Millennials, Your Boss Should Not Call Your Mommy To Talk About Your Job

Millennials, Your Boss Should Not Call Your Mommy To Talk About Your Job

When we were young people, we would have blanched at the thought of our potential boss calling our parents about our potential job, though it is tough to imagine the CEO of Starbuck would have called Mom about our barista gig. But this is now a thing bosses do, and thing millennials like. We are dismayed and confused and old.

In an interview last fall with Fortune magazine, PepsiCo CEO Indra Nooyi revealed that she often writes letters to her direct reports’ parents to thank them for “the gift” of their children. Some of those parents even write back. Nooyi said her gesture has opened up new and intimate lines of communication not only with the parents, but also with her top employees.

Christ almighty, the last thing we would have wanted fresh out of college is our boss having “new and intimate” lines of communication with our parents about anything, really, because that line of communication would mostly have been “your child perpetually comes to his/her dead end job hung over and surly” and that does not really sound like a good talk.

We were hoping this was an isolated incident and PepsiCo just had a really weird boss and really helicopter-mommy employees, but this thing is spreading.

Recently, LinkedIn gained international attention when it sponsored a bring-your-parents-to-work day. More than two dozen companies in 14 countries participated last November, allowing employees to show their parents exactly what they were up to. Some companies, like Google, have been offering employees chances to expose their parents to their work lives for years.

These companies recognize that Millennials, and the generations that follow them, have a different perspective on their careers and the role their parents play. They also realize they can make powerful, personal connections with their employees when they encourage parents to be proud of their kids’ accomplishments.

There are so many things wrong with this we do not even know where to begin. First, fuck you you fucking fucks for getting jobs out of college good enough to talk to your parents about. Our parents were not particularly interested in the travails of our data practices temp job, and nor were we. Next, what kind of twentysomething craves parental approval enough to have them come to the office? We craved parental disengagement because of our burgeoning drug habit and our dead end jobs. Finally, what kind of helicopter mommy or daddy actually needs to come to their child’s job and have a looksee or, worse still, be a part of the hiring process of precious little Ashleeee or Jayyddden??

Nooyi also admitted that she has called the parents of potential hires, urging them to convince their children to accept a job with PepsiCo. She recalled trying to recruit a high-potential candidate who had an offer from another company. In order to gain some leverage, Nooyi called the candidate’s mother and explained why her son should take the PepsiCo offer. When he found out the CEO of PepsiCo had called his mom, he took the job.

Millennials, if you are going to yell at us in the comments about how we always bash you — WHICH WE DO, SO SUCK IT — it will only result in more mockery unless you thoroughly repudiate the Take Mom To Work thing, because Jesus.

[Harvard Business Review]

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  • Robert Schillinger

    I am, at long last, at peace with my mortality.

  • Jaime Oria

    D’you suppose Ms. Nooyi ever re-“gifts” ?

  • katydid13

    I am an OLD. Year ago my parents wanted to see a museum right across from my office. Then they wanted to see my office. It was Sunday so I took them in. I was hoping so hard that I didn’t run into anyone because it just would have been WRONG. Having my dad run into a professor at a professional conference was bad enough!!!

  • Deleted

    This post was deleted.

    • mfp

      they already are

  • Hammiepants

    I know a chick who is 40, and she didn’t get a job she was angling after, and HER DAD CALLED TO BAWL THEM OUT. I. WOULD. DIE. After I killed my dad.

  • Lawrence Allen

    As a millenial (albeit a reluctant one), this is the creepiest thing ever. The correct response to “An employer called your mother to try to make you take a job” is not “Wow, I want to work there.” It’s “HOW THE FUCK DID THEY EVEN GET THAT NUMBER? THAT’S SUCH A GROSS BREACH OF PRIVACY. I WILL NEVER WORK FOR YOU EVER.” Also,claiming that a kid is a “gift” you parents give to your employer is pretty fucked up.

    • mtn_philosoph

      Whenever I read about stuff like this I always wonder what the affected people (the offspring) actually feel about the level of parental involvement. I imagine that most of them would love to have it dialed way down (if not immediately turned completely off), if only they could get their parents to comply. It might be OK to have **limited** contact with a son’s or daughter’s employer if the person is a minor, but only a couple of times. Isn’t it a parent’s task to insure that their children are able to take care of themselves without mom and dad’s help?

  • mfp

    i’m an old late-boomer, and will go to my grave with the confidence of knowing that, had the ceo of any company called to enlist either of my parents (gawdrest they souls) to get me to take a job, they would have replied ‘oh yeah…you want my son to work for you?…then fuckin pay him’–and that, my friends, is why they’re still the ‘greatest generation’

  • Wendy Belgard Hanawalt

    I’m with you, all the way. First, Mom and Dad would be killed, and then I would quit that job so fast I wouldn’t have time to throw the dead plant in the wastebasket. What is it they say nowadays? Adulthood begins at 30?

  • chascates

    I blame my parents for my failures any way.

  • Dear Boss: Please don’t call my emergency contacts unless I died in my cubicle. KTHXBAI.

  • Mahousu

    And here I thought it was odd enough when I had parents call me about potential internships for their kids. There at least the kids were still in school.

  • temporarily’tom’

    Is this is like…reverse-helicopterism?

  • Bianca Bradley

    blink. If my boss called my mom, I think I’d take the other job. Wth? This is kinda creepy?

  • I’m writing a book on the harms of helicopter parenting, and this workplace stuff is the current leading edge of the problem. So thanks for writing this piece. I feel prouder and prouder to be GenX – latchkey (pumps fists in air) WOOHOO.

  • napalmgod

    Of course, they’ll still be laid off at the drop of a hat regardless of parental phone calls or pride in the company they work for..

  • galactica_actual

    A CEO calling mumsy about your job interview? What a craptacular trend.For what it’s worth, I’m a milennial. My parents and I don’t really get along. We hardly ever speak, and that’s the way I like it. They don’t know what I do for work, or what I’m in school for. I’m not entirely sure they would even know the actual name of the school I go to if not for Facebook.Naturally, I will now feel the need to casually mention to every interviewer from now until the end of time that both of my parents are dead.

  • mtn_philosoph

    My “Greatest Generation” dad stopped in and had a quick look around the restaurant where I worked as a dishwasher during college, but only because I kept talking the place up to him. He did intervene on my behalf (without my knowledge) with my first employer after graduating high school over some questionable deductions from my first paycheck from my pool attendant job. Probably mostly because I was still a minor, but I was nevertheless mortified. But that was it. My folks were indeed interested in hearing (from me) about my other jobs over they years, which is totally normal. But neither them nor my employers ever had the slightest interest in contacting each other about me. They would have regarded the idea as absurd and quite weird. Contact in either direction would certainly not have reflected well on me.

  • mtn_philosoph

    I really cannot picture my millennial nephews’ Armed Forces commanding officers calling their parents for any reason other than if one of them was grossly late in returning from leave. And if that unlikely event were to ever happen they would call the overdue officer’s spouse first.

  • Jess

    Oooh, someone’s jelly. As a person born on the cusp between Millennial and Gen X, I will admit it would’ve been 100% awesome to get a job with Google when I was 22 years old lol… and then rub it in my mother’s face.

  • Lis

    Ok, in response to you saying find an explanation for take your parent to work day I will say that I have heard one company’s take on bringing parents to work and agreed with it, however the employees of said company were mid teenage lifeguards and the reasoning was that we should always keep the place looking like your mom was going to visit (i.e. clean locker rooms, nice deck space etc)Now as a millenial I have had some crap job experiences including having an issue with pay discrepancy, and though I called my parents and got upset we both knew that them intervening would just make things worse. I can’t really imagine being ok with a boss who acted like this but then I have pretty high professional standards of my bosses.

  • kathleen avery

    Very best way to address this new trend:1) Indra Nooyi’s parents (and those of other execs who have convinced themselves that any part of this is somehow OK) should be contacted by new recruits because they’ll want to know more intimate details about her/their character and to life in general so they can make better informed decisions about where they’ll spend these all important first years of their careers. ?2) GROUPS of employees (so as not to get fired individually) should send thank you notes to her Mommy too.3) The next time an employer sponsors a “bring your parent to work day” (WTF???) employees should arrange to have “surprise guest visits” from the founders’ and top execs’ parents. Added bonus round: Mom & Dad might get to meet that gorgeous MBA on the fast track who will soon be replacing Wife #1. (Sexist, yes. Will revise when: a) there are more female CEOs; and b) they’re doing the same thing.)