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Feel Stuck In Family Business

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This topic contains 29 replies, has 6 voices, and was last updated by avatar Marcie 5 months, 2 weeks ago.

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  • #691063 Reply


    I am in a huge career mistake/conundrum. Last year my dad asked me to join his retail business as a Buyer. I accepted. After a month or so I realized the job is not what I thought.. There is no professionalism, it’s extremely hard to have my father as my boss, and there is nothing challenging about the position. Plus I hate working retail. Customer service is the worst. For 10 years I have been working in the Administrative field and this is completely verged off from what I enjoy doing.

    I dropped the bomb on my Dad last week that I am looking for a new job and just wanted to give him the heads up. He FREAKED out. Said I am making a huge mistake, that I am giving up on my future, that I will fail in any other job, that I am gonna be homeless eventually. He says I have the POTENTIAL to make a lot of money, except this has not happened. I have already been here a year and I have only received a 25 cent raise. My Dad treats me like I am a middle schooler when I work with him.

    The business is also financially suffering. Every month he says we are 20% down and need to cut back on staffing. It worries me that I will end up getting screwed if I stay here. If I am out of the Administrative field for too long I will no longer be a diserable canidate.

    My Dad is being completely unreasonable. All he is basically worried about is if someone will be here to open the store when he can’t. He’s worried he will have to come in earlier and not at his usual afternoon arrival. He’s worried he won’t get his vacations. He’s worried there won’t be a family member to keep the business going. He invested $300,000 of his personal money into the business and is worried he won’t get that back if I leave.

    I hate seeing my Dad upset, but I also hate that he doesn’t care if I am happy with my life or not. He hasn’t been sleeping because of this and blames me for it. I have a interview this week and really want the job, but afraid of what my Dad will do. Help!

    #691065 Reply

    I’m so sorry. I have no specific career advice, but for what it’s worth, it sounds like you’re seeing things pretty clearly. I think you’re absolutely doing the right thing in looking for another job. It’s unfortunate that your father is throwing a tantrum instead of being supportive. Being disappointed that his child is leaving what he hoped would be a family business is understandable. Telling you you’ll be a failure and are destined for homelessness is not.

    Out of curiosity, how well did you do in the 10 yrs you worked as as an admin? You say you enjoyed it. Were you employed steadily? Made a liveable income? Unless you came crawling to your dad destitute and begging for a job, you have to realize his blustering is without merit and he’s just trying to intimidate you into doing what he wants.

    As hard as it is to be the target of his fears and wrath, his emotions are not yours to manage. Nor is it your responsibility to save his business. Continue to treat him politely and professionally, but go ahead and do what’s best for your own career and sanity (which being treated like an insolent child at your place of work is not good for anyone). It’s on your dad to get over it – or not. Even if he chooses to hold a grudge, while it may hurt you, it doesn’t mean you’ve done anything wrong.

    Good luck with your interview!

    #691070 Reply

    Hi Redessa,

    Thank you so much for your response. It helped me calm down a little.

    In the 10 years I worked as Admin I did very well. I have my own apartment and am able to afford my living quit well. When I came here my Dad asked me to join since my Uncle was retiring. I never begged or came crawling for help. It was more like my Dad begging me for help.

    My Dad is worried about what this means for himself. He made a huge financial mistake investing so much of his personal money to keep the store afloat. He is 60 years old and wants to retire eventually, but not for another 5-6 years.

    He was hoping I would carry it on for him so that he would get his investment back. I feel like he wants me to take his mistake on for him.

    A couple days ago he got into a horrible bike accident. He is okay now, but he blamed me for it. Said it’s because he hasn’t been sleeping well and that must be what caused him to crash.

    I feel so controlled and disrespected. I almost feel like running away and never talking to him again. I am 31 years old and I should not be feeling like I am still 13.

    #691071 Reply

    I’m with Redessa; Jessica you are seeing things crystal clear. Trust yourself and do not cave to your father’s manipulations. I’m guessing there’s a story to why your uncle left. Good luck on your interview–put your game face on and nail it.

    #691073 Reply

    Go to the interview. Do your best to get another job. If you’re living at home move out, if not even better. It’s parents jobs to help their children succeed on their own, not to use them to fix their own problems. What would your dad have done if you hadn’t started working for him? He’d have had to find a way to deal with his problems anyway. Even if the business was successful he has no call to assume you’ll simply work for him when you have other better or more preferable options. He should be happy that you are capable of supporting yourself without needing help from him. The fact that the business is apparently doing badly is even more reason to leave. Even if it continues you’re not giving up a gold mine and if it fails you’ll be better able to help your parents with your own separate job supporting yourself. Not that the lac of success of the business should be the main reason to leave, it just makes it more obvious since you don’t mention any valid reason to stay around. If the business really was going to make you a mint then you could balance the value of the money vs the unpleasantness of the job (plenty of people do things they’re miserable at for a big pay day, just ask most – but not all- of the lawyers I know) and decide if you just can’t stand it no matter the pay or if you’d rather be crying all the way to the bank. However, you don’t seem to think there’s any future at this place anyway and reading your post I tend to agree.

    #691074 Reply

    So sorry that your father is loading all his fears and uncertainties onto you! His manipulations seem cruel and self-serving. Best of luck with your interview, and definitely follow through on what is best for you. Being condescended to and being given a measly 25 cent raise isn’t what’s best for you! Actually, he’s the one who sounds like he’s the middle schooler — you caused him to crash his bike? Really?!!

    #691076 Reply

    As someone who has worked with family for a long time i know it can be very difficult. I often got guilted too. It really is in your best interest to move on. You can be good to your family while looking out for yourself. I still help on the side a bit and that eased the financial strain a lot for the family business and kept me sane.

    Your father is behaving cruelty by guilting you and I’m sorry that is the case.

    #691089 Reply

    Do what you need to do. You can’t be held hostage because your dad had made poor business decisions. I’m sure he’ll get over it eventually, and if not, that reflects on him and not you.

    My friend worked for her sister-in-law, and initially the draw was that she’d have a flexible schedule while dealing with some health issues. Well, the lady was super unprofessional, pissed off customers, and had my friend doing stuff that was totally unrelated to her skill set. She eventually left and is in a good job. Sister-in-law was weird at first, but got used to it.

    #691097 Reply

    I guess I don’t understand how you taking over the business means he’ll get his investment back. If his money is tied up in the store when he retires, won’t it still be tied up even if you’re running things? Would he retain ownership and continue receiving a percentage of the profits? Would he expect you buy him out? Why not plan to sell the business (to someone who actually wants to run it) and recoup however much of his investment as he can?

    Of course selling to a stranger means he wouldn’t be able to do some semi-retirement thing where he feels entitled show up and nose around and tell them how to run things like he’d probably try to do to you.

    If the business is in such rough shape that he can’t sell it, or would take a giant loss, then I fail to see how he thinks he’s going to get his money back no matter who takes over.

    And if it goes under before he hits retirement age, he will have done you no favors by insisting you tie yourself to a sinking ship. I mean, it’s possible he’ll turn things around and you’ll have given up your chance to run a thriving business and make tons of money, but it doesn’t sound like the odds are good. And even if that happened, would it be worth spending the next 5-6 yrs like this plus dealing with however much control your dad wants to retain after retirement?

    #691128 Reply

    It sounds like you’ve seen enough of the family business that you’ve made an informed decision that you don’t want to eventually take it over form your father. In that case, there is no benefit to your father or yourself to remain and you should find another job. If I read you wrong and you are just frustrated by how your father treats you in the business, but can see yourself taking over the business, then you should tell your father how you need to be treated and stay long enough to determine if he can change his behavior. Working for family is tough.

    #691134 Reply
    Just Max
    Just Max

    I can so relate to this; the only difference is that I worked for my dad’s family business throughout my teen years (free child labor much?) and through college.
    You are doing the right thing by looking for another job, and moving on.
    Your dad’s behavior is just a manipulating scheme to guilt you into staying. Do not fall for it! Sadly, he’s not worried about you and your future right now. So move on.

    If I were you, and had had the means, I’d just give my two week’s notice and move on, regardless if the next job is lined up or not. The emotional stress sounds like too much.

    #691181 Reply

    Thank you all for your replies. I wish I could just leave, but unfortunately I would need a job lined up. I have a interview in two days for an amazing job. Crossing my fingers I get it.

    It makes me sad how my dad is treating me. I know he has verbally abusive tenancies and that will never change. This is why I made a huge mistake entering the business. I should of known better, but I had dollar signs in my eyes thinking I was gonna be making 80-100 grand a year. Yeah right, I am still making 45 grand a year with no benefits. I almost feel like my Dad likes holding me down and not letting me make more money.

    He treats me like this is my first job and have no skills. So far from it. Never once has he looked at my resume. Every job I have had in the past he had doubted me. Told me I won’t be able to handle the job, that I don’t have the skill sets. I don’t know why he’s like this towards me. 🙁

    Yesterday the manager here said to me, “we are so glad you here. It is very crucial that you are part of the business Jessica.” That brought extreme guilt because I haven’t told him that I am looking for new job yet. It was weird that he said this too. Almost like he senses it. I am afraid once I tell this manager I am leaving he will freak out and say he is leaving too. If he does that than I am really stuck here. I can’t just leave my Dad hanging. I would hate to see him suffer.

    Ughhhhhhhhhh! This is one of the hardest things dealt with.

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