Although Take Your Child to Work Day is officially April 23rd this year, the current world situation will see that passed over. But in the spirit of the event, we recognize that for many parents right now, their children are experiencing their workday in their own homes as we shelter in place. So, you may want to consider a parent/child work activity for that day.
Small Business Means Children at the Business
In any case, for those of us who own small businesses, it is likely that your children have been part of your work world from an early age.
I began taking Christopher to my office on weekends when he was about 2 years old and I was doing my job, and all the administrative jobs for my business. I couldn’t afford staff, and so weekends were days for catch up on filing, organizing, planning and paperwork.
Christopher actually learned the alphabet by watching me sort and file. He learned some adult expression, such as “besides the fact,” “in addition to”, and “I will be back in touch”, by listening to me on business calls; and somehow knew exactly when to use these.
But as involved as he became in my world as he was growing up, I never anticipated that someday he would join me in my business. It has been an interesting and rewarding experience for us both.
Years after he and Christine married, she joined our group also.
Our family business has been a joy.
Joys… and Challenges of Family Business
But a family business is not for everyone; as many family business owners can attest. When we hire staff, we tell them that the best thing about working here is that we are family. So, we celebrate birthdays, holidays; we buy donuts and pizza; we understand family obligations.
The worst thing about working here is that we are family. Sometimes the obligations, commitments, concerns and disruptions in our family, enter the day to day work life of the business.
So, we have learned that a family business sometimes needs to have even better systems, job descriptions, rules and regulation than other business models, so that everyone is working towards the same goals. Everyone has the same focus.
We have learned to often use the expression “it’s business, not personal.”
We have learned to step away from the business sometimes, too, so that we continue to share family moments, so that the business does not absorb every aspect of our lives.
And we have learned that in times in our world where we are experience life changing events, that we are both a family and a business that is affected.
So, to all the small business owners out there, especially those family owned businesses, we are keenly aware how the current events are creating stresses that you may have never imagined for your business.
To all of you, your families and your employees, we wish you health, safety, and hope. Hope as we believe this too shall pass. Hope that you will come out stronger and more prosperous when it does.
– Mary Grace Musuneggi