Q. I finished my internship this month and haven’t found another job and my rent is due next week. I can’t afford to live with my current roommates, but I don’t really want to move back to my parents’ house. Since I’m an only child they say it’s fine, but I know they didn’t think they would be supporting me at the age of 24. How do I move home with “honor?” -ML
A. Count yourself lucky that your parents are welcoming you back after being empty nesters for the past five or six years. Importantly, you’re not alone in this predicament. More than half of college graduates move home for varying periods of time and 39% of adults between 18 and 34 say they live with parents or have done so for a period of time.
Rather than feeling guilty about your move home, propose to your parents the terms of your return. If possible, offer to pay rent. If you have no cash flow from a part-time job, let your parents know you’ll “pay” rent through household chores that you’ll do in return for the roof over your head. And, importantly, do those chores. It’s amazing how parents will appreciate the little things such as loading and unloading the dishwasher, carrying out the trash and other routine household chores. When you can afford to do so, surprise them by preparing dinner–and clean up afterwards.
Most parents enjoy having their adult children return home for short periods of time, especially if they are tidy, quiet and non-combative. Finally, don’t hang around the house. Go out as much as possible, even if it is just to the library to explore job postings on the Internet. Even though you’re an adult, be sure to let your parents know your general whereabouts since they will worry when you’re not at home–just as they did when you were a teenager. The most important thing you can do is to demonstrate that you’re seriously looking for a job, and let them know how you’re approaching your search. Good luck.