When I graduated from Western Michigan University and I thought about what I wanted to do with my life, my first and only thought was “I will never work for my father and join the Family Staffing Business”. Why you ask? Because I never wanted to be seen as someone who was “given” a job that they did not deserve and earn through hard work. I am sure that all of you have heard or read about kids who skated through life living off the hard work of their parents, and I did not want to be one of those kids. But I was conflicted, because my father worked extremely hard to build his business and he did it for his kids, he wanted us to take over when it was time to retire.
FEUSA statistics show that family-owned businesses contribute 57 percent – or about $8.3 trillion — of the U.S. gross domestic product and employ nearly 63 percent of the nation’s workforce. Unfortunately, however, less than one third of family businesses survive the transition from first to second generation ownership and another half do not survive the move from second to third generation. I was the second generation….
I decided to move to Chicago after WMU which was easy because it’s my home town and that’s where I began my career. Like most of my generation I started in an entry level sales roll making 100 cold calls a day and getting hung up on 75% of the time….It was a frustrating job and some of the days were miserable, but you know what? I LOVED every minute of it because I was working towards a goal of mine and I was doing it through nothing but hard work and dedication. I wanted to be a top 5 sales rep in the company and I wanted to be promoted to a Sales Manager.
Flash Forward 2 years and about 9,999,999,999 cold calls later and I had achieved goal #1. I was a top 5 sales producer in a company with over 200 sales reps and after several months of being in the top 5, I was promoted to Sales Manager (goal #2) for a new market…..Troy, MI. I was moving back home…..YIPPEE….(that was a sarcastic yippee) After working for 2 more years in Troy, MI and achieving everything I had wanted to I hit a ceiling and I was unable to move up in the company unless I wanted to move out of state again.
At that exact time I was faced with one of the most difficult decisions of my life….I was offered a job by my father to join the family business. My father was starting get a little older (Don’t tell him I said that) and he was hoping to retire in the next 5-10 years…..so I had to weigh the pros and cons:
1. Tradition: My father has been in the staffing industry for 20+ years and over the years he has passed all of his knowledge onto me. I felt like I knew everything about the industry (I WAS WRONG!)
2. Future. If I took this position I would be here for the rest of my life and everything that I worked for could be passed onto my children as well. It would be my legacy
3. Pride: The pride you have working for a business founded by your father can be extremely motivating as you want to prove to him and everyone else that you can take it to the next level
1. I can never get away from work. Whether it is at a family BBQ or my kid’s birthday party, work will always be present and discussed. You can never get away from it
2. Working with Family – not only is my father the CEO, but my mother is the payroll manager and my brother was in the business. I see them almost every day of my life and while I have a great relationship with my parents, it can be tough.
3. Forging my own identity. I don’t want to be seen as my father’s son, I want to be seen as Jason Brann – a Staffing Industry Pioneer…
As you have already probably guessed since I am writing this blog for Staffworks Group, I joined the family business in 2012 and I am very happy that I did. Here are some tips that can help you work well within a family business:
- Try to separate work and non-work related activities. You don’t have to discuss sales numbers when you are together outside the office. We made a rule that you are not allowed to talk business when attending family events
- Never air family laundry with other employees. Maintain a respectful, professional work atmosphere.
- Develop other areas of your life so that you have interest and support outside the family business.
Hope this was helpful for anyone thinking about working with family!