PLACE Designers | Nepotism

Working with friends and family is about as complicated a subject as I can think of.  I sometimes say that if a relationship is too valuable to lose, don’t work together.  (This is similar to the principle that if you like something as a hobby, don’t ruin it by making it your job… but that’s a whole separate blog post.

Needless to say, I have broken both rules, and I am sure many of you out there have as well.  The truth is that many times it can work very well to go into business with family and friends, and sometimes those that you work with become your friends (or family).  The problem is that business can get very stressful at times.  The only thing worse than a business venture going badly is to know it is hurting your close friends and family as well.

I think that working with friends and family can work when both parties do not start comparing their situations.  It can work when they do not report directly to each other.  It does not work when someone begins to feel that they are being taken advantage of.

I sometimes consider a friend or relative for a job if they are reasonably qualified for the current need.  I have the luxury of being able to distance myself a bit by letting others in the firm interview them, and making sure they report to someone else.  I don’t try to hard to force it.  I don’t presume that the job I am offering is the only and best opportunity that my friend or relative may have.  I don’t make promises.  If it is a good fit, then I am willing to give it a try.

Working with your spouse probably only a good idea in the rarest of instances.  I have observed this to be true because at work, one spouse may have to direct the other spouse.  This complicates the relationship.  And that leads to the second reason – people need to have the opportunity to vent about work.  If you want to complain about your boss when you get home (and lets be honest, we all do at times) it is best if that person you are complaining to is not your boss.

The final reason to not work with your spouse is the eggs in one basket thing.  If the business goes through a rough patch, it is best if the spouse can support things.  If you both work at the same place, and perhaps invest there as well, when the business hits a bump it feels like a total crash.

So those are just some friendly warnings I know you will ignore.  I did, and I have really enjoyed working with some of my relatives.  I have seen it go badly too, but so far not for me.

More to come soon.  If you want to get in touch please let me know!  Thanks for reading!

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