From the moment you were born, you were on your career path. Now that you’ve graduated from college and earned your degree, the time has come. Unlike your peers who have a long hard road of online applications and job interviews ahead of them, you already have the perfect position waiting for you. You’ll be joining the family business, of course!
If your parents run a family business, you’re not alone. As the kid of business owners, joining the family biz seems like a no-brainer. After all, not only are jobs scarce in today’s tough economy, but there are also countless advantages to working for your mom and pop. However, no job is perfect – particularly when your boss happens to be the same person who changed your diapers when you were a baby.
Before you accept that job with the family business, you might want to consider these six drawbacks of working for your parents:
Drawback No.1: Lack of Respect
Even if you’re the most qualified person for the job, many of your colleagues, co-workers, and clients will assume you were hired simply because you’re the boss’s daughter or son. When folks believe your achievements are solely the result of nepotism, they won’t treat you with respect. This can create a lot of resentment and hostility within the workplace, which can make things uncomfortable for you and everyone else. Not to mention it can be a huge blow to your self-esteem. (See also: Has Nepotism Ever Worked?)
Drawback No.2: Family Friction
You grew up with your parents and lived under the same roof for years. So it should be no biggie to spend every day with them at the office, right? As many others who have joined their family business will tell you, it’s one thing to live with your mom and dad. It’s an entirely different ball game to work for them. Working for your parents can lead to major conflict. Because you know each other so well, you may have a tendency to make work disagreements personal. Plus, when you have emotional ties to your boss, it’s a lot easier to get your feelings hurt at the office. Not only can these disagreements lead to family problems, but it can also have a negative impact on the entire company.
Drawback No.3: There’s No Escape
Once you decide to join the family business, you may feel trapped. Even if a more promising career opportunity comes along, you may feel obligated to stick with the family business. After all, how could you possibly abandon your parents when they’ve spent so many years teaching you the ins and outs of the family business? If you do decide to accept another job and leave the family biz, your parents could end up resenting you for it. And do you really want to suffer the wrath of Mama’s special brand of guilt for the rest of your days?
Drawback No.4: You’re Emotionally Invested
When times are tough and business is slow, you’ll have to watch your mom or dad struggling to make ends meet and keep the company afloat. This can be emotionally draining for you and somewhat embarrassing for your parents. After all, no parent wants their child to see them in such a weak position. When you work for your parents as opposed to a large corporation, you take the ups and downs much more personally.
Drawback No.5: Your Ideas Are Shot Down
Your parents may have a hard time seeing you as anything other than their “baby boy” or “little girl,” so they may not value your opinion as much as other employees. When you present new ideas at the office, your parents may be more likely to shoot them down or simply ignore you altogether. After all, you’re just their kid. What do you know? This kind of rejection can quickly wear on you and create feelings of resentment.
Drawback No.6: Family Time = Business Time
When you work for your parents, you may begin to feel like all you ever talk about is work. Every time you get together – whether it’s for Thanksgiving dinner or your birthday party – the conversation may always turn to business. This can put a major strain on your family relationships, and you may feel as if you’re losing the more personal connection you once shared with your parents.
The Bottom Line
Obviously, there are quite a few challenges to working for your parents. Not only will outsiders assume you’re not qualified for your job, but Mom will probably embarrass you one day and Dad will infuriate you the next. However, if you keep the lines of communication open and set some clear boundaries from the get-go, you’ll be more likely to survive and even thrive in the family business. Even so, be sure to weigh all the pros and cons before you accept the job. (See also: 5 Benefits of Working for Your Parents.)