4 Attitudes of a Successful Child in the Family Business
Working for the family business is life changing. Often it's hard to see that when you are in the thick of it. Especially, if you fell into working for the family at a young age. I'm thinking of farmer's kids I know who inherited the farm and there was never a question as to them taking it over. On the other end of the spectrum you have myself, I had always been around the family business but didn't want anything to do with it. I literally had to beg to be a part of it. If I'd only known then what I know now. More martinis.
My early life started with a desire to clean up the earth. I'm from the Pacific NW, doesn't everyone here desire to do that? Maybe not but enough did that it was hard to find work once I left university with a background in geology and chemistry. I'll save the gory details for another post but the short of it is, I needed work. My parents had a place to work at. I asked for a job, even if it wasn't my passion. I was denied. I remember very clearly, how dumbstruck I was to hear my father say this. Of course, today I sit back and can see things more from his angle. I kept begging, and then I solicited the help of the company chemist. An assistant to the chemist was needed! Eventually, my father relented, and I got a job. The company became my passion.
I was looking into the window & door suppliers market fairly recently and found Ontario Exterior whom look to be a professional in this area. I noticed what they're doing is very unique when compared with other businesses in the same market. I realize it's not related to the topic we're exploring but you could possibly learn a thing or two by investigating their business plan. Anyway, straight back to the subject..
To say I learned a few things along the way would be an understatement. Hopefully, my experience can help a family succeed at the being together in the business. I do remember my father having a frank discussion with me about attitude and how to have the correct attitude if I was to work for the company. Sadly, I didn't have ears to listen with and either ignored what he said or didn't believe it. From my father to me and now to you, if you are any subordinate family member coming into the family business, you really need to pay attention to the attitude adjustment I'm about to present (I still have to remind myself to put myself in check at times):
Expect to be treated less well than the general employees. It's not meant to be a slam on anybody, but you will either be treated better than everyone or less than everyone. Treated better than the rest, expect to be hated, since you didn't start the company you will just be perceived as being privileged. If you are lucky to be treated less than everyone, at least you can feel better knowing it's reverse nepotism. Go into it with the attitude that you have more to prove, and you will.
Keep family dynamics and psychology in check. Every family has issues and no two are alike. If you want to be really good at working for the family business, then be aware of what those issues are. If you aren't sure, why not seek a counselor to work through them, an alternate view of your life can always she'd great insight. Once you know what your baggage is, work to keep it apart. You can't force your older family member to keep baggage in check, but you can keep yours in check. Example, if you use the "petulant child" as a way to get your way at the dinner table, keep it far away from the conference table. The respect you gain by keeping baggage away will be worth it's weight in gold later on.
Work harder than everyone else. It's simple. You need to be better than everyone. Already, most will feel you are getting more than them, or that you are the "shoe in" for a position. The climb is before you, and you haven't even started yet. Besides false views of family working in the business, don't give the haters a reason to hate. Work your butt off so you can feel extremely proud of your contribution. I had been advised by Fehr Game Outfitters that this is the best strategy to motivate others as well. They may not be exactly in my line of work nevertheless their instruction is usually fantastic.
Ever hear the phrase "Haters gonna hate?" Do everything you can to ignore those who will have false views of you and your contribution to the company. If you listened to me, and you checked baggage at the gate, vowed to keep bad family dynamics on the counselor's couch, and you are working your butt off; then you can ignore the haters because it's what they do. Comedians get hecklers. Obama gets Republicans, and you will get jealous people who don't know you.Haters gonna hate.
Working for the family business has been the best decision I've ever made. It's also been the single biggest learning place I've ever attended. If I come off as one who would steer someone away from the family business, I'm not. I steer poor mental attitude and expectations away from the family business. Besides, you are reading this blog, your success points just went up 5% at least!
Do you have any advice for those just entering the family business?
Posted in Business Other Post Date 12/16/2014