Monday 7 July 2014

"Can you get my son off the sofa please?"

"I'm sorry ...I don't follow" I replied in a stunned manner.

The woman on the other end of the phone repeated the point slower and louder than the first time.

"I said: can - you - get - my - son - off - the - sofa - please? He graduated recently and went to an interview where he thought he'd done quite well - until he had some feedback that told him he hadn't.  Since then he's just been sitting round mumbling that he'll never get a job. I need you to I help him please!"

As she took a breath I slipped in a question - "is that so he pays his own bills?"

She resumed in the same insistent tone "I don't care who pays the bills... I just want him to stop grumbling and get a job!"

This is an extreme version of a common plea from parents who contact me for help, convinced that their recently graduated offspring are ill-equipped for the job market.  

The other variation of this call is "my Mum / Dad said I should ring you" - in an unconvinced and long-suffering tone which is surely reserved only for 20-somethings who haven't yet escaped the power of their parents to impel them to do something they really don't want to do.  

Fear not though. I win them over pretty quickly when we meet for a coaching session - once they realise that I'm not going to speak to them like a parent. They soon get the hang of the 'sleeves rolled up' and fun nature of my coaching sessions. Of course the fact that I'm just getting them to talk about themselves helps too.

They like me even better when they get their first job and ...maybe glimpse their "grown up" lives ...where they no longer have to do what their parents tell them they should do. So perhaps they realise that their parents MAKING them contact me turned out to be a good idea.

Incidentally, there is a happy ending to the "son and sofa" story.  He turned out to be a lovely lad who joined in enthusiastically as we practised what he'd be asked at interview and who listened intently to my advice. And now... He has his dream job working on multi-million pound performance cars ...and he's vacated the sofa!

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