Why Joining the Family Business is a Bad Idea

Why Joining the Family Business is a Bad Idea

The job hunt can be particularly challenging, especially as a new graduate in a market full of experienced, powerful and ‘connected’ professionals. For some, joining the family business is something they have always craved, whilst for others, it is the easy way out of a long and stressful job hunt.

If you are joining your family’s business because you are fed up trying to compete against the competition for your dream job, then look out. Whilst you may believe you are doing yourself a favour, in the long run, you are in for a nasty surprise. When you put it into perspective, you have just spent several years getting a degree in something you enjoy, and then you throw all your hard work and effort down in drain in favour of taking it easy with the family business.

Expecting to get an easy ride? Think again. All profitable family run enterprises are profitable because they have a team of talented employees who work to make sure the company grows. If you expect to simply show up on time but do little work, you will likely cause aggravation amongst the existing loyal workforce, and in extreme cases, could result in many employees threatening to leave.

Get on well with your parents now? It won’t last long in business. Unfortunately, many will tell you that joining the family business caused family rows, anger, resentment, and jealousy that never existed before hand. The pressures of business, the day to day running of a company and the sleepless nights all mount up to create a rather unsettling working environment. Whilst your parents can’t yell at their staff for things going wrong, they can yell at you, after all – you are their child!

Want to be taken seriously? It’s unlikely.  In a family business, the typical ethos is that ‘everyone mucks in’ and this is because it is an advantage of having family members working with each other – no one usually minds ‘mucking in’. However, if you are hoping for a specific job title, exact job description, and to be treated like a typical employee, you will likely be disappointed. You will have to be a master of all trades and yet when being introduced to a client, your job title will still be “meet my son…”

Booking a holiday? Without cover you don’t stand a chance. Unlike other workplaces, if you want to take annual leave from your family business, you will all need to agree cover for one another, and agree on dates that don’t overlap. This is often a cause for stress and arguments. In a normal office environment, it is up to your boss to find cover for you as you are entitled to your annual leave, but when your boss is a family member who wants to go on holiday the same time as you – expect a power struggle on your hands!

Promoted in the family business? If you don’t deserve it, the consequences can be damaging. In some family businesses, promoting a family member over an ‘outsider’ is often the case, but when the family member is not as skilled, talented or experienced as the other employee, this can be a severely damaging move to make. If you have just graduated and are pushed into a top position of authority in your family’s business, you need to think fast and get yourself up to speed with the job requirements.

Want to follow your interests? If they don’t match the families business then good luck! Like with all family run enterprises, your personal interests tend to fall last, after the company and then the other employees. So if you want to have your own interests put first, then you should start up your own business to pursue your interests and create a position from it, rather than follow suit in the family empire.