In theory, working for a family member or friend sounds great. After all, you know their personalities, what they do and what you’re getting yourself into – plus you have a shot at helping their business succeed. What could go wrong?
A lot. Before you accept a job in Central Virginia where you join the ranks of a company owned by someone you know well, keep a few things in mind:
Clearly defining roles and expectations is more important than ever.
When you work for someone you don’t know, you still need goals and expectations. However, when it comes to working for family and friends, this is even more important because there is so much at stake – namely your relationship.
But this can be hard because many times, small businesses are family owned and far more casual about job descriptions and responsibilities. So it might be up to you to insist on this aspect. When you do, your time at the company is far more likely to be productive and successful.
Use what you know.
You know your friend or family member’s personality. It’s unlikely they are going to be any different at work. So if they have a tendency to be sarcastic, a little too direct, let their tempers flare, or uncommunicative, then guess what? They’re probably going to be like that at work, as well.
The advantage for you though is that you already know this information going in and you can use it to help guide you when conflicts do arise.
Brace for conflict.
Speaking of conflict, expect it. Just because you know or are related to the person you are working for, doesn’t mean you are going to be given the VIP treatment or handled with kid gloves.
Don’t cross boundaries.
If your sister is the boss and out of the office, don’t act on her behalf when a decision needs to be made or fire put out, unless she told you directly to do so. If you do, you’ll not only undermine your relationship with her, but you’ll also make a bad impression on your colleagues. Know where the boundaries are and don’t cross them.
Put communication on your priority list.
Communication is important regardless of the work setting. But again, considering there are personal relationships involved, it becomes even more vital when you work for friends or family members.
So communicate when you have an opinion, or you’re upset about something. Don’t keep your mouth shut just because you’re afraid of offending a family member.
Whether you choose to accept a job with a family member or a friend is up to you. But if you do, follow the tips above to keep both your work and personal relationships in tact.
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