You Can Get Away With Anything Working in a Family’s Business

Dear I Can’t and Don’t Slack:

You work in a restaurant owned by your family. Your coworkers sometimes say you get by because of that. Such talk implies you take advantage, and what isn’t said is that you cheat your family, and that irritates you.  You have a right to feel angry.

Can you stop such thinking? Perhaps not, but you have several options.  You mght not make coworkers wish they hadn’t said that, but there are some ways to respond that will cause them to examine their assumptions and not think that about you. 

Option 1. Ignore such remarks and work normally with your usual dedication to doing a good job. 

Option 2.  Angrily, “Why did you say that?  That kind of talk implies I‘m lazy and would cheat my family. When and where have you seen me slacking? Let me know.”

Option 3. Say, “I understand it is natural for you to think that if you would do that if you were in my place. But I don’t think you really would take advantage if your parents owned your workplace. I don’t think you would think that is fair, nor would you do that if you had parents like mine.”

Option 4. Engage, “ I know you like to work here and want this restaurant to continue to be a success. What things do you see that should be improved or changed? That’s what I try to do every day.”  

Option 5. Challenge, “Let’s you and I propose weekly staff meetings to talk about how our restaurant might be even more effective. We could talk together like a team that has skull sessions on how to play together so that in the next game it would go better. What do you think of this idea?”                 

You might think of other options. Put on your thinking cap. Often we say to ourselves after some conversation is past, “Why didn’t I say that?” Review how you responded the last time someone remarked, “You can do that because you are a member of the family.” Now jot down what you wish you would have said, such as are in options 2, 3  4, 5.

A final thought, imagine you were one of the Ask the Workplace Doctors. For a few minutes, pretend you are answering your own question. What advice would you give if you were a workplace doctor?   

Working together with hands, head and heart takes and makes big WEGOS.