Author Topic: Working for a family business  (Read 1680 times)

Wrenchturner

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Working for a family business
« on: August 08, 2019, 03:06:17 PM »
I'm working for a family business currently and I used to think that was a good thing, but I'm starting to get the impression that maybe it's not the best circumstances to be an employee under.   Maybe it's good for customers.

One of my co-workers is married to the owner's daughter and I get the impression he's getting special treatment.  Also, one of the dealership's managers is a son of the owner and not very competent in my experience.

This hasn't affected me much yet but I think it may in the future.  I'll probably reassess my options in the spring for other reasons but I thought I'd ask this here anyway.

What have been your experiences?

Here4theGB

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Re: Working for a family business
« Reply #1 on: August 09, 2019, 08:07:37 AM »
Spent some time at a small family business (less than 15 employees) and it was far and away the worst professional job I've ever had.  The family was completely crazy.  Lasted about 18 months before I just walked out the door.  No notice or anything, just threw my arms up in the air one day when I'd had enough and walked out.

Now working for a company that operates on a global scale with about 5k employees, but it is still owned and operated by the family of the founder.  Extended family (grandson's fourth cousin's sister in law type of stuff) and their friends make up the entire management of the entire organization.  It's straddles the line of being a complete shit show and a clusterfuck.  You have people with little education and experience being the Director of an engineering division for example.  The company has been a big player in it's industry for 50+ plus years and is able to be successful as an organization resting on it's name recognition.  We also have a lot of US based manufacturing capabilities that simply don't exist anymore in this country so we get a lot of business just by default.  As an employee that has zero connection to any of the extended family running the show, it too is not awesome.  Benefits, pay, treatment, etc....  all fall slightly to considerably below what would be considered industry standard.  I'm just waiting to make it to 2 years and I'll be out the door asap.  I've never looked more forward to working for a publicly traded mega corp again.  I left a mega to work for smaller companies to see if it was better.  From my experience, it is infinitely worse.  I'm sure there are great family owned businesses out there to work for, but I tried 2 and came up snake eyes on both.  I won't be trying again to see if the third time is a charm. 

Farmgirl

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Re: Working for a family business
« Reply #2 on: August 09, 2019, 08:22:40 AM »
I've been employed by a family biz for 5+ years.  The owners are very nice, however, all of the top spots in the company are occupied by the owners which represent over 25% of the entire staff.  There is nowhere to go professionally.  Fortunately for me, this is my "last stop" before retirement.  If I were younger and more concerned with career progression, I would have left long ago.  I'm just collecting a paycheck for 21 more weeks. 

Metalcat

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Re: Working for a family business
« Reply #3 on: August 09, 2019, 08:52:51 AM »
Yep, I've generally avoided family-owned businesses unless in a limited fashion.

Aside from the obvious, I've seen several cases where the level of loyalty demanded from the company is totally unreasonable, because they're used to a family-level of dedication, which just isn't normal from employees.

It obviously isn't the case for all family businesses, plenty are perfectly capable of being professional and reasonable employers, but it is a problem I've seen a few times, especially if the owner has only ever worked for their own family and had those types of expectations put on them their entire career. They literally don't know any different.

Sibley

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Re: Working for a family business
« Reply #4 on: August 09, 2019, 08:58:28 AM »
Family businesses are notorious for poor management, nepotism, favoritism, and generally being screwed up places to work. Small businesses without family involvement are also prone to issues due to their small size. Nonprofits and academia have their own stereotypes. While there are exceptions, these stereotypes exist for a reason. If you work in an industry that has a stereotype, it's wise to be aware of it and be ok with it, or be willing to hunt around for the exceptions.

insufFIcientfunds

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Re: Working for a family business
« Reply #5 on: August 09, 2019, 09:11:46 AM »
I worked for my families business. Came from large organization. I show up and was made VP (outranking everyone) and it was pretty much "do whatever the F you want to do time" for the rest of the family, but act like you work your ass off and make sure everyone knows it.

Lasted less than a year and went back to my old job.

Advise: Run.

A Fella from Stella

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Re: Working for a family business
« Reply #6 on: August 09, 2019, 01:03:37 PM »
I worked for my families business. Came from large organization. I show up and was made VP (outranking everyone) and it was pretty much "do whatever the F you want to do time" for the rest of the family, but act like you work your ass off and make sure everyone knows it.

Lasted less than a year and went back to my old job.

Advise: Run.

Do you feel the year of being a VP was good for your CV? I've heard of people volunteering to take on an executive role at a charity (I've heard it said that the lone accountant is the chief financial officer just as the guy making flyers is the chief marketing officer, and the one who filed the original paperwork is the CEO).

Wrenchturner

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Re: Working for a family business
« Reply #7 on: August 09, 2019, 02:02:58 PM »
Family businesses are notorious for poor management, nepotism, favoritism, and generally being screwed up places to work. Small businesses without family involvement are also prone to issues due to their small size. Nonprofits and academia have their own stereotypes. While there are exceptions, these stereotypes exist for a reason. If you work in an industry that has a stereotype, it's wise to be aware of it and be ok with it, or be willing to hunt around for the exceptions.

Exceptions indeed!  This industry is mostly made up of small businesses.

Wrenchturner

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Re: Working for a family business
« Reply #8 on: August 09, 2019, 02:07:50 PM »
Yep, I've generally avoided family-owned businesses unless in a limited fashion.

Aside from the obvious, I've seen several cases where the level of loyalty demanded from the company is totally unreasonable, because they're used to a family-level of dedication, which just isn't normal from employees.

It obviously isn't the case for all family businesses, plenty are perfectly capable of being professional and reasonable employers, but it is a problem I've seen a few times, especially if the owner has only ever worked for their own family and had those types of expectations put on them their entire career. They literally don't know any different.

This really hits home, that's what I was feeling.  Also a general unwillingness to negotiate. 

Well it's good to know my concerns were warranted.  As long as I keep performing above average I think I can keep the wheels on for a while.  My bosses seem pretty tolerant that way.