Entrepreneurship   02/05/18

The Pros and Cons of Working With Family

Amanda Rae

Working with family is something that small business entrepreneurs and their employees have been dealing with since the dawn of time.


One particularly bad example is of two brothers who worked in the agriculture business together. Their names were Cain and Abel and one day they had a disagreement. Instead of handling the dispute in a professional manner, Cain hit Abel on the head with a rock. As a result of this Abel died and Cain was forced to relocate and seek different employment.


Not all instances of families working together have to end in tragedy, though. I know first hand about this subject because I and my two brothers and sister work with my father in his small land surveying business. We five are the entire workforce. Given my unquestionable expertise on the subject, I am well qualified to discuss some of the pros and cons of working with family.


Let’s start with the cons.


Family drama invariably carries over into the workplace. In an office where you aren’t related to your coworkers, you wouldn’t necessarily care if someone had an argument with their boyfriend or girlfriend. When it’s your sibling or child, however, it’s our natural inclination to want to know all the details.


Another problem is that arguments can escalate exponentially if you aren’t careful. (See Cain and Abel). You can’t let that happen, keep it professional in the office.


The employee to employer relationship is more complicated when the parties are children and their parents. A boss shouldn’t have to deal with his workers always questioning and arguing with his directions. Unfortunately, probably as a residual of their teenage years, there is nothing children love to do more than question and argue with their parents.


Now let’s move on to the pros.


One of the initial benefits of going to work with your family is you know exactly what you’re getting into. Unlike a regular business setup, where the owner and his employees have to slowly learn each other’s strengths and weaknesses, you already know everything about one another.


Job security is a plus. Getting fired is often harder work than just doing your job.


Making family memories while working is an experience worth having. Instead of being stuck at your 9 to 5 thinking about getting home to your family they are there with you.


The pursuit of happiness is a right that shouldn’t be neglected, and speaking from personal experience I can say that I have experienced very genuine happiness while working with my family.


Working with family can have some negatives. If, however, you can find a balance between professionalism and fun the positives can be overwhelming.