Just a generation ago, young people grew up in their parents homes, then around their early 20’s left for University, College or jobs and never looked back. They stayed in dorms, frat houses and then rented apartments; maybe shared that rent with someone, then were into the housing market themselves and only returned to their parents places for the holidays and infrequent visits. They had of course their own homes that needed maintaining.
Now where these young adults lived often defined the geographic boundaries in which they could feasibly work. If they chose the big cities with transit options they didn’t need the luxury or the expense of owning a vehicle. If they lived in suburban or rural communities, a car was a necessity and how reliable and cost-efficient it was or wasn’t to operate defined the distance they could go to and from work from home.
Now however in this generation, home ownership is less and less an option for many young people. Whereas in the past the young person moving back in with their parents was in some cases viewed as, ‘a poor thing’ or somehow weak, today such a move has become more understandable and as a result acceptable. Living with mom and dad has its pros and cons like anything else, but hopefully the one pro going for anyone returning home is the ability to save more in rental charges than the general housing market would demand.
Buying your first home in large cities is getting harder and harder to do. In Toronto the typical price of a home is now $720,000.00 and new rules that went into effect recently mean a buyer has to have more of a substantial down payment than previously; the two factors combining are keeping many unable to get that first starter home. There’s an impact on mom and dad too in such scenarios as with adult children in the home, they themselves might not be able to put their own homes on the market and downsize.
So what’s this got to do with jobs? For starters, mom and dad might be living in an area that makes sense for them but not so much for the children they now have back living with them. That house in the country or smaller neighbouring town might work for them but not for the person living inside whose work demands they get into the downtown core. Suddenly living at home to save up the money to use as a down payment is going in part to a transit pass and the trip alone is 3 hours round trip. You can imagine how that commute and living with ones parents is impacting on one’s frame of mind.
Looking for work is a rollercoaster of ups and downs, high stress brought on by hopeful expectations and lack of success, then opportunities arising yet again. Although they mean well, you’ve got parents constantly asking how things are progressing, and if they don’t ask, they wonder all the same and you wonder why they aren’t taking an interest and asking – even though you’ve got little positives to share. Sound familiar?
Of course there are perks. There’s the family car you might have access to, more meals prepared or laundry done perhaps. There’s less isolation and you’re less likely to have to foot all the same bills you would if you were out on your own. So you save on utilities such as cable, hydro and water, presumably lower rent, ma and pa might even spring for dinner out and in return you’re expected to be socking whatever money you can away – if you’re working.
If you’re out of work, where’s the money coming from that you’re supposedly saving? That is a problem. So you’re expected to be out on the prowl looking for work, but how mom and dad job searched all those years ago has changed. They might see you cloistered away in the basement on that computer of yours and wonder why you’re not out pounding the pavement and knocking on doors, but that’s not how today’s job market works is it? It’s now about applying on-line, using social media and specifically targeting each and every resume instead of that one-size-fits-all one that was so well-used in the 1980’s.
Oh and if mom or dad are retired or work out of the house? Oh then they’re there all day long and you feel their gaze constantly on you as you stand in your jammies at 10:30 a.m. looking for something in the fridge for 3 minutes ultimately unsuccessful there too. They’re not really watching you like a hawk, but you feel that pressure just the same.
Now some adults living at home get out of the house when job searching just to – well – get out of the house! Maybe a library, maybe a resource centre for the unemployed, maybe even a coffee shop with wi-fi where for a couple of coffees one can sit undisturbed with strangers who could care less what you’re doing on your laptop for a few hours.
Of course it’s tough on parents too, wanting their adult children to be successful not only in finding a job but in being out on their own – which they equate with them finding their happiness. Ultimately that’s what all involved want isn’t it? Happiness. Job searching and living at home with ma and pa; for many folks it’s now the norm.