Working with your family is either one step away from heaven or the fifth circle of hell, depending on who you ask.
If you asked my new heroine, Jackie Parker, she’d tell you it’s both at the same time. As a certified process server in Miami, Jackie’s career could have branched out into a million different day jobs. But after years of physical separation from her husband, who was active duty military, she craves more time. Jackie and Luke are like newlyweds, seven years after the fact. Of course joining Luke’s property management team, Damaged Goods, seems like a terrific idea. The fine print? Yes, she does spend time with Luke. But she’s also trapped in a truck ten hours a day with her brother-in-law, Logan, A.K.A the Dark Prince and the big, juicy secret that seethes between them.
Jackie’s pros and cons for working with family.
- Pro: You know who you’re dealing with. Con: You know who you’re dealing with.
It’s the devil-you-know syndrome to the nth degree. All those little annoyances, like who flushed the toilet while you were taking a shower won’t be left at the doorstep, no matter how hard you try to drop kick them there. But at the same time, who else will have your back if not your family?
2. Pro: Flexible work hours. Cons: Endless work hours.
Family tends to be more understanding and supportive about things like doctor appointments or daycare issues. But no matter how much you try to separate the personal from the professional, imagine the people you live with as major players in both worlds. They know everything you’re doing, every second of every day. Talk about living under a microscope. As much as you want to shelve the day job, dinner conversation will often turn back to the events of the day—what you missed while you were at the doctor’s appointment. Plus, you never hear the end of your mistakes on either front.
3. Pros: Open communication. Cons: Lack of anything to say.
Imagine first a typical office job. You have a few friends, people you chat with over the water cooler. You ask about the wife and kids, the mother-in-law’s hip replacement. Find out that his teenage son total his BMW. You’re not really invested and you can push that person’s troubles out of your mind and go about your business. At 5:00 you head home, kick back with a glass of wine and tell your significant other all about the little details because this is the person you are completely open with, the one you are invested.
But when you work with the significant other it’s different. When you see him troubled by the coffee pot, you need to care about what went wrong. After spending all day every day with someone, the conversational well can run dry. At the same time, would another coworker add your burden his already overflowing plate, just to brighten your day?
4. Pros: Office romance is a given. Cons: And everybody knows it.
So you’re sleeping with the boss, huh? Well, that’s great, except when there’s trouble in paradise all your other coworkers are in on it and probably speculating on what went sideways. They wonder when the flower delivery will show up and might even offer advice. The non-stop scrutiny can be uncomfortable. Watch out for acts of obvious favoritism, they could make your life hell.
Bottom line: Working with family is an acquired taste. It depends on the job and it depends on the family. Some work effectively together while others take shameless advantage of blood being thicker than water.
About the author
Jennifer L. Hart knows that surviving as military spouse takes persistence, comfort food and a stellar sense of humor. Her books often focus on people who’ve lived the military lifestyle and zany antics of neurotic heroines, who like to eat, drink and have fun. Her works include the Misadventures of the Laundry Hag mystery series, the Damaged Goods mystery series and Murder Al Dente, coming soon from Gemma Halliday Presents.
FINAL NOTICE: A Damaged Good Mystery by Jennifer L. Hart/June 10/Elements Unleashed