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Joining the Family Business or Working for a Friend

Accepting a job offer from a friend or family member is a difficult decision for some and an exciting opportunity for others. If you are lucky enough to be helped out of unemployment by a business-owning friend or a family business, being grateful is undoubtedly in order. Still, there are some rules to abide by and ideas to contemplate before getting professionally involved with people from your personal life.

Be Sure You Want Their Business

If you didn’t ask for a position in your family or friend’s business, carefully consider whether or not you want to work for this person and their particular business. Do you have the skills and education to successfully take on the position that has been extended to you? Is their business the kind that you would be interested in under normal circumstances and apply to? Don’t feel pressured, either by your lack of employment or by your friend or family member, to accept an offer you don’t really want. A polite, gracious refusal will be best for you both, if this is the case.

Remember Your Roles of Employer and Employee

Upon accepting a job offer, make sure that your friend or family member puts you through the process towards your position the same as any employee. If you are interviewed, it is sure to be the most relaxed interview you’ve ever gone to; unless there is a second interviewer present, in which case you will need to prove yourself to them and show them what it is you have to offer to the business (surely, your friend or family member has put in some good words for you, so this should be a relatively easy task). Ensure that all of your paperwork is signed and that the necessary background information is on file as well. If anything were to go awry, you want to have the same rights as other employees, so safeguard yourself from the start.

Have a Clear Job Description

Many jobs now offer a job description statement on paper. When dealing with friends and family businesses it’s easy for all parties involved to overlook the importance of contracts and paperwork and some are simply uncomfortable with discussing expectations in detail. However, you should know what is expected of you so that you aren’t taken advantage of – purposely or without intent to do so – by friends or family members who assume that you will do more for less simply because of your personal relationship with one another.

A Job is a Job

Speaking of taking advantage, it is just as easy for someone who is employed by a family business or a friend to forget that a job is a job. Whether you mean to or not, you may find yourself acting out in ways you wouldn’t normally. Don’t expect your friend or family member to be anything more than your employer when it comes to their business and your position in it. They may be more flexible and understanding, but don’t expect to be treated differently from other employees. Be punctual, professional in the presence of others, and do your job!

Working for a friend or family business can be fun and beneficial when you play by the rules. Remember the worst thing that could happen isn’t the loss of your job, but the loss of a meaningful personal relationship.

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