my dad wants to apply for a job on my very small team

A reader writes:

My dad retired about three years ago. It was earlier than he had expected due to the closure of the army fort at which he worked. He’s been keeping himself pretty busy, volunteering, playing music, and helping to watch my one-year old son.

Today I found out that there is a position opening at my (government) office that my dad would qualify for. I didn’t think he’d want it, but I asked him if he knew of anyone who might be interested. He said he might be, and asked if it was ok to give me his resume.

My dad and I are good friends. We’re very close and connect on an intellectual, rather than emotional, level, most of the time. Our personalities are quite similar, and I believe we’d work well together. We would be on the same team, which, although we keep being promised more people, consists only of myself, one other person, and my manager. I wouldn’t be reporting to him, and he wouldn’t be reporting to me. In this position, he would be managing a project, and I would be one of many team members on the project.

I told my boss that my dad wanted to send in his resume, and his first reaction was not super positive, as he was initially worried that there may be some conflict of interest. He then said there probably wasn’t and agreed to look at my dad’s resume.

My question is: Is this a disaster waiting to happen, or are there any circumstances under which this might be a good idea? I really like this job, and I have no doubt my boss and my father would get along very well. I just can’t help but think this may end badly, but I can’t put my finger on how.

So your team would be you, your dad, and your manager?


In some ways, this is very similar to working that closely with a significant other, and some of the reasons for why that would be a bad idea apply here too. You don’t have to worry about a break-up causing tension as you would with a significant other, but you’d need to worry about (or perhaps more the point, your boss would need to worry about) how such a close relationship will affect dynamics on your team. Will there be favoritism or the appearance of favoritism? You say neither of you would manage the other, but he’d be managing a project that you and others are working on, which opens up the possibility of issues. If there’s an issue with the work you do on that project, will he be able to address it objectively and alert your manager if it’s unresolved? Additionally, are you going to take on each other’s battles in a way that wouldn’t otherwise happen? If your dad has an issue with your boss, is that going to impact your own relationship with that boss? What if he gets fired or treated in a way you think is unfair? Is that really not going to impact your own morale?

You might be thinking, “Meh, none of that is likely. We’re a low-key team, and there aren’t likely to be any such issues.” And maybe that’s true — but it’s certainly something your boss has to think about. And unless your dad is head-and-shoulders better than any other candidate, if I were your boss I’d be pretty damn hesitant to introduce that dynamic onto my team — there’s a lot of risk and little incentive if there are other good candidates.

{ 87 comments… read them below }

  1. HR Manager*

    Yikes. I can see how this is a non-issue in a very large organization where the two work in separate spheres, but in the same team, and in a small one to boot, I lean towards “too close for comfort” here. Maybe it’s because I subscribe to the George Costanza “world’s collide” theory, but I see too many opportunities for this to go donwhill (and to have all those little things that parents do that drive you crazy possibly coming into the office…GAH).

    1. Bea W*

      Double too close with Dad managing the project his son works on.

      My mother and I worked for the same company for a few years. She was out of work and an opportunity unique to the company matched her qualifications and experience. So I passed it on. With less than 200 employees everyone knew everyone else, but we were on different projects in different functions sitting on different floors. It was not weird if weeks passed without seeing each other. If it hadn’t been completely separate from what I was doing, I probably wouldn’t have tipped her off.

      1. Simonthegrey*

        One of my first non-retail jobs was at the company my mom worked for. She was Customer Service and I was Warehouse. Essentially it meant I reported to her, as in she was the one who routed sample orders to me to fill and mail out (I was not in the large shipping department; mostly I mailed replacement parts). I worked essentially under her and it was a small business. It was owned by a mother-daughter team. There was also a married couple who worked there. For our business, and specifically because of who my mom and I are, there was never a problem. We were able to be professional there (although mom was older than several of the other customer service reps so they all took to calling her Mom, even though I did offer to call her by her name). On the other hand, I can’t imagine working in the same LARGE company as my dad; too many chances for us to butt heads!

  2. Cheeky*

    I’d be amazed if your government agency doesn’t have rules against nepotism. This would not be appropriate in most government or even corporate jobs.

    1. LBK*

      Is it nepotism if she’s not the one hiring him, though? Sounds like she has no direct control over whether he ends up working there or not.

      1. Student*

        Many places require managerial separation between family members as a “best practice”. As in, Father and Son cannot have the same manager. I’d expect a government position probably also won’t want your father to have project manager authority over you, even if he can’t hire/fire you. They also won’t want you on the hiring committee for the position if your father is applying.

        1. De Minimis*

          Our facility is federal, I don’t know the specific rule, but in general I think it’s mainly that the hiring official cannot hire a relative. We do have a few siblings working in the same department under the same manager, but I’m not aware of any situation where someone manages a relative. Even then though, I don’t know if it’s because it’s against the rules or because it just hasn’t happened.

          My former coworker’s husband worked in management for the same organization, and I believe they did have to choose at one point between him retiring and his wife continuing to work there [he chose retirement], so the rule may be more complicated than just not being able to directly hire relatives. But this is a small community and we have a lot of families working here to where I think we’d have a tough time if the rules were extremely strict.

      1. De Minimis*

        It’s as LBK said, if it’s a federal job the nepotism rule only applies for the hiring official, not co-workers.

        1. De Minimis*

          I wouldn’t like it, though….

          We have a lot of parents, spouses, children, and extended family members working here, but rarely in the same departments.

            1. De Minimis*

              What gives me headaches is that we have three siblings and two have the same last name and first initial to where it’s hard for me to figure out who is whom in the system. And they work in the same department….

              1. Cath in Canada*

                We used to have a pair of identical twins! They didn’t work together, but it was still confusing. They both left a few years ago… to work for the same employer.

                We also have a pair of brothers and several married couples.

              2. Melissa*

                My brother has the same last name as me, same first initial, and our social security numbers are only one number different. We’d be a nightmare for your office lmao.

                1. De Minimis*

                  Apparently they give our IT department headaches…they had to create some kind of workaround for their badges/computer accounts.

                  It actually wouldn’t matter so much for me except that one is paid from a different funding source. Thankfully our actual payroll/cash disbursement is done at another location so I don’t have to worry about accidentally paying the wrong person, but I am responsible for getting it straight in our budget and records.

    2. Raine*

      But, his dad is former Army — if anything, all else being equal, I’d think they’re more likely to offer him the job than not.

      1. De Minimis*

        I agree, the OP should probably be prepared for that possibility, depending on who else is up for the job. Especially if it’s federal, but I think almost all governmental entities do vet preference, and if it’s federal it might be even more likely if he retired due to a base closure.

    3. MaryMary*

      OldJob (private sector, not government) didn’t allow family members to work on the same account for risk management reasons. Their thinking was that if someone was planning on committing fraud, working with a family member would make it easier to do and harder to catch. Also, if someone made an error, the company felt a family member would be less likely to resovlve it properly/officially, even if there wasn’t a direct reporting relationship. Some of our larger account teams had over 50 people, and even if there was no chance you would work together on the same project, family could not be on the same team.

  3. soitgoes*

    Ugh, I would worry about the power differential. Your mom and dad will always be your primary authority figures, even if you out-rank them at first. That’s going to really mess with a lot of different dynamics.

    1. Tiffy the Fed... Contractor*

      This is what I was going to say too. From the brief description, it sounds like the OP and I have similar relationships with our fathers. I think we would work together too. HOWEVER, I really don’t know if I could ever get over the inherent power differences because he is my father. I know I can speak honestly with him (and I’m guessing the OP can with her father too), but I think there is too much of a risk of the power differentials getting in the way and souring either the personal or professional side of the relationship.

      1. Tiffy the Fed... Contractor*

        I should mention however, I worked with my future MIL and SIL (that’s how I met my husband), and they worked together pretty well. My SIL wasn’t allowed to call my MIL “mom” at work even though everyone knew they were related, and she was treated the same as everyone else… mostly. At times, I felt like my SIL would get some preferential treatment (my MIL was our boss). I don’t think it was because my MIL was trying to favor her, but it was because my SIL had been around the job for so long and knew the processes better than anyone. I would have gladly learned, but I was in high school and didn’t know how to advocate for myself without sounding whiney.

      2. Bea W*

        Same, even if my father and I worked together on the same level, the reality is he’d default to acting with some assumption of authority. That’s mostly because he’s most comfortable telling other people what to do, and also because he takes a hierarchical view of family. His children may be grown, but the power always flows from the elders down and with preference given to men. Power never flows in any other direction, and right now he’s at the top of family food chain – Dad -> children (preference to the only son) -> grandchildren (all male, preference given by age). My sister and I don’t fully buy into this, but my brother will absolutely defer to whatever Dad says.

          1. NoPantsFridays*

            FWIW, what you’ve described sounds totally normal to me — hierarchy flowing based on age and gender. I haven’t known a family that *didn’t* have this hierarchy, though I’ve known people who “disobeyed” it within their families (I don’t buy into it either).

            1. Kathryn*

              My family doesn’t follow this. Due to my parent’s screwed up relationship, but very civil divorce, anything one of them says, the other won’t do, but we can get together as a family, with SOs, and have fun.

              But I (eldest daughter) operate as matriarch. Its getting less weird as I get older, but in my early 20s the dynamic was a bit of a trip.

            2. LawBee*

              Age, yes. But no way in hell would my parents have let anyone give preference to my brothers just because they’re men.

          2. AvonLady Barksdale*

            To me, it most certainly is. :) My mother refuses to believe that I am a grown adult, so I get it, though it’s not as black-and-white. I feel you.

            This sounds like a potential situation straight out of Remains of the Day.

        1. soitgoes*

          My mom and I have a Gilmore Girls type of dynamic, but even that’s inappropriate for an office setting. Most people are taken aback when they hear how my mom and I talk to each other.

  4. LBK*

    I would only do this if you are 100% able to act as if you’ve never met before while at work. My mom and brother have successfully done this for years (to the point that people actually don’t realize they’re related, although my mom going by her maiden name helps).

    It can be done but you need have REALLY clear boundaries with your dad about how you will interact at work and I’d be able to articulate those boundaries in a reassuring fashion to your manager at a moment’s notice.

  5. fposte*

    I can see that it’s possible it could work, but if I were the manager I doubt that I’d take the chance.

    1. mweis77*

      I agree. As the manager, unless your father was a national/international star in the field, I wouldn’t take the chance. And even then I may not.

    2. Mister Pickle*

      I concur.

      I don’t think this is a question that has a general answer that applies to the majority of relationships. Ie, my father and I could (and sometimes did) work together closely. But I don’t see that happening with my son and I. It would depend so much on ‘hidden variables’ in the relationship that I simply wouldn’t want to risk it.

    3. Kathryn*

      Unfortunately, this is probably where I land as well.

      I say unfortunately, because I work in the same department as my husband, both leading teams, and that works out well for us. Mostly because we are coworkers at work and SOs at home, but I get an SO who understands my works stuff when I need to vent. (Work also gets extra support during crises, since its rare for one of us to get called in and the other not to show up to help anyway. Which means some other coworker gets to sleep through the 3 am call.)

      But we’ve discovered that how we handle things is not normal and there are a lot of really bad ways that having a family relationship in a close working environment can go.

  6. Ann Furthermore*

    My reaction is the same as Alison’s: EEEEEK. There is such a thing as too much togetherness. You can gracefully get out of this by laying the blame on your boss. Tell your dad that your boss looked at his resume and liked it, but was hesitant to hire a close relative of his only direct report. Working with family is just fraught all over the place. The only place I’ve ever seen it work well is with my husband’s family. He runs a small business, and his younger brother works for him. They get along great both at work and outside work. They’ve got similar personalities and are able to leave the personal stuff at the door and focus on work. But in my experience, many people aren’t able to do that.

  7. Celeste*

    The fact that he’s taken care of your child and it has gone well speaks volumes to me. In my opinion, that can be a pretty fraught with tension scenario. If he didn’t jump on you for how you like things done with your child…I think you have a great shot at working together well. I totally get where everyone else is coming from, but it sounds like your family might be an exception to the rule.

      1. Celeste*

        “He’s been keeping himself pretty busy, volunteering, playing music, and helping to watch my one-year old son.”

        It certainly sounds like he has been providing childcare while she works. It’s often tricky when a grandparent does that, because they don’t want to comply with the way today’s parents do things. It spoke to me that this situation worked out well, to show that they are low-conflict in how they relate to each other.

  8. Malissa*

    OP, do you want to open yourself up to the possibility of discussing work at every family event? Even if you and your dad don’t, nosy family members will use this a fodder for some very awkward questions and conversations.

    1. De Minimis*

      My family is a multi-generational teaching family [goes as far back as my great-grandfather] and my father always used to complain about how often the conversation at family gatherings ended up being the various teachers complaining and trading war stories [my dad was one of the few who didn’t go into education.]

    2. Zahra*

      My family used to own a store. There was a very firm (and very respected) rule that work was work and work talk was not to intrude on family stuff. At the holidays, the talk would go like this “How’s work?”, “Pretty good, busy with the late holiday shoppers, as usual. And you?”

      1. Elizabeth West*

        Mine did too, and I helped out now and then as a young adult, though I didn’t really work there for any length of time and in any real official capacity (disclaimer: I did get paid). I preferred outside jobs. Generally, I worked with my parents’ employees and not them. Their most long-term employee was very efficient and a good supervisor.

  9. Elkay*

    I came into an office where a father and son and worked together and no-one had good reports of it. Admittedly it was a slightly different situation (father convinced boss to recruit son) but there’s a few red flags here that personal life would step into professional life He’s been keeping himself pretty busy…helping to watch my one-year old son., from your point of view you’re potentially losing your babysitter from your boss’s point of view one sick kid could screw up his team if you end up tag-teaming childcare throughout your family. Your boss’s first reaction wasn’t enthusiastic, unless they came to you and said “I’ve rethought this, please ask your Dad to submit his resume” you may risk your own reputation by looking like you don’t understand personal/professional boundaries.

    1. OhNo*

      I think you bring up a very good point about the boss’ initial hesitation. I think it would be a good idea to go back and say that you know he approved your relative submitting their resume, but he didn’t seem enthusiastic about it, and have a conversation about why that is. Just because he said there was no conflict of interest, doesn’t mean he thinks it’s a good idea. If you get a better idea where the boss is coming from, then you could also have a sit-down with your dad and discuss why it might be better for him not to go after that job.

  10. Celeste*

    To address your feeling of worry, my guess is that it’s other peoples’ feelings and behavior that would be an issue, at least at first. Some will look for trouble or have little remarks to make. I think you could just be your awesome selves and people would get over it, though.

  11. Jax*

    I worked with my dad. I was 21, he was in his 50’s and recently laid-off from his 20+ year career as an electrician at a power plant. He was incredibly depressed, struggling to find work, and out of pure desperation I asked my employer (a mall department store) if they had any job my dad could do. They hired him the next day.

    We worked in different departments and it was actually a lot of fun to see him around, commiserate with him in the break room, give each other “This guy is a joke” looks when horrible managers were around. But it wasn’t a job either of us were serious about–we both knew this was someplace to land while we tried to get back on our feet.

    Now he’s collecting his pension and the scary years are over. I’m working as a project manager at a manufacturer, and sometimes I’ll vent to him about how shoddy the preventative maintenance plans are. It’s his old area of expertise, and he wants me to arrange a sit down between him and my boss. He’d like to come on as a consultant.

    I told him no (used the excuse of “Enjoy retirement! Don’t get another job!”) because I’m not 21 and this isn’t a mall job. This is my career, and I’m not okay with finding Dad in the break room, handing me a couple bucks to get a soda out of the vending machine and telling me that my Power Point presentation looked “really grown-up”.

    1. Bea W*

      I can totally picture my dad doing this, except he’d hand me enough money for 2 sodas and tell me to bring back one for him.

      1. Jax*

        Whenever Dad was in the break room he’d pull out his wallet, pass me $1, tell me to get a Coke and wink at me. Or he’d buy fudge from the candy counter and pretend like he couldn’t eat it (because I loved it) and would pass the box to me. All really good memories, but I’m not a college kid anymore. It just wouldn’t work here!

    2. AvonLady Barksdale*

      I think that’s what gets me about the whole situation– if it were a retail job, I wouldn’t have the same “eeeek” reaction as Alison. That can be fun (if you like your family, that is!). I could totally see working on the same sales floor as my grandfather back when I worked in books. We would have had a great time and helped each other immensely. But in a small corporate situation, I don’t see it. Too many opportunities for drama.

  12. Mena*

    This could be messy, or not at all but always look slightly off because of the family connection. Better not to go there at all. And I had a similar situation when my mom wasn’t working and did some contract work for my employer – she (Mom) didn’t handle it well and although I wasn’t made responsible for this, I felt that I should have never opened the door.

  13. Katieinthemountains*

    My husband works with a dad and daughter. They take things personally, fight each other’s battles, and gang up on targets. And it’s complicated because they work for a different company, so my husband’s manager can’t address their performance issues. It’s better now that the son has moved on, but my husband still wishes one of them would quit. That’s why everyone is leery of this situation.
    I wouldn’t want to work for my dad because he’s brilliant and incredibly hard-working and just cannot comprehend lower levels of diligence and intelligence. And, I’d be afraid we’d never be able to get the same days off for holidays.

  14. AGH*

    I’m currently working on a very small team which includes a father and daughter. They are in equal positions and get along fine for the most part, BUT they get into these tiresome arguments with eachother frequently. We all work in a small cubicle farm so we are all subjected to it. Sometimes it’s work related, sometimes it’s personal, but it’s ALWAYS annoying and awkward.

    I imagine it depends on the relationship, but based on my experience, it’s NOT a good idea to work that closely with family members.

  15. Ann O'Nemity*

    We would be on the same team, which, although we keep being promised more people, consists only of myself, one other person, and my manager.

    I would not want to work on such a small team with my dad. And even if I did, I can’t imagine the one other person on the team would like being in that situation.

  16. Jake*

    I worked on a project with 100+ staff members and family members working together was very common. It very rarely had a negative impact directly, but it hurt morale in several instances.

    My boss’s wife worked in a completely separate department. My boss was very very competent, in fact, the best manager I’ve had. His wife was equally incompetent. I dealt with her consistently, and it was awful. However, everybody on site knew they were a package deal, if you want Boss, you have to take wife. It killed our morale in our office.

    On the flip side the same boss’s son worked in a third department. His son was very good at his job, but constantly had to battle the perception that he was only there because of dear old dad. The truth of the matter was that he was great at his job, but perception trumped reality for people that weren’t working directly with him like I was.

    The moral of the story is that even if it works perfectly, the perception of it will not be positive for coworkers, bosses, clients or much of anybody else.

    1. Anon for this*

      That must be doubly hard for the son because of his mom/step-mom. If both his dad and dad’s wife were highly competent, you might assume “Oh, their offspring must be amazing! No wonder he works here.” But where dad is great and dad’s wife is terrible but a package deal, you wonder if kid is another bad part if the package even when he’s not.

  17. Raine*

    It’s a government job, and it appears his dad — who already apparently has applied — is retired from the army. I think if anything, the way government scores applicants, his dad’s application is going to probably be right near the top, barring someone else almost perfectly suited for this specific position. Probably it’s too late to ask for advice (OP could have objected when his father asked OP if it’d be okay if he sent in his resume, or I suppose OP could ask his father to decline if offered). But I don’t really know how much flexibility the hiring manager really will have in such a scenario.

  18. Carl*

    I know that, in this economy, to say “he should just find another job elsewhere” is easier said than done, but working with family is dangerous, in so many different ways. My father and grandfather ran a business with another man. Things became extremely acrimonious between my dad and Third Man; he despised him. But my grandfather sided with Third Man. My dad quit the business, feeling severely betrayed. Things were never quite the same between my dad and his dad, who is now no longer with us.

    I realize your situation is not the same, OP, but what I observed taught me that family and business (often) do not mix.

    1. Nikki T*

      Perhaps the boss can pass his resume along for something else…Such a small team, as a manager, not sure I’d want to risk it.

  19. Nerd Girl*

    Some relatives are really succesful at working together. My mother and my sister worked for a very small business in an office that consisted of 5 people. My mother had started there first and she brought my sister in after the fact. They worked well together and most people didn’t realize they were related. I actually toyed with the idea of working there as well, to the point where I went in for an afternoon to see what the position was about. I made it an hour before I knew it wasn’t for me. I was not able to separate family and work like they had been able to do. My mom and sister worked there for close to 6 years before moving on to other things. Some people can make this work…others can’t. It’s all about the people involved and only you know if this is something you can do. I know that I am not one of those people. :)

  20. Boo*

    In my second job as receptionist, I found out that practically everyone else on my team was related to the boss. The boss was a bit of a nightmare and there were issues with the team being made up of both her parents and her nephew. When she had childcare issues, she’d bring her daughter in and let her play behind reception with her mum (the other receptionist) while I covered the phones and visitors; she’d often chat to her mum about their weekends/personal lives while again I had to cover all the phones and visitors; I was denied a holiday I’d requested because it clashed with her family holiday, even though I’d asked for mine first; when there were family disagreements, the atmosphere was very unpleasant.

    I’m not saying any of that would happen with you OP. But these are the kind of things that your boss and potentially coworkers will be worried about. Nine times out of ten it’s not a great reason for family members to work closely together.

  21. Lily in NYC*

    I can see why everyone’s first reaction is “yikes” – but I can see this working out ok in certain circumstances. I ended up working with my dad in a very similar situation – I volunteered where he worked and ended up getting hired after a few months (he had nothing to do with my getting hired- I have a skill they really needed) He wasn’t my boss but we did have to work together often. I loved working with him! It was so cool to see him in his element and we were very careful to be professional. I never called him “dad” in front of coworkers. It was only a 50-person office and we never had any issues, not even once. He had to travel a lot for work, and I think that helped. The only bad part was watching female coworkers shamelessly flirt with him. I know he was considered handsome but I One of my closest friends there offered to sleep with him, knowing he was happily married. I’m so glad my mom didn’t tell me until after we were both no longer working there because I probably would have reacted poorly to it.

  22. AndersonDarling*

    My fear is that the pair would talk about work on the side then come back to work with decisions that did not include their co-workers input. That will irk their co-workers quickly.
    Also, the OP would be loosing a lot of privacy. I discuss things at work that I wouldn’t discuss with my parents. I don’t want them knowing when I go to every doctor’s appointment or hair appointment. What I eat for lunch, what I did over the weekend…it will all be there for Dad to see.

    1. LawBee*

      Your first sentence reminds me of that episode of Friends where Rachel tried to take up smoking so she wouldn’t be left out of all the decisions that were made in the smoker’s corner. :D

  23. LiteralGirl*

    I worked at the same fast food place as my sister while in high school. I was hired after she was, and she got fired because she couldn’t get the people she led to do what they were supposed to do. When she got fired, she asked “what about LiteralGirl?” as though we were a package deal. I really wouldn’t recommend working with family at a non-family business. The potential for hard feelings is too great.

  24. MaryMary*

    I work for a family owned business (father owns/founded/runs it, and his brother, sister, son and daughter all work here) and many of our clients are family businesses as well. It is really hard to work with family. You will always relate to each other as family first, coworkers second. If you have a good relationship, respect for each other, strong boundaries, and really good communication, I think it can work. If any one of those things is missing, it’s going to get messy. I love my family and consider them my friends as well, and I wouldn’t want to work with any of them.

  25. Mister Pickle*

    Heh … not to derail, but this led me to wonder: if you could duplicate yourself (ala some kind of Star Trek style matter transmitter), how many of us would want to work with ourselves?

    (Speaking only for myself: NFW. I know I’m a pain in the ass).

    1. Elsajeni*

      Not a chance. It’s a toss-up which would drive me crazy first: the Other Me’s faults, or the paranoia that her work would somehow surpass mine and I’d be replaced by my own clone.

    2. Kathryn*

      I’m a pain in the ass, but I’ve realized recently that I have a lot of difficult to replace skills, and I will never be able to do all of the things I want to at this company because there are literally not enough hours in the day. It would be nice to have someone else pick up the things that are good work, that I would love doing, that are difficult for anyone else to do. I’d love to see the progress on those projects that another me could make.

      But I’m a pain in the ass, and I don’t know if the office could handle another highly social weirdo who needs to be reminded to eat and go home. I think I overwhelm people a bit as it is.

  26. Ms Enthusiasm*

    I was on a large team once with an older lady. We had an opening on the team and since her son needed a job the boss hired her. I thought the son was an awful employee but basically thought there was nothing to be done because his mother was also on the team which meant the son has some kind of protection. It felt a little unfair to many of us.

  27. Schnauz*

    Making the family dynamics worse is the fact that it’s such a small team. Unless your whole office closes together on the holidays, it’s murder to get time off together if you want to vacation together or spend the holidays together or help your dad with yard maintenance in the fall.

    My mom works for a small team and they recently hired a coworker’s daughter. They explicitly told them they can’t take time off at the same time and they can’t fight each other’s battles. It didn’t even take a week for all of that to fall apart. Good people individually, but mom won’t stop trying to either do daughter’s job, advocate for daughter and they’ve asked for time off together (of course!).

  28. Facilities&more*

    I’d have to say DON’T DO IT! Back several years ago (at the company I still work at today) there was a push to hire several new customer service positions – offering referral bonuses to current employees for successful hires. I thought of my mother, who has worked in an office/cust. svs. environment for years and was looking for a part time job for some extra income to get through a rough period she was going through. I pride myself on my work ethic, and I always said that I got mine from her. So naturally, I recommended her. She was hired based on my referral and my closeness with HR. I even told her that I would sign over the two referral bonuses to her since she was in a tight spot and it was money I wasn’t counting on anyway. She stayed just long enough for the bonus checks to be issued and quit without notice the next week, even after I begged her to stick it out for a two week notice (which was only 2 more shifts!). Long story short, I have never recommended another person since then. HR has seemed to forgive me, but I won’t put my reputation on the line like that again. If I look at it from HR’s perspective (or a hiring manager) if an employee recommended a parent and it went bad, I’d really question their judgement going forward. Good Luck!

  29. anonsymoot*

    Oh boy, I hate hate HATE working jobs where coworkers were related. I’ve had several – one where my boss was the mother of the woman I was replacing (who took a lateral position for reasons I never understood), one where there was a husband/wife relationship in parallel positions, and one where the wife was the office mgr for the husband’s office. They were, without exception, terrible. None of them were able to leave the familial relationship at the door, I was extremely hesitant to bring my concerns about the condition the daughter left her job to my boss (her mom!), vacations taken as a special allowance for husband/wife even though had they not been related, the two positions would not have been permitted to be out of the office at the same time, you name it.

    If I could find a way to work this into interviews, I’d love to know how. But “are any of your employees related to each other?” isn’t exactly going to work.

  30. Tara*

    I absolutely agree that working with family is a landmine, but I have to say that the issues you’ve raised also happen lots between coworkers who are simply friends. I can’t imagine a workplace where everyone is totally objective and reacts to issues without taking into account personal relationships. Depending on the workplace, this could be on about the same level as Sue and Linda who have worked together for 4 years, become good friends, and would feel super awkward about reporting each other to a manager.

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