I stopped and listened to an interesting segment on one of the morning news shows recently. The discussion centered on a survey that found Moms now feel guilty when their work intruded on their “family time.” Moms felt guilty when “technology” (i.e. blackberry, e-mail, phone calls, etc.) was disturbing their personal time with their family. They also struggled when the boss asked them to stay late or work weekends. They admitted it was hard to say “no” to work. Some even resorted to turning off all “technology” for several hours in the evening so that they would not have to make a choice between answering the demands of work and spending time with family.
Isn’t this a fact of life for family business owners? We are “on call” 24/7. It’s just a way of life. Our responsibilities don’t end at 5 and begin again the next morning. It’s our responsibility to make sure ovens are running, the deliveries are getting made, the customers are satisfied and our employees are taken care of. The joy for a family business owner is that it is a “family” business. Parents, children, grandchildren are all welcome parts of the business. Responsibilities and joys are all shared. When Dad or Mom needs to attend to the business, the kids are often invited along. It becomes an informal teaching session for the children – teaching them the in’s and out’s of the business, along with a sense of responsibility.
While we all look for balance in our lives, Family Business Owners have the unique opportunity to incorporate work and personal life – hopefully to the advantage of both.