There is hardly a member of my immediate family I have not done business with. I started working for my mother as a child. Her business was a printing and copying company. She was opening a new shop in Lubbock, Texas and I was employed as a leaflet distributor, passing out information about the services provided to flatlanders. That was the first time, but not the last.
Each leaflet I handed out had a value to it. Each one that came into the store increased my pay. I am sure part of the reason I was given this job was to keep me out from underfoot. Additionally it was something that needed to be done, and one thing a printshop has in abundance is paper and ink. More fliers could be xeroxed as needed. It was not work that appealed to me. I was not inherently suited to it. While I always could talk to anyone if there was something interesting on offer, I didn’t think the new store was all that interesting. I grew up in them. They were as common place to me as bologna & cheese sandwiches.
I passed the first 100 or so out with something like enthusiasm. But the task soon lost its appeal. I continued to try to pass them out but my dwindling enthusiasm led to fewer people taking the papers as I was no longer a cute toe headed little girl, but rather a churlish child. I wasn’t supposed to come back to the store until I had given away all the information pages to potential clients. I had to have empty hands. Eventually I had had enough. I wanted to go back into the air conditioned shop instead of walking from building to building passing out “stupid paper.” A grand plan came to me: put a stack in the elevator of one of the office buildings, substantially reducing my pile. Then I passed out what was left and went back to the shop with a bit of a spring in my step.
I collected my pay and went on my way. I am sure you know what happened next. Someone came into the shop with the pile I had left in the elevator. I don’t remember my mother being angry. I just remember that I had to pay back double what I had received and pass out another stack the next day.
As a mother, I am sure Mom was more than a bit miffed at me. No one can frustrate a parent more than their child willfully circumventing the rules. However in that situation she wasn’t in the role of parent. She was my boss and she treated me as she would a different child doing piece work. I wasn’t treated better or worse because of my relationship to the boss. That is key to working with your family. They shouldn’t get special treatment or be held to twice as high a standard. If you want to work with family, this is one of the big rocks on the road to doing it well. To quote Home Depot, you can do it, we can help. Schedule a 30 minute breakthrough session today.
(blog image is from The Flyer Guys Marketing, Ft. Lauderdale, FL)