The term “Boomerang Generation” became a phenomenon when suddenly Gen Yers (those of us under 30 or so) found ourselves either graduated with all job prospects evaporated into thin air, or laid off after the Dow Jones and TSX took a long walk off a short cliff.
In 2008, I found myself in this position, my once dream job in a dream industry gone, and I was scooted out the door with a modest severance package and some free career counselling sessions (thanks old job!). Luckily, I have a fairly specialized expertise (one of the best investments in your education you can make) and was back on my feet at an even better job in a month.
However, some of my dear friends weren’t so lucky, and went upwards of months–a year, even more–before finding another job in their field. In fact, some friends dropped out of the traditional workforce altogether after they had turned over every single rock looking for something to do 9-to-5.
And the longer it took to find a job, the more they contemplated what it was they really wanted to do, and what they needed to do to get there. Well, building your own business, going back to grad school, re-branding yourself in a different field all take time, and money. So, to move forward there, they needed to go back home. As in, move back in with the parents.
While I’m gainfully employed, and have been since that layoff, I saw how having no emergency savings could destroy a person’s finances and as such, I decided to move back in with Mom. I gave myself a year: a year to accumulate an emergency fund outside of my down payment fund, to make sure that if the rug happens to be pulled from under my feet, then I can move forward without having to rely on credit cards, lines of credits or lean on my partnership to get through the rough patch.
As for my friends, the ones lucky enough to have parents who live within commuting distance of a major city, well a surprising number of them have taken up their generous parents’ offers of coming back home for a while. After all, things sure have changed a whole bunch since their first working days, haven’t they? Gone seem to be the days of putting in your time, getting that gold watch and fat pension. We now live in an age of constant self-reinvention, temporary contracts and economic instability, and a little bit of pain now (sorry parents, you’re not really a pain, it’s just a figure of speech, I promise!), goes a long way to make sure you can emerge or re-emerge fully prepared for life’s next adventure.
To those of you where moving back in with the folks is a possibility and you’re actually contemplating it, please consider all the inconveniences carefully:
- For a while there, your parents will be waiting up for you as you sneak in the door, heels in hand, at 5am. As a 27 year old, you’re probably okay to sit down and have a frank discussion with them about your independence, and your 24/7 accesses to a cell phone in case of emergencies
- Whatever past issues, and unresolved hurts you felt under their roof WILL come back as if you’d never left home. This is inevitable. You can either tiptoe around whatever elephant is in the room, or confront it head on with the aim of resolving it. Up to you, I’m no Dr. Phil!
- Chores. Oh, you’ll have chores again. You live in THEIR house, remember? And if you’re living there 100% for free, it’d be nice to take on all the chores
- Be respectful if you’re considering bringing over a “special friend” for the night. I’d tend to avoid that all together (shudder).
Remember, this is only supposed to be a temporary situation, keep your goals in mind and make sure you’re achieving them by staying motivated and on top of your projects. You don’t want to have sacrificed a year of swinging bachelorhood, only to have nothing to show for it, or be labelled a “failure to launch,” right?
Say hi to mom and dad for me!
Written by Melissa Allen