with you because you are not the employee.” She told me that she needed to speak to me because her son did not understand some paperwork he received. I told her to have her son call me--go figure!
My cousin, Paula Ciccimarra, is a fellow HR professional. She works at Answer Human Assets in Manhattan and shares similar stories. A few years back she placed a young man in a part-time job with a company where his father was also employed. No only did the father call her several times regarding benefits but he also tried to negotiate a better salary. Did he think his son was a rock star and he was his agent?
Once your child enters the workforce, he or she has crossed over to adulthood. Please do not call your child’s boss or human resources on their behalf. It is hard for us to hear you with the propellers whirling around.