Survival Guide for Boomerang Grads

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You finally graduated with a BS or BA degree.  And after months of sending out resumes, going on interviews and doing everything short of pounding the streets wearing a “Hire Me” sandwich board, you’ve come to one inescapable conclusion: time to move back in with good old Mom and Dad.


Hey, you’re not alone. Census Bureau stats show boomerang grads are on the rise. The number of men age 25 to 34 living in their parents home rose from 14 percent in 2005 to 19 percent in 2011. For women, the numbers are slightly less--from eight percent to 10 percent. The reason for the sudden rise in boomerangs is simple: Today’s college grads are faced with huge loan debts, higher apartment rents, and stiff competition for jobs. 


So how do you survive being a boomerang grad?  Some tips:

It’s their home—always was. So follow the rules when it comes to laundry, dishes, picking up after yourself. Try to remember the struggles your parents endured, the sacrifices they made to finally buy a home of their own. Keeping a job and supporting you during your rebellious teen years must have been trying for them. 


Pay some bills. You’re saving a ton of money by living under their roof, so offer to pay the water or electric bill. You might even offer to pitch in for the groceries. If you’re moving back in with a single parent, anything you do in this regard will be appreciated. 


Do house or yard chores. The old folks aren’t as spry as they used to be. They’ve got back pains and range-of-motion issues. Offer to help with lawn care, gardening, repairs, or just moving plants and furniture around the house. Offer to paint the fence or house trim. Sweep the leaves or patio every other day. The single parent thing applies here too. 

Don’t commandeer the TV. Chances are, your parents have gotten used to watching a number of programs they really like—“old people” programs. So don’t plop down on the sofa and take over the remote with your youthful sit-coms and dramas. 

Keep it quiet. No load music, TV or video games should emanate from your room. If you come home at 3 a.m. after partying all night, take off your shoes and be quiet as you enter the house to go to bed. 


Leave the thermostat alone. This may seem like a small thing, but it caused a lot of arguments when I returned home for a brief spell. Your parents are more sensitive to cold and heat than you are, so live with the "too hot" or "too cold" thermostat setting they’ve established as “comfortable” for them. 

No wild parties. If your parents decide to go on a much-needed vacation, don’t invite all your college buddies over for a big blast while they’re gone. Opt, instead, to have the parties at your friend’s apartment. If you do have friends over, keep the music down and the drinks to a minimum. And clean up everything after they leave. 

Get out of the house. Leave the house often. Go to the library, just visit with friends at the park, or go for a workout at the gym. Your parents need a break away from you. They’re used to it. 

Keep up the job search. Show your parents that you’re actively looking for a job every day. 

That’s pretty much it. Follow these rules and your stay at home will be less of an intrusion and more of an inclusion while you hunt for work and finally get your own place. 



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