‘Millennials in Wonderland’
By Wendy and Ken Schuman
Friday, Jan. 19, 7 p.m.
Watchung Booksellers, 54 Fairfield St.
Book talk and Q&A with authors on “how to help young adults launch their lives and careers.”
By GWEN OREL
Will he ever move out of the house?
Is all that time on the computer leading to anything, or is he just goofing off?
All that money for a degree, and now he’s working at Costco?
Finding a job isn’t just finding a job. It’s stressful at any age.
For millennials, failing to find a job right after college can lead to paralysis and depression.
So say Kenneth and Wendy Schuman, who will lead a Q&A on the subject and their new book “Millennials in Wonderland: Coaching Grads at the Crossroads of Life and Career.”
More than 80 life coaches from the Schumans’ pro bono group Grad Life Choices contributed to the book, which is divided into five sections: “Getting Unstuck,” “Moving Forward,” “Job Search Essentials,” “From Obstacles to Opportunities” and “Coaching Millennials — What We’ve Learned.” Chapter titles include “Grad School or Not?” “First in the Family: Coaching First-Generation College Grads,” “Helping Grads Deal with Student Debt,” Keeping Dreams Alive While Making a Living” and much more.
The authors will discuss their book and lead a Q&A on Friday, Jan. 18, at Watchung Booksellers, along with Amy Alpert, a Short Hills resident.
The book grew out of their life coaching program, which was founded in 2012, when Wendy was laid off as an editor at Beliefnet.com. Her husband, Kenneth, worked as a coach. The couple decided to use their skills to focus on coaching new grads.
The couple were afraid that “we would lose this generation,” Kenneth said. “By the time they got jobs, they would lose their skills, lose their motivation.”
Coaching sessions, which are done remotely, are conducted over the course of 12 weeks.Many of the coaches say they wish there had been coaching available when they graduated, but the field is a relatively new one, Wendy said.
“We were interested in millennials because we have a millennial child,” said Kenneth, who his wife described as a “war baby” while she is a baby boomer. “When we started out there was a lively job market,” he added.
Today, new grads have student debt, and are entering a market that doesn’t necessarily welcome them.
The first challenge for new grads is finding shelter: 53 percent of graduates live at home, Kenneth said.
The book suggests ways that parents can help make the adjustment and come up with an exit plan.
Parents can also help with networking, which is a problem with millennials, Kenneth said: “They are well attuned to their devices, not nearly so much person to person, developing networks, the way that most people get jobs.”
The coaches come from all over the country, and so do the grads. Paid life coaching can cost up to $400 an hour, which few new grads, even middle class grads, can afford. Many in the program are first-generation college graduates, Kenneth said.
“We ask grads to commit to paying this forward,” he said. “We want them to show their gratitude, and help someone else down the line.”