I graduated from school a few years ago. I have had a lot of trouble finding a permanent job for what I went to school for. In general, my mother gives me a really hard time about it, we've gotten in several fights over it. I've tried to ask her not to talk about the subject but she doesn't listen.

One specific thing that needs to change is she keeps emailing me job postings to apply for. Often they are not a good match for my skillset and almost in a different field. She calls me to ask if I've applied and asks me when I see her in person. She gets really mad and guilt trips me if I haven't. Just to appease her, I spent the past 4 days putting together a job application for a job I don't really want or think would be a good fit. This time takes away from time I could be using to apply for better positions. I tried explaining this to her but she won't accept it. Her background is very different than mine so she doesn't really know when a job is in my field or more of an adjacent field.

How can I get her to stop wasting my time by making me apply to jobs that aren't a good fit?

  • 9
    Has your mother continued to support you during your job hunt? (Financially, or food, or accommodation)
    – Aaron F
    Jan 7, 2020 at 21:37

2 Answers 2


I have relatives who want to help but aren't doing it right, and I am a parent who sends my children things I want them to take action on. Here's what I recommend you do.

First, react promptly to everything she sends you. Give her something positive, such as

Thanks for keeping your eye out for these opportunities for me

Optionally, fine-tune her a little bit. Importantly, don't phrase this as there being anything wrong with what she sent, such as "that is too long a commute" or "that's too theoretical for me" or "they wouldn't take me without a PhD". Phrase it as

if that was [closer, less theoretical, a little laxer on the academic requirements] it would be absolutely perfect.

No matter what she sends, thank the effort, thank the thinking of you, thank her for the lead.

When she tries to follow up, you need to be firm while kind:

Mom, I'm not going to discuss every single job application with you and how it's going and what happens next. I am applying to a lot of jobs. I really hope it works out soon. I'm glad you're on my team with this and I look forward to calling you with great news. This is my process to manage and I am managing it. Being asked to close the loop on specific suggestions or opportunities isn't helping, so please just trust me to run this.

The thing is, your mother cannot make you apply to something by asking you to apply to it. This is, in fact, your process to manage. If you evaluate an opportunity and it's not right for you, that's that. (Unless your parents are supporting you during this job search, which might change things a little. But assuming you're working at some less desirable job to make ends meet, this is your journey and you should drive it.) The only reason for telling your mother you didn't (and won't) apply to something is as part of really emphasizing to her that she's doing it wrong, and trying to make her better at it. I don't think that's a good use of your time. Just thank her, use the lead or don't, and get back to your process.


I had a similar phase with my daughter. When I sent her job openings and sometimes followed up if she considered them, she told me her reason. Just straight up. My reason for sending her the job postings was because I thought she could miss a good opportunity.

Instead of going into a big argument, just tell her what you think about the job. She seems to want to make sure that you are looking and she is doing her job as a mother.

"Thank you, mom, but that job does not apply to me" - should suffice.

I have applied to jobs that asked for way more qualifications than I had, but I applied anyway because I thought I could do it. I also did get hired and did a good job.

Most job postings ask for way more than someone can provide. You can apply anyway. However, if the field is totally a miss, then don't waste your time, especially not your 4 days in gathering a job application package.

I have wasted such time in the past and regret it till this day when there was the economic crisis in 2008. I also accepted a job, although I did not like the employer and her principles, which did not turn out well over time and became very stressful.

That said, my daughter found a job totally irrelevant from her field of study, but relevant to what she liked and she was good at. She worked for the company for about 3 years. She started small and later applied for a general manager position within the company. Once you have your foot through the door, the employer gets to know you better and internal applications are usually given priority. Businesses like hiring recommendations that come from people they know. Yet after 3 years, she decided to change her field of study and is back to school with a field that has greater chances to be hired.

Wishing you good luck. Just don't waste time applying for a job that totally is not for you.

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