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Family Business

Here are the questions filed under this category. To read Ken's advice on any item, click on the link "Read Ken's Answer."


One of the owner's teenage sons is going to be working here this summer, so his father had him spend a day on the job with us during his spring break. All I can say is that he was the most condescending, arrogant, know-it-all that I have ever met. Is it worth mentioning this to the owner or just forget about it?
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How do you deal with an employee who says that he can do whatever he wants because he's related to the owner of the company? As his supervisor, I have found his attitude and work to be questionable, but I do not want any problems with the owner who is a fairly volatile guy.
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What are your thoughts about a wife, girlfriend, or significant other taking over and running the office? This is the situation here, and all of us are afraid to say anything to our boss because he is "in love" and lets his significant other do things her way. The atmosphere is very tense, and the working environment is not efficient. This woman has the power to get any of us fired.
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I work in the corporate office of a family business, and the president's teenage son was just hired to help us out during the summer. He is a spoiled and inconsiderate person who keeps his own hours, makes endless personal calls, and boasts that he does not have to work at all. We don't want to insult the president, but we are already at our wit's end. What should we do?
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I am going to fire my brother-in-law. He is in a senior position and is way over his head. We have spoken about the situation often, and there are no viable positions for him here. I am not worried about how he will handle the termination, but I fear that his wife, my sister, will be very upset. How do I deal with her?
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The owner of the company where I work recently hired his daughter as office manager. Granted she has the training and experience to do the job, she is picky, insulting, and never says thanks, but the owner feels she can do no wrong. Are we stuck?
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I asked my sister to consider hiring my daughter. My daughter has outstanding work experience, references, and training. My sister interviewed her and then rejected her, saying another candidate was more qualified. I am very upset, but my sister does not sense any problem. Should I say something?
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There is a new position being created in the insurance agency where I work, and I am the most qualified person to get it. The problem is that the owner's daughter wants it. If I don't get it, I will quit. Is this worth mentioning, or should I just let management make their decision and go from there?
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I have been very patient with my son-in-law, but he is not working out in our business. I don't want to fire him, but it's apparent to just about everyone that he is still around because he is family, and people are getting upset about this. How do I fire my son-in-law and not ruin my relationship with him and my daughter?
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I have worked in a family-owned business for several years. Last year, the firms' president took ill and his son, the vice president, took over. Recently, he began a sexual relationship with one of his direct reports, a woman who separated from her husband because of this affair. She oversees an important department. Because of the lack of professionalism and judgment of these two individuals, productivity has slipped, clients are being lost, and many good employees are thinking about quitting. Should I talk to the president who is healthy today but not involved in the day-to-day business?
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For the past year and a half, I have been building a successful business, and we're doing a lot of hiring right now. The problem is that I have been getting calls, letters, and e-mail from distant family members, all looking for jobs. Is there a way to reject them without creating a family crisis?
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I work in a family business, and, along with several family members, I am in a managerial position. We recently had a discussion about aligning an important part of our business with a company that I do not like. Several people in our industry have told me about negative experiences with that company, and I mentioned this in our last meeting. As usual, my comments were ignored, and, as the youngest family member in the business, I was treated as "the baby." What steps should I take?
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There are two sets of rules in this company. One set is for the owner's son, and the other set is for the rest of us. He comes in late, leaves early, does practically no work, and walks around like he is our boss. I enjoy my work and the people here, but none of us know what to do about this spoiled brat.
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A few months ago, the owner's son was placed in my department. His performance in the beginning was satisfactory, but it has taken a nosedive lately. I want to discipline him, although I am somewhat hesitant because of his family connection. Do you have any suggestions?
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My girlfriend has been working at a family-owned company for over fifteen years, and one of the younger family members cusses and yells, and his verbal abuse has brought my girlfriend to tears countless times. She is scared of him, but management does little but talk. Her retirement is around the corner, but I think she should report this to a labor relations official. What can you tell us?
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I had a healthy disagreement with the owner's son. He is a difficult person who comes in whenever he wants and then issues orders. I told him why something could not be done his way, and he barked at me and I barked back. I'm sure he told his father. Should I say something or let it go? This kid has troubles with just about everyone here.
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I have worked here for three years and earned a great parking place. This sounds trivial, but the spot is convenient and my car does not get dented. The owner's son recently joined the company, and now he is taking my spot. I politely informed him, and he didn't listen. I don't want to approach the owner, so what should I do?
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I have been with this company for less than a year, and many people have said that the most important person to please around here is the owner's wife. I had never met her until this weekend, and I don't think she liked me. I can't say why, but I just felt her comments and glances at me were ice cold. What do you think I should do about this?
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The owner's wife just brought in a huge sculpture that she made for the waiting room. We all think it is obnoxious, but we are afraid to say so. Many clients have already made wisecracks about it, but we just smile politely. Should we say something to the owner or just forget about it?
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I hired my brother-in-law for a management position not long ago, and it's apparent already that he is failing. However, I have real concerns about the impact on our family if I terminate him. What do you suggest?
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My older brother runs our family business, and I report to him. We are very different personalities. He is very detail-minded, and I am more of a free spirit. The problem is that he treats me like a child. How do I get him to change?
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The company owner's wife works here in an ill-defined managerial position. She is not trained as a manager, but is a big know-it-all who tells everyone what to do. How do we deal with her?
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One of the employees who report to me is personal friends with the owner of the company and some of his family. My employee brings out this connection at least once a week, and I think she's doing it so that I won't discipline her or ever think of replacing her. How should I handle this?
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I work in a family-owned business, and the president wants me to hire his niece to work in our marketing department. She is unqualified, and I don't want to hire her. What should I do?
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I work in the same department as the owner's son-in-law. He always comes in late, leaves early, and gets very little done. If I worked the way he does, I'd be fired. Is there anything I can do?
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I work in a family business owned by my cousin. He is so concerned about avoiding favoritism that he basically avoids me. Whenever I try to discuss work situations or make a suggestion, he says he cannot get involved because I am family. How can I get him to listen?
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We have a very good employee, and he referred his brother to us. We did our usual screening, and then we hired him. It turns out that he is very different from his brother. His work is sloppy, his attendance is a problem, and he has antagonized several employees. We would like to terminate him, but we do not want to upset or lose his brother. How should we handle this?
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I just joined our family business in a senior position, and I know there are rumors that I got the job because of nepotism. The truth is that when I was younger, I had summer jobs here and I admit I was less than a perfect employee. However, since then I graduated from college, got some experience away from the company, and recently completed my MBA. Nonetheless, I still sense that some employees resent me and I'm wondering how to deal with this.
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I report to the Chief Operating Officer, and I recently met with a salesperson who is his nephew. I thought the sales presentation was poor, and we do not need his products. I wrote a letter informing him of this. He then contacted his uncle who held a meeting with the three of us, and now his uncle wants me to start using his products. I believe this is a mistake. What should I do?
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I work in a relatively small business that is now very, very successful. Iíve worked my way from $8.00/hr + Commission (@28,000/yr) to $20.00/hr + Commission & bonuses(@65,000/yr) in 6 years. I know that Iím the highest paid employee, and that Iím satisfied with my pay. I also know Iím an over achiever and Iíve brought the company from 130th in our industry to the top-dealer in 6 years total. I know for a fact Iíve made huge improvements to this business and I have a great relationship with the majority of the other employees. Although, I am not the ďgeneral managerĒ and have yet to receive an actual title - Iím definitely the coordinator and actually manage the dealership. Now the ownerís daughter has decided to come in more often and try to take on the role as general manager. She has no management experience (other then hiring & firing 10 or so employees within this company). She causes extreme amounts of drama with and extremely flirty attitude with employees, customers, and even local delivery men causing more issues than you could ever imagine. She does not come in at normal hours, maybe 3 to 4 days a week and if sheís there maybe 4 hours sheís paid bills and sent me off to run her personal errands. (Today I picked her up a fountain poured coke, and picked up two rings from the local jeweler) She does not have a real business plan, nor a true job description, or standard order of operations for the employees and their job duties. The rules change on a daily basis. She is extremely demanding and does not like to be shown how to do something, even if it is imperative to the business or a prospective new customer. For instance, this week I was delivering a purchased unit to a new customer out of state when she called and informed me that the salesman were all away and that she needed to know how much the two units we just finished up cost were... I told her the retail figures and she wanted to know actual cost so she could intelligently talk to a potential customer about pricing. I informed her that I knew one unit was completely entered in our dealer management system, but the other was not. I also informed her that I did not know the actual dealer cost of this unit, nor the other unit off the top of my head. I informed her that she could easily look at the cost in our system for the one unit that was entered. She said ď Iím not going through that, that takes entirely too long, this is absolutely ridiculous that we do not have the actual dealer cost written down in the units files!Ē ((Yelling)) I had the phone away from my ear and even the owner could hear every word she was yelling. (He looked confused during this) She kept yelling at me, and I expressed that if she wanted to know the actual dealer cost that there was a very easy 30second procedure she would need to do... she just kept yelling... I told her that we could go over everything tomorrow morning, and she kept yelling, I said we can discuss this tomorrow... she paused for a moment and I heard nothing so I hung up the phone. She immediately called the owner (right next to me) and started yelling at him about the situation and he said ďwe can deal with this tomorrow, no big dealĒ. Just from his looks I only assumed that he understood that she only wanted it her way and that she was not going to it the way everyone else does it. That wasnít the case the next morning... The next morning I was called into her office with her and the owner. I was written up for insubordination because I hung up on her. I spoke my peace that I was not to be yelled at like a dog, and that I was not a child and should not be spoken to in any other fashion. She said that she never raised her voice and that I refused to do what she said. I kept my mouth shut... I never refused anything... I looked at the owner hoping he would be a more logical person because he witnessed the confrontation, but he agreed with her and even to the point saying that I was in the wrong and that was uncalled for. I did sign the paper with a very shaky hand.... I have addressed a multitude of other issues that she has caused to the owner, but it's been no help... it is only getting worse now that she is coming around more often. I also keep a very close eye on the bookkeeping and the profits and loss reports. She has started two new credit cards under the businessí name and she and her husband uses them for personal usage. (Vacations, fuel, hotels, food, clothing, home furnishings) Iím taking thousands and thousands of dollars! This has now put a financial burden on the company and it makes it very hard to buy product to resale if the money is gone. I rely on this for a huge part of my income. Iíve put in for other jobs, and Iíve received a few offers, but nothing close to what Iím making now. I would accept a pay cut for happiness, but I canít accept a 50% cut. Recently, weíve had quite a bit of employee turnover at the dealership and weíve lost a bunch of good people. A retired industrial plant operations director decided to try selling for us, and he said it best on his personal goodbye letter left for myself... ďGet out of here, youíll do great, open your own shop! I canít take the drama and abuse, I donít have to work, but I thought I would enjoy this... boy I was wrong - You canít work under someone who operates their business by the ďseagull management methodsĒ ďComes in every now-and-then, squaks a lot, shits on everything, and then just leaves!Ē I need some advice... I have the knowledge, I have the customer base that I know would follow, my other half is very supporting and is always after me to open my own business.... but I donít have the finances... HELP KEN! P.S. please excuse any and all dramatically errors, run-ons, and incomplete sentences... itís nearly 11pm after a 13hr day that has dragged me down...
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I work in a small office environment. My current boss is related to the part time worker who is her sister-in-law. Her sister-in-law is a part time worker who doesn't have to work holidays or weekends as I and the other full timer have to do. She is supposed to be a "Fill in" when one of us full timers can't make it to work, but the manager will work the hours for her instead, when this is not the company plan. For some reason, the manager is very loyal to this relation she works with, and that is why in the past the former company before the merger kept them apart. It may seem petty, but I am tired of this woman getting away with murder and feeling she can take off at the drop of a hat, while I have to account for every minute. I would think that full timers would get more consideration. Confronting her about the problem has done no good. She gets upset and says we're stressing her out. She hates the idea of being firm and fair with her in-law. Should I go to HR?
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I have worked at a family owned doctors office for eight years.My administrator is one of the doctors sons, and his sister in law has worked in billing and coding forever. I worked as a nurse, until I was asked two years ago if I wanted to transfer over to billing. I did and things were good. I shared an office with sister in law, and we got along fine. Another nurse, whom I considered to be my best friend, was asked if she wanted to transfer as well, about 7 months after I did. There was not enough room in our office for someone else, so she was put in one by our administrators office. I had to find out through the grapevine that she was transferring, & found it strange that she didn't tell me, so I began snooping and found out she was given $4 more an hour than I. I didn't say anything, I just asked for a raise and got it, but during all this, sister in law would talk to me about her, and I admit I talked back for a little while b/c I was angry about her not telling me she was transferring and acting all shady. I started feeling bad, so I stopped fueling the fire when she would come try to talk about her to me. I guess she realized that I wasn't going to trash my friend anymore, and she has now moved into the office with her. When she comes in (at whatever time she feels, cause she's in the family) she never comes by to tell me hello, and unless I go to ask a question or take something to their office neither one of them would ever come and speak to me. She acts fine when I initiate a conversation, but I am being completely ignored, and I don't understand why. And I can't say anything to by boss because that is his sister in law!!! What can I do??
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