Real You: Another type of labor day

The other family membersDylan and the Director, Jeff Daniels My youngest son, Dylan, is an actor and he just booked his first professional job out in LA. The reason it's relevant to Labor Day? The show is a Discovery Health series, in its fourth season, called "I Didn't Know I Was Pregnant". Really.

Each episode features two real-life stories of women who didn't know they were having a baby until they went into labor. After having four kids myself, I am astonished by their stories, and apparently, so are all of the viewers who tune in! Dylan's character is the stepson of the woman who didn't know she was pregnant. He had an amazing time shooting both on location in Los Angeles and in the studio. The cast and crew of the production are great.

And what did I learn, aside from the fact that there are a lot of women who are pregnant and don't know it? I learned that the set of a reality television series is a mini-community - a family of sorts that guest actors drop into by day. The crew has a culture and a tempo, just like any other office environment. And I also learned, as a first-time set mom, that there are a lot of rules about my role and responsibilities. It's another setting where I'll need to tap into the Real You process and find my way.

I do know, though, when the director - Jeff Daniels shown in the photo with Dylan - wrapped and told Dylan he did a great job, Dylan's smile made the days worthwhile. He's following his passion for acting, and I am behind him every step of the way. Learning a new job, as "momager", isn't easy, but as with every thing you do for your kids, it's a labor of love whether they were expected or not!

Entering the Business World Knowing Your Passion

This past week I was approached by a graduating college senior, and she had an excellent question.

“While my first choice is to find a job on my own, my family owns a business and they’d love for me to join them. Given the current state of the economy, should I consider joining the family business my best option?”

And after talking with her, I started to realize that is about the time when students are planning to set foot into the “real world” and are unsure about what’s next and which direction they should go. So to answer her question and to try and calm the fears of other students in her position, I say…

Don’t alter your passions. Do you really want to join the family business? Is it part of your passion? Or are you altering your passion for security? Will it make you wake up in the morning excited and ready to take on the world? That said, it is an option, and it’s one to consider temporarily if no alternative rises to the surface. In the meantime, here are a few things to consider when making your decision:

· Are you passionate about your family’s business?

· Is joining the business your dream—or is it your family’s dream?

· Do you have experience in the field, or will you have to learn?

· Will you have equal share in the decision-making, or will that evolve over time?

· Will there be times when you feel awkward because you came on board as a family member?

To all you graduating college seniors, find your passion, build your personal brand and start searching for companies with cultures inline with your passions. That is where you will prosper. And to future employers, start building a culture that will attract our Gen Y workers. They are entering the work force and desire inspiration!

Time to enter the family business?

The question of whether or not to join a family business is a tough one. You have been given an opportunity, that’s for sure, but it is smart to carefully evaluate the situation before you jump in. I recommend asking yourself the following:

  • Are you personally passionate about this business? If you’re not, it may not be right for you.
  • Do you have experience in the field? If not, are you willing to learn, and do you think you have what it takes to be successful?
  • What does the future hold? Will you be an equal decision-maker, and will you be able to grow with the company?
  • And perhaps most important, will joining the family business be at all awkward? You may feel like you have to justify your existence to outsiders down the road. Some folks deal with that better than others.

As you contemplate these points, consider who it is that will be teaching you the business. The answers to your questions will help you decide if joining the family business is the right decision. Good luck!

Family Business: How to succeed!

Going into business with your family can be daunting, but not if you do it right! First, because this is your real brand, make it clear that you are the ultimate decision-maker in the group. Then, make sure each family member is qualified for the job, and define clear roles and responsibilities. If they’re not yet qualified, they can get some valuable work experience elsewhere before they join your team. Both my husband and I worked at other companies before starting work at Real Living. This is so important because family members are always being judged based on their relationship with the business owner—you! They’ll need that built-in credibility before they become a member of your team.

Once you’ve determined that they’re qualified, don’t allow them any special favors that would cause bad feelings among other team members. At the same time, don’t fall into the trap of holding them to a higher standard. That’s not fair either. But by far one of the hardest things you’ll have to master is to keep your personal lives out of the business. Equally hard is the challenge of keeping the business out of your personal lives. But you can do it, so, have fun!

To learn more about working with family members, listen to this podcast with Harley and I.

Should you join the family biz right out of college?

Joining the family business might seem like the easy route after college, but there are several things to consider. You must first decide, simply and emphatically, if this business is your passion. Sure, you’ve grown up with the business, but is working in the family business part of your dream? Be absolutely honest about your answer because it’s your life—and you can’t live that life pursuing someone else’s dreams.

If you make the decision to join the fam, do so only after obtaining the necessary training and know-how. Make sure you’re qualified and prepared for the task. This is important so that others have a positive perception of your role in the business—and they take you seriously.

For other tips on finding your passion see Real Fact Two in Real You Incorporated.