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The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly of Working With Family

Family is the first socializing factor in anyone’s life. They feed you, support you and clean you until you can do it on your own. They have a much more intimate knowledge of you as a person and have insight into your personality from childhood to adulthood. Of course they use that information to give you expertly crafted guilt trips, drive you up the wall and nag you about things you know you’re doing wrong in your life. What better environment to deal with that than in a high paced, high stressed environment like a restaurant kitchen? How about an asylum? At least there they have happy pills.

#1 Inside voice

If you have visited your favorite mom and pop pizza, pasta or hamburger joint, chances are you already know that a family that works together yells at each other. It’s usually argumentative, loud and not in English. Not even non-family-members are immune as they become part of the family the moment they tie on that white apron or put on that not-so-tasteful polo shirt.

#2 Insults are weird, because of love?

The insults that are thrown around in a family owned business would make an elementary school teacher say: “That’s all you got?” Usually there’s a grandma, aunt or someone of respect hanging around so expletives such as ‘you short f*&%’ get censored into something benign like: ‘you short flaker!’ Not that grandma likes that but she can tolerate it. Also insults don’t get super personal because even though everyone is pissed-off and stressed-out you ultimately love them, well like family.


#3 Injuries are much more dramatic

If you get injured in a family owned restaurant it’s going to be a little more like a Mexican Soap-Opera and little less like E.R. There’s bound to a relative that is going to lose their mind and dramatically run around like a chicken without a head while screaming call the ambulance. There is also the relative that is going to tell you: “It’s just a scratch just go to the hospital after your shift, what are you a pansy?”

#4 You can scream, yell, insult them but they’re still family

During the week everybody’s at each other’s throats. Come the weekend though they get together hang out and have a good time like nothing happened. Sometimes it even happens the same day.

#5 You’ll do everything

If you work for family you can expect to do everything. Because for family work isn’t just a thing that makes you money, it’s also a character building exercise. So avoid wearing a suit to work, your sleeves are going to get dirty when you take out the trash.

#6 Your hours are going to be crazy

There are days when you’ll be working hours you thought wouldn’t be humanly possible and days that you’ll be sent home to relax because it’s slow. You’ll be able to leave for a little if you have important things to do and asked to go early in the morning for various reasons. Don’t expect much stability or even predictability when working for family, but don’t complain either because they can be crazy flexible.

Have you worked with family? Was your experience good bad or surreal? Let us know in the comment section below.