This is breaking my one rule which I said I would never do on this blog. When I started this I said to myself that I would never talk about the inner-workings of the family business that I am part of. How we work and how we run our business is a private matter, but after 6 years my patience has run out.
Everyone said to me to that working with your family will be stressful. They said that you’ll get under each others feet and it will affect home life. For the first few years that wasn’t the case. I joined after leaving Sixth Form after one year because I didn’t enjoy it there. I wanted to get into the world of work and start earning money so I can get somewhere in life. I worked with one of our senior reps for about two years until he retired. At that point my brother joined me in the sales arena. The banter is great. I helped train him and immerse himself in the world of selling and the immense amount of product knowledge that is required.
Working with my brother is the easy part. Working with my parents is what is difficult. Nothing in business ever goes 100% correct. The odd mistake occurs from time to time. The good thing is with us, those are put right straight away and the customer is left happy. Behind the scenes however it’s not always that rosey. There are arguments, discussions, clashes of opinion. As you will all know, I do tend to have my opinion on things. This seems to stem from my Dad, as he also has his opinions. Therefore when putting something right which has gone wrong, more recently there has been heated arguments – usually ending in me submitting and giving in.
Arguing with family at work is tough. It’s not like a normal argument at home where you can disappear into another room or go out to avoid the atmosphere. You have to occupy the same office space, trying to pretend to everyone else that everything is fine when clearly it’s not. It’s disheartening. I walked into the office this morning a little tired but quite upbeat. After an issue with a door we were due to fit this Thursday, I was left completely deflated. I can’t help thinking that if my boss wasn’t my Dad, then I wouldn’t have left feeling so negative. It’s frustrating. Clearly I don’t want to feel negative at work, it doesn’t motivate me and it doesn’t motivate the people around me.
The worst thing, is that issues at work are often carried home. Rather than leaving them at the door, the grumpy moods and atmospheres are continued at home. I’m currently 23 years old and still living at home though funds for moving out are amassing quickly as I’m saving as hard as I can to move out. When you work with your family then come home to live with them as well, things get a bit too close and tensions are created quite easily. I try and get out as much as I can, but I think if I had my own place then it might relieve some stress.
There are times when I just really don’t want to do this job. I’m sick of the stress and arguments, caused by both family and customers. As each month comes and goes, I find myself increasingly tired of the general public. Most are inconsiderate, rude, unhelpful and unappreciative of the degree to which we bend our backs to make sure everything goes as perfect as possible for them. When it doesn’t, it doesn’t just cause issues with the job, but with us as a family unit as well.
It’s not bad all the time. There are some very good periods. When me and my brother are pulling in the big contracts and there’s a generally good buzz around the place it’s great. Everyone’s relaxed and things go smoothly.
Question is do I want to carry it on in the future? My parents have said that they wouldn’t want to dump all this stress on me and my brother when it comes to retiring and handing the reigns over to us. But what options do I have? If I don’t carry on I’d have to go work for someone else, something which doesn’t appeal to me. It’s the only industry I’ve ever been in and I don’t fancy learning a new trade. The prospect of a safe job with good money in the future is what is keeping me working. Enjoyment levels are quite low at the minute. Hopefully they’ll pick up soon.