As a business owner, sometimes we dream about having our children follow in our footsteps. Maybe they won’t make a career of working for you but you may hire them for a chapter of their lives. What is your motivation? Is it to teach them the self-worth lesson of work? Get them away from playing video games? Interacting with other responsible adults? Desire to share your abundance and blessings? Ego trip- look how important I am? Help launch them on a career path? You may want them in your firm particularly if your child has been struggling to find her way. Is it about control? Love and recognition of natural talent that is nurtured has the potential to make a difference.
Are they accountable in the same way as other employees? Or do they use their family connection to abuse their work hours commitment? You, as an owner, who woke up at 2am, unable to sleep because of a persistent problem, may take off early or come in later, have earned the right to greater flexibility. Does that automatically accrue to your children because they live (or lived) in your home? How do other employees view the double standard they may witness because of time on or off the job abuses?
I’ve also seen the flip side. An owner sets a higher bar of expectations for children who are employees. They try extra hard to avoid the view of favoritism. You may want to guard against being too tough or too critical of your children.
The issue for me is a moral one. Also, an outward demonstration of leadership or favoritism. I am particularly reminded of Isaac in the Bible. He showed a favoritism to his first-born twin, Esau. Esau went out and hunted for game, especially the kind his father, Isaac, liked. Yet, one day after a long hunt he came back dog tired and very hungry. His brother, Jacob, who was his mother’s favorite, manipulated his brother, Esau, into renouncing his birth right as first-born. That was a big “no-no” in the Hebrew culture more than 1500 years before Christ. Much later the brothers reconciled. It makes for great reading in Genesis, better than many soap operas and TV dramas.
Would there be value in sitting down with your spouse, or significant other, and having a heart to heart conversation about your children? All those questions I asked up front could be a nice guide for sharing truth. As a prep, visit my Fine Art of Listening article before launching on this conversation. Am I helping or hurting my children in their life journey?
Securities and investment advisory services offered through World Equity Group, Inc. member FINRA and SIPC, a Registered Investment Adviser. SMART Group Houston and Ron Schutz-Planning Business Transitions, LLC, are not owned or controlled by World Equity Group, Inc