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    Has anyone had experience working professionally with family (parents, inlaws, siblings)? What are potential pitfalls? How did you handle them? Any advice?


    I have no experience in this area, but I suppose you have to ask yourself this question…

    If the business relationship turned sour (and potentially nasty), would you still be able to continue your normal family life?

    Once you have the answer to that question (and only you can truly answer it), you’ll have most of your answer. That’s not to say that there aren’t other possible issues, but that’s the biggie IMHO.

    The Wolf


    i do have experience in this area

    many years ago i was asked to do something by a relative

    i decided not to and she went elsewhere

    it turned out to be a disaster

    if i had done it it would have been very painful for both of us each time we saw each other, forever!

    and her immediate family as well.

    in addition i think i would have felt ashamed in front of my whole family even though i knew it wasnt my fault

    this stands out as one of the best decisions i ever made, with the help of Hashem of course


    working with my mother made hard for kibud aim


    There’s a famous yiddish saying… with family essed men kugel…

    If you can avoid it, Do so..

    On the other hand, you have to know who you are dealing with. Sometimes you have a very trustworthy, respectful, erliche family member and you feel it could work out nicely, then you should give it a try.


    I have a friend who is her brother-in-law’s secretary and it is not good…not to say that they fight or anything but it is just better to keep family out of your business life and work out of your personal life. Just like you should not go to work and tell your clients about the fight that you had with your wife last night so too keep, family for out! I know someone that was buying a house but before taking out a mortgage he asked his father (a very chashuve person) if he should use his neighbor’s very successful mortgage company or not. His father said that as long as it’s big enough that it won’t turn personal then you can otherwise forget about it! it’s just a BAD IDEA!



    I think husband and wife are the ones who can most safely work together as one wont likely or is extremely likely to have a yetzer hora to steal from or sabotage the other….

    After that I would say a father and son business could work as long as there are clear boundaries and the son has respect for his father. There have been stories where kids pushed their fathers out of the business nebach…

    Siblings can make it work but its tough, again, boundaries have to be clear, everyone has to understand that “plony” is boss even if he or she may be the youngest sibling. Dont mix family with business. Keep things businesslike and professional thats the bottom line.

    I would say most would agree that its smartest to avoid working with your brother or sister in laws.

    Working for a father in law can be ok but again depends if there are also brother and sister in laws working there and if theres room for complications…

    Just think it through and see if the personalities involved can work together and are mature people who can be professional and not mix family with business.


    When there are no other partners involved, spouses can sometimes work together as well as parents and children. When there are other partners involved it is a disaster waiting to happen! Turn and run as fast as you can.

    If you get involved with family know this, you will be blamed for every misstep because they expect more from you. You will never get the credit you deserve because it is expected of you. If you are looking for a raise you should know that they can’t afford it because after all, you are family. If they need anyone to pitch in or do more, get ready to role up your sleeves because they can’t really ask anyone else, they are NOT family. Are you beginning to see how it goes?

    They might need you, but they really don’t want you there.


    hmmm…thanks everyone! I sort of had the same fears..hence the thread. in my situation, the in law has a business and the son in law is a perfect match in terms of experience and capabilities. they also get along amazingly…so im thinking that it;s better to risk it because it has the potential to become a great family business…what do you think?



    Take it from experience. Even if it’s a great opportunity, a different one will come around.

    Please do it for me and stay out!


    my entire family works in our family business and i said numerous times “there is not enough money in the world that would make me wanna work there” not because of the job but because of the realtionships between my siblings and my father. they can handle it but i like having a father daughter relationship and a sister/brother/sister realtionship and not the boss/worker and coworker relationship. i’m not saying we dont all love eachother because we do and were BH BH a close family but it definatly puts a little starin on us all!!


    Just to play devil’s advocate – I work with my father – we’re both in chinuch and I’ve been working under my father for quite a few years now – and it’s amazing! I have learnt so much from him – in terms of how to handle students, parents, fellow staff etc. I tihnk it depends on the type of relationship you have with the family member you are potentially working with. I have an extremely open relationship with my father – and we have a very strong mutual professional respect for each other. If it works – it’s awesome!


    Moderator-80; This is so true. Working with members of one’s own family is a liability, in 99.9% of the cases. I personally know of a few cases where a Father and Son were in business together and they ended up with an extremely bad relationship. They could not separate their professional life from their personal life. And if they both (family members) work for the same employer, one family member feels that he is being judged by the performance of the other.


    Ive been told not to work with friends/family well I did both at different times and had only good experiences with it. It depends on personalities and ability to take things lightly not to stress over every problem. Based on what you’ve mentioned I would say definitely go for it.


    I work in a family business and the advantage is that all of us workers are so loyal cuz its family. We have some other workers and you cant compare the devotion of family members to outside workers.

    We know who is boss and i let myself be told what to do and am very subservient.


    Poster; By your own admission you point to a potential problem at your place of work. Your personal opinion (and probably of all the other family members) about the difference in the quality of work between you (plural) and the non-family workers. That is a potential for conflict. Because, all employees are supposed to be treated (and thought of) equally. IMHO. If someone works for a Commercial outfit or an institution, you are supposed to do 100% quality work, and likewise be respected by the proprietors and management. If management feels or has evidence that a particular employee is not performing at their best, that employee should be sent away. Personally. I’m 100% loyal to the establishment where I’m employed. And I feel the mutual respect. Were it otherwise, I would not be employed at such place for the long term.


    metrodriver, I have walked into clothing stores countless times, only to see the saleswomen on their cell phones. When I asked a questions or about a diff size I felt like a pest. Believe me, when an owner sees a customer walk into her store she hangs up her phone and tries to make a sale even if it means up and down the steps to the basement three times.

    How many times have u walked into store near closing time and the workers want to get out at closing sharp, even if you have a handfull of items. THEY DONT CARE! They are getting their paycheck regardless.

    Whereas me, in a family business, this past week for example was holiday season and holiday sales. We all worked many hours overtime. We CARE for happy customers. We CARE to make sure that everything is ready and organized for the next day.

    I think you simply cant compare the devotion.


    It can be good, but there are pitfalls. First of all don’t hire someone who is family if you wouldn’t otherwise hire them! And its probably a good idea to not have them be a direct report. Also family members have to do the same work as anyone else. It will kill morale at the company if the boss’s son is a total slacker and everyone else has to work.


    My parents owned a small business and worked together. They each had different areas that they were responsible for and that worked. On the few things that overlapped, there were sometimes arguments. I also worked for them frequently. There were no problems between my parents and me.

    When they retired I was too young to take over the business, and I don’t think I would have been any good at it anyway, so they sold it.


    Run….Run as far away as you can and don’t look back.


    Although you will get many positive examples of family member working together, it doesn’t pay to take the risk.

    For that percent(quite a big percent) that it might not work, just stay away.

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