PR Niblets

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Eight Tips to Co-exist in the Workplace While Working (and Living) with a Parent

While completing the six-credit balance of my bachelor’s degree in public relations, I am interning with my father and the team at Feintuch Communications. Below are some first-week musings of the delicate balance that is working and living under the same roof as my dad.
Be sure to check back next week for Henry’s tips on working and living with his offspring.

 1. Wake up before your boss. Nothing says “I’m ready for work” quite like being dressed and ready to go before mom or dad has made his or her way out of bed. Check to see if your parent/boss is awake before jumping in the shower. If they’re still snoozing, take a deep breath and relax under the hot water for an extra few minutes. If mom or dad is up and about, you’re probably playing catch up… so catch up, and fast!

A view from Chappaqua train station
2. Home is not the office and the office is not home. Leave the baggage on the train or you’ll be in for a long day (and a short-lived employment). The moment you allow household fights to migrate into the office is the moment your co-workers become uneasy. No matter how angry you are that your father had the nerve to ask you to clean the basement the night before, your co-workers don’t want to hear about it; it’s just uncomfortable. Debrief BEFORE you get home. Reviewing the events of the day and hearing an executive perspective of them can reveal a lot of valuable insight into how to think more strategically and broad. Not only can you learn a ton from picking your boss brain after hours but it can save you from arguing about the happenings of the day later on. 

3. Remove yourself from conversations about “the boss.” No matter how much you want to be “one of the guys,” you’re not. You may be a member of the team but you’re still the boss’ kid. 

Alex's ankle circa 2012
4. Don’t force the boss’ hand. Would your father understand that you should really get that swollen ankle checked out ASAP? Absolutely. Would your boss? Maybe not. Don’t make mom or dad pick between wearing the boss hat or the parent hat. Sympathy for your health may very well win out, but is it worth projecting to the entire office that your priority is not getting work done and being an equal member of the team? Doubtful. 

5. No complaining to your non-boss parent about the boss! That’s between the two of you and dragging other family members in the middle benefits no one. Balancing the relationship is difficult enough without another family member weighing in.

6. Be honest and realistic about how things are going. No job in the world is worth poisoning the relationship with your mom or dad. If either one of you has concerns, hash it out as quickly as possible (in private). Don’t sweep the issues under the rug because they’re not going anywhere. If the business relationship is truly not working out then drop it before the damage bleeds into the personal relationship. 

7. Keep an open mind. *This applies to all employee/boss relations* While you may not care for your parents’ opinion on what color slacks to put on in the morning, there’s likely good reason why your mother or father has made it to where they are. Take advantage of the resource and learn as much as you possibly can. 

Pictured: Henry (dad) and Alex (author and son)
8. Lastly, embrace it. If your mother or father has provided the opportunity for you to accelerate your career then you've got a real leg up. Be gracious and thankful for the opportunity and do everything you possibly can to prove to everyone that you deserve the position regardless of your last name. 

What tips would you give to your son or daughter if they came to work for you? Let us know in the comments section below.