The Career Doctor™

by Dr. Jacqueline Hornor Plumez

Looking for a first job? Thinking of changing careers? Facing a lay-off? The Career Doctor™ is a Larchmont psychologist specializing in career counseling. If you'd like to ask a question of your own, use our anonymous form, and she might answer you here. Read more about the Career Doctor here. Contact information is here.


Last week I ran the following letter and gave some practical suggestions to help the son’s job search. Because this is such a common problem, this week I’m going explore some psychological reasons why young grads don’t get jobs.

Dear Career Doctor:

My son graduated from college last May and is living at home. He has gone on several interviews, but he hasn’t gotten any offers. He says he is looking for a job, but I don’t see him doing very much except sleeping late, playing on the internet and hanging out with friends. This is driving my wife and me crazy, but we don’t know what to do or how to help him.

Desperate Dad

Dear D.D.:

1. “I need some time off.” He’s had enough. It’s depressing to live the way he’s living, so don’t enable him by supporting his lack of a job search. You will probably want to continue providing room and board and paying for any transportation to job interviews. But consider making him earn his own spending money. By the way, two of the companies that he might apply to for a “spending money job”, Whole Foods and The Container Store, made Fortune’s list of Best Companies to Work for. So, he might end up finding that a career grows out of a part-time job.

2. “I don’t want to start at the bottom.” Too bad. Even top graduates from top colleges often have to take entry level jobs where they do menial work—especially in “hot” fields. The important question to ask on interviews is “What happened to the person I’d be replacing?” You want to hear that they moved up the ladder from any job that requires a lot of menial labor.

3. “I’m afraid I’ll get stuck in a bad job.” This is THE BIGGEST issue I see when I work with unemployed college grads. They are terrified that they will take a job, hate it and never get out of the rut. They don’t realize that most people change jobs many times in their careers, and that any job that gives them skills and experience can be used as a springboard to change employers or fields.

4. “You just don’t understand.” Many people in their twenties don’t want parental advice. They are more receptive to hearing suggestions from a professional like me than a parent, so print out these columns – or even better – get one of your friends to print out the columns -- and give them to your son.

The Career Doctor

The Career Doctor cannot answer every question here, and she does not respond to personal emails. Please use this form to ask your question.

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The Career Doctor™ is Larchmont psychologist and career counselor, Dr. Jacqueline Hornor Plumez.

Her office is at 90 Beechtree Drive in Larchmont, 914-834-1982.