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  • Kristen Herring-Asleson

Working with the boss' kids . . . find opportunities!


Growing up with two entrepreneurs as parents came with special rights and privileges, or so I thought. In fact, as I aged closer to when I could get a job, I thought I was a shoo-in for the business right in our home.


I was partially correct in my thoughts as I was given a job, but never was I treated any differently than the rest of the team my parents had assembled to make it a thriving, successful business.

There were no rights and no privileges in being the boss’ daughter. Not a one! But you know what? I could not be more thankful for being treated in this manner, because the lessons learned were invaluable.


Looking back over several of the jobs I have held, dealing with kids of the owner or boss has occurred multiple times.


Admittedly, when I saw one plopped behind a desk, it caused such a sweeping eyeroll that my eyeball should have gotten stuck in my forehead.


Working with a boss or owner’s child only meant tiptoeing around so as to not appear snotty with them, teach them from the ground up because chances were they had no clue about anything that happened at work, and giving constant praise to someone who didn’t deserve it, only to watch them get credit for something an employee actually did. Not to mention the observation they could come and go as they pleased and take two-hour lunch breaks.


On the flip side, I do know several business owners who did not allow their children to work for them straight out of high school. Those business owners, much like my parents, are the wise ones. One business owner required his child to get a college degree and work elsewhere for five years prior to returning to the family business. And, after five years, she chose not to. She found her passion elsewhere and began a new career.


If you find yourself working with the child of an owner or a boss, it is understandable that there is a little discomfort surrounding the situation. To begin with, not knowing how long they are there for or what their responsibilities truly are and what work will get done, makes for a questionable beginning. For most, it will work out and is a character-builder for sure.


To begin with, fight through the feelings of helplessness and frustration. Perhaps this episode of nepotism will turn out well, but you need to help it get there. For instance, having a meeting to welcome this new team member rather than turning up your nose is a great start! It is good to know their job duties, responsibilities and knowledge of the company. This will only help you be a better leader.


If, down the road, you find out the relative is less than productive, then you need to step it up! Want to know why? It is highly likely the boss has caught on to their child’s laziness and ineptitude yet is unlikely to address it. Now is your chance to do your job well! Show your loyalty, your skills, and your positivity! It will not go unnoticed! Positive changes in your career could stem from this experience, no matter how unpleasant it feels.


Lastly, easier said than done, do not let resentment build. After all, your only repercussion in finding yourself in this situation (which is probably temporary) is to find a new job, and that may be a bit extreme. Immerse yourself in developing this “new” employee, help them succeed, and who knows, you might end up with a promotion, a new assistant or a new coworker who is equally as capable as you (of course, due to you).

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