Does what you teach them about working on a first job in the real world matter?

My husband, Curtis, and I owned an independent auto repair shop for 20 years. We would sometimes hire teenagers to clean up, do special projects, and just generally do whatever tasks needed to be done. We enjoyed mentoring the kids, and we knew that good part-time jobs were hard to find.

Irene Marshall_Tip Call Out - Are you a helicopter parent regarding your child’s first job

One time Curtis hired a young man, explaining what the job would be. He accepted and came to work for a couple of days. Curtis thought things were going well.

Then his MOTHER !!! Called in the morning and said that he was quitting because he did not like the work. He was not coming in that day. It was too cold and too dirty for him.

What did the teenager expect when he accepted his first job? Our shop was always meticulously clean, but it was an auto repair shop.

Curtis blew up at her:

“What are you teaching your child?”

“Why are you calling to say that he is quitting rather than teaching him how to do it properly?”

“Why didn’t you insist that he come to the shop and speak to me personally about resigning?”

“And why didn’t he give proper notice to give us time to hire someone else?”

She did not seem to care that we ran a real business. We had real customers who brought their cars in to be repaired. We depend on our employees to do their jobs every day.

It was such a clear example of the problems a helicopter parent can cause for their child. What lesson was this mother teaching her boy? That he could always count on her to bail him out of a hard situation? She was not doing him any favors.

I am a career coach, and I help people find work they really want to do. If you would like to talk, you can schedule a free consultation.