According to research company Twentysomething Inc., up to 65 percent of 2009 college graduates are slated to return home upon graduation. Although not the ideal choice for many young people, it’s a smart option if you don’t have the means to support yourself and your parents are willing to put a roof over your head for a while.
I lived at home for a few months after graduate school and, frankly, I didn’t handle it very well. I spent a lot of time sulking in my childhood bedroom—heart-design wallpaper, prom photos and all—and fell into an “I’m a failure” funk. Eventually, I set up some networking lunches, had a few sessions with a career counselor and landed a job and an apartment on my own.
In retrospect, I wish I had handled the situation a lot better. I wish I’d treated that time as as a positive opportunity rather than a post-college purgatory. If you find yourself in a similar situation, here are some tips—a.k.a. what I wish I had done when I moved back in with mom and dad:
1. Communicate early and often. If you have a good enough relationship to move back home after graduation, you should have a good enough relationship to talk openly with your parent or parents about your expectations for living together again. For instance, discuss up front whether you’ll be expected to come home at a certain time, whether you’ll need to ask permission to have guests over and what you’ll be expected to contribute to the household in money or chores.
2. Use your parents’ financial support wisely. If your parents offer to help you financially, consider asking them for help purchasing items and services that will help your job search or career development. For instance, they might take you shopping for work appropriate clothes, pay for the gas in your car or put you on a family cell phone plan that includes both voice and data for keeping in touch with friends and conducting your job search (check out the Spring Simply Everything Family Plan, which is a great value and also available for individuals).
3. Learn a new skill or two. Why, oh, why did I not learn some cooking tips from my mom while I was living at home? If you view your time at home as an opportunity, you’ll take advantage of the skills your parents can teach you—things you probably overlooked when you were a kid. For instance, ask your parents to share their knowledge on home maintenance if you want to own a home someday, work in the garden with your dad or go to yoga with your mom. You might also offer to teach them anything you’ve learned while you were away at school. While she was living at home, my younger sister helped my dad set up his Facebook profile!
Have you moved back in with your parents and made the best of it? Please share!