Children and Family Businesses
I read an interesting article today, which was shared with me by Anita at Family Business Place, about whether it is right that adolescents work within a family business. The article and research was around whether it has a negative or positive effect on the child.
The article was The Impact of Adolescent Work in Family Business on Child-Parent Relationships and Psychological Well-Being (The Practitioner, 2017)* and it really hit home with me as I used to come and work at Matthews during my summer holidays and any other time that I was able to.
Through coming and working at Matthews I really developed a passion for the business, my dad and I used to be at logger heads at home due to me being obstinate and dad being very busy building our family business, however at Matthews we got on great and I loved every minute of working at Matthews. Ever since I can remember I have always wanted to work at Matthews and be a part of the business, even looking at ways in which I could contribute from an early age, my dad always advised me that I should go out into the workplace before he would consider employing me at Matthews so that I had experience of work and had a chance to develop my skillset away from the family business.
I can honestly say that this was the best advice, at University I studied marketing which I loved and wanted to explore further as a career. I did a years work placement during my degree for a small PR agency near home where I learnt a lot and developed my communication and writing skills. After University I worked at another small agency that focussed on events and strategic marketing and I feel this is where I really honed my skillset and they really helped me develop my thought process, thinking outside the box. Although I enjoyed working in both of these agencies my heart was always with Matthews and the day my dad came to me and said that they needed a marketing arm and was I interested I jumped at the chance to join the family business.
I do not feel that I would have had the same drive to join and the passion that I have for Matthews had I not have been involved with the business from a young age. I worked in all departments, from helping making boxes in the warehouse and finishing, working on the bench to hand finish jobs, through to working in the office whether it be filing, ordering paper or covering reception. I got to work with a variety of people whilst getting to know the different areas of the business and how everyone works as a team to get the job done.
My dad has now semi-retired so I don’t have the same working relationship, but we have a great relationship outside of work. As a child you don’t really appreciate the sacrifices your parents make in order to make a business as successful as Matthews, however as an adult you really appreciate it and if it wasn’t for all the efforts and sacrifices of our parents we wouldn’t be where we are today. It is these sacrifices that drives me to want to continue to succeed and develop the business to ensure its legacy continues.
This article is really interesting because it supports the benefits of children being involved in a family business, and I for one can vouch that it does either drive your passion or will make you realise that it’s not for you, as opposed to when you are already working full-time and it’s not as easy to leave.
Matthews will always be my passion and I will encourage my children to come and work within the business but if they ultimately decide it is not for them, then I will support them in whatever career path they choose, just like my parents have done for me.
Whether you’re a family business, or you’re considering entering your family business, this article is worth a read.
*The Practitioner. (2017). The Impact of Adolescent Work in Family Business on Child–Parent Relationships and Psychological Well- Being. [online] Available at: https://ffipractitioner.org/2017/08/30/the-impact-of-adolescent-work-in-family-business-on-child-parent-relationships-and-psychological-well-being/ [Accessed 30 Aug. 2017].