Before joining the family business, I spent time as a public accountant at an accounting firm. This lasted about two years, as in 1997, the business my father worked for for over twenty years was sold to our family by the previous owner. Overall, this led to my decision to stick with my family and be in business with them.
I realize this isn’t an easy decision for most people, though. There are many worries and trepidations people have about working with their family: will it ruin my familial relationships? Will I get tired of being around my family? Will I let them down? Before you let these fears take over, here are some things to consider about working where your family does.
It’s no secret: the potential for damaged family relationships is a big fear people have about working with their family. And rightfully so; we all remember times when we were a kid and drove our parents up the wall. It’s a hard memory to knock! Things don’t have to be that way, though.
Working with the family (when you’re not five-years-old and have grown into your own person) can actually be a very beneficial thing for certain familial relationships and dynamics. A strong family bond can ensure people feel they can trust each other, which can eliminate a lot of worries people have with independently owned businesses. In this way, a family business can help bring family members together and strengthen the trust between them because of the need for transparency.
In reality, though, working for a family business doesn’t mean you see every member of your family every day in all situations. This makes preparing for other forms of relationships equally as important to your business. The company I work for, Bethlehem Industries, Inc., isn’t a particularly large business, and yet the majority of the people I see on a day-to-day basis aren’t related to me. This makes those relationships just as special and just as paramount. Without workers who aren’t related, your network doesn’t have as many places to branch out.
Of course, there’s much more to family business involvement than just this, but I will tell you this: Bethlehem Industries, Inc. has been in my family for many decades, and I couldn’t be happier to be a part of the operation.