CEO’s daughter gets special treatment, I almost fainted during a meeting, and more

It’s five answers to five questions. Here we go…

1. CEO’s daughter gets special treatment

I just started working for a new company, and it’s a small, family-owned investment firm. Everyone here is really nice, but I noticed one thing that I thought was kind of strange. The CEO/owner’s daughter is an employee here (she sits in the same cubicle area as me), and as far as I know her role isn’t any different than anyone else’s (aside from being the CEO/owner’s daughter).

We all get 30 minutes for lunch, but she’s been taking breaks over 1.5 hours long – sometimes with her father, and sometimes not, and she pretty much comes and goes as she pleases. I realize that as the CEO/owner, one can do practically whatever they want, but does that also apply to the daughter? Isn’t it a tad unprofessional to give her special treatment, when she’s supposed to be an employee like everyone else?

Like I said, everyone is really nice, and I’m really quite happy at this new job. I just thought this was a bit “unfair” and wanted your perspective on this. I don’t think there’s anything I can or WANT to do about it, but I’m at least curious if anyone agrees with me.

It’s not great, but it’s (sometimes) par for the course when you have family members working at a family-owned business. Your best bet is to simply see her in a different category; she’s apparently subject to a different set of rules than non-family employees. Seen from one angle, it’s not fair … but seen from a different angle, you could argue that it’s the business owner’s prerogative if he wants to make his business a source of undemanding jobs for family members. (I’d argue it’s a disservice to those family members, if they’re ever likely to need or want to seek other employment, but that’s a different issue.)

2. Will I be in trouble for almost fainting during a meeting?

After I started my first professional job this summer, my mother died suddenly and I was diagnosed with the same potentially fatal heart condition that killed her. It hadn’t affected my work except for having to attend the funeral and several doctor’s appointments. However, today I came very close to passing out in a meeting in front of several VIPs (boss’s boss, project lead, etc.) and I’m terrified I’m going to get reprimanded or fired for not paying attention. My boss and some of my coworkers (who all but forcibly sent me home after the meeting) know about my medical condition, but the VIPs don’t. Can I get fired over this since I’m in an at-will state? Should I reach out and try to explain my weird behavior in case they think I was zoning out and not paying attention?

Ask your manager about the best way to handle this! Explain that you don’t want people to think you’re zoning out or being inattentive, but you also don’t want to make a big deal out of it if she doesn’t think it’s necessary. Your manager should have a decent handle on what makes sense here. Also, if you have an HR department, you might give them a heads-up as well and see if they have advice; they’ll be able to tell you about benefits that might be available to you like FMLA (once you’ve been there a year) and possible ADA protection.

If the people who need to be in the know about this know what’s going on (your manager and HR), you should be fine!

3. Can I ask my manager about her future career plans?

I have a performance review coming up and wanted your take on something.

I have a manager who is by all accounts a rock star. She has been in her position for four years and I have a feeling that she is eyeing bigger things, or will be soon. During my review, she will ask me about my career goals for the next year and beyond. Is it inappropriate to ask the same back? I’m curious to know where she sees herself, as she could probably run the company of she wanted to. Also, if she was planning to make a move, I would consider following because I know I haven’t learned everything I could from her yet. From reading AAM, I know how lucky I am with my management team.

Do you have a good rapport with her? I don’t know that I’d ask her directly about her own plans, since that could put her on the spot when she might prefer not to disclose plans to move on or hopes of moving up. But it’s certainly reasonable to mention that you love working with her and would be interested in following her if she ever moves into a different role.

4. Staying busy during slow periods as a temp

I’m in month four of a 6-month temporary position, working as an assistant for a very large company. Most of my work comes by way of direct requests from managers.

I’ve temped at this company before, on projects, and was instructed to take off these weeks just like everyone else. I recently asked my current manager what her expectations are for me during the weeks of Christmas and New Year’s, and was instructed to work it out with the other two admins to ensure “that there is coverage.”

Because the company employee will use up her remaining vacation time during these weeks, and the other temp has family coming from out-of-town, I’m resigning myself to being in the office for hours just in case someone needs something (even though no one will be there). However, I am at an utter loss about what to do with myself in the office all that time. During Thanksgiving, I organized files, created manuals, and did everything else I could think of. I would be uncomfortable surfing the internet or reading a book. What else can I do besides stare out the window? How can I ask my manager “How should I spend my time?” and still sound professional?

There’s nothing unprofessional about asking that, particularly as a temp since temps usually have limited ability to come up with their own autonomous work. I’d just say, “Things were very slow during Thanksgiving, so I organized files and created manuals. Assuming Christmas week will be similar, are there other things that you’d like me to work on?” If she says no, and that you just need to be around in case something comes up, then I’d plan to read (either online or a book). In some cultures, it’s totally normal for temps to read a book during downtime, but if you don’t think that would fly, no one is likely to object to (or possibly even notice) you reading articles online.

5. What does “Inactive (No Longer Accepting Job Submissions)” mean for my application?

I applied for a job about a month ago and was referred by a relative who works in the same company. I have not heard back yet, and although my status still says “Resume Acknowledged” and my relative told me that HR informed her that they are in the process of reviewing my resume, the job status just changed to “Inactive (No Longer Accepting Job Submissions).” This job was originally posted in August and just closed either yesterday or today. Does this mean that they will now be narrowing down which candidates to interview or does this mean that the position has been filled? I’ve heard that it also can mean that they have removed the position altogether. Any thoughts?

It probably means that they’re not accepting new applications, but it’s possible it means something else entirely. It depends on the company and how they use their particular system. But I wouldn’t try to read anything into it — as with any job application you submit, the best thing you can do is to assume you didn’t get the job, move on mentally, and let it be a pleasant surprise if they contact you.

{ 110 comments… read them below }

  1. Artemesia*

    Re 1: this is one of the reasons that working in a family business is a losing proposition. It may be a good place to get some experience, but advancement in family run businesses always ends up going to those with connections, so I’d be thinking about your next career moves when you have enough of this one. Fair has nothing to do with it.

    Re 2: You need to make sure this is clarified with the VIPs–perhaps by your manager. The big risk here is that this behavior will be viewed as drug related. Getting whoozy during a meeting is the sort of thing that leads to people thinking you are on drugs. This has actually happened twice to me. Once when a boyfriend was bringing me to my mother’s place after having 4 wisdom teeth removed under anesthesia, I was very unsteady on my feet and holding an ice bag on my jaw. Some person in the elevator later told my mother (not knowing I was related) about the ‘druggie’ he saw in the elevator and how security needed to be better. A second time I had a similar issue during a meeting where I was dizzy as a result of a medication dosage issue. Well, yeah that was drugs — but not illicit drugs. I would touch base with your manager and ask her to make sure that the VIPs were aware you had a medical issue that generally doesn’t affect your work, but occasionally causes this sort of problem. You don’t want them thinking you are using drugs at work.

    1. Wakeen's Teapots Ltd.*

      Re 1: this is one of the reasons that working in a family business is a losing proposition.

      That’s just not true unilaterally. I’ve worked in a family business for 28 or is it 29 years, with a second generation of four sons coming into the business during that time. It’s been a winning proposition for me.

      Many large, privately held companies are family businesses – Bechtel, Mars, Enterprise, SC Johnson, Kohler, Wegmans (along with many grocery chains and food suppliers like Purdue).

      In the Teapot Industry, virtually all teapot sellers and teapot part suppliers started as and continue to be family businesses of some size. The ones with the dysfunction that are poor places to work are almost uniformly the ones that have had corporate buyouts. Chrysler bought one and turned it into a pit of despair in just a few short years.

      I can write reams on choosing a good family business to work with, but you can’t waive away a giant sector of jobs available to people with “don’t do that”.

      1. MK*

        It’s a question of size. I think that Artemesia has a point when it comes to small companies that just don’t have many top jobs available; those will go to the family members. If a company has 300 employees and there are less than 10 family members working there, it’s probably not an issue; if it’s 10 out of 30, it’s a problem.

        But, yes, I wouldn’t say one should forget about them alltogether. Just something to keep at the back of your mind, that you might have to leave to get promoted; on the other hand, you might have had to do that anyway, if the right posotion didn’t come along at the right time.

        1. Wakeen's Teapots Ltd.*

          I think that the size and percent of family members within that size is a good factor for consideration. I think the owner’s desire for growth is more important.

          In my case, I started with the company when it had a relatively small number of employees. Of actual employees (and not 1099 contractors), half were family.

          What it did have was both an entrepreneurial spirit and a lot of cash. And owners crazy enough to back my ideas and support me. And we grew the business together (although I say ‘together’ loosely because mostly they gave me money and left me alone while they worked on other parts of the business).

          I don’t think there’s anything about my experience that is typical, but my experience exists.

          Sure I have to thread the needle of being one of only two non-family members in senior management, but I get paid really well for it and I think everybody has their own needles they have to thread once you get to a certain spot.

        2. Chloe Silverado*

          This is absolutely the difference. I work for a 500 person company that happens to be family owned – many new employees honestly have no idea that the company is family owned. Only 2 family members currently work there and the company offers plenty of benefits and advancement opportunities for all employees. It’s the best company I’ve ever worked for!

          A small company where most of the staff is family would be a concern – I would also say that a mid-sized/larger company where every major leadership role is occupied by a family member would also be a red flag. But if the ratio is small and the company just happens to be family owned, I wouldn’t necessarily shy away.

          1. Mike C.*

            Yeah, if you’re large enough to have say an HR department and the owner actually understands that s/he can’t do everything, then I think you’re fine. If not, then it’s going to suck.

            Incidentally, the last time I was in this situation, the owner treated his family worse than us normal folks. I get treating them better, but worse? What kind of terrible person does that to their own family?

            1. Arbynka*

              Some don’t want other employees to feel like favorites are being played, so they actually are harder on their family than on others. And some are just plain assholes.

              1. Elsajeni*

                And some hire family members with an expectation that they’ll really devote themselves to the work, and not worry about how they’re being compensated, because it’s family and they’re (supposed to be) working out of love and family loyalty, not out of a desire for a paycheck. Similar to how people in “passion” or “calling” fields (the arts, teaching, caregiving…) are treated as heartless mercenaries if they complain about their working conditions or compensation, plus an extra whammy of family guilt.

                1. Arbynka*

                  Great point. Kind of like restaurants hiring musicians to play for free because they will get exposure out of it and should be glad to be able to get their music out there.. :(

                2. Artemesia*

                  The only thing worse than working for a family run company (and I take the point that a large company with professional HR etc MIGHT be different) as an outsider is to work for one as a member of the family. Another thing that often happens in family run businesses is that some poor schlub works night and day for next to nothing and then the oldster hangs on or meddles after retirement or worse yet, promises that ‘this will all be yours someday so I don’t need to pay you much now’ evaporate when it is sold — or it is divided up equally including the siblings who never worked or contributed all those years. I can think of examples of each of these.

              2. Mike C.*

                This was the latter. He was constantly demeaning to his wife in front of the employees and held the fact that he was bringing family over from Iran over the heads of his other family members. It was really gross.

            2. VintageLydia USA*

              My husband used to work for his father, and since he was always (and still is at nearly 30) viewed as the “kid” he feels like he has more leeway to act like an ass to him with little to no consequences. And when that job was Mr. Vintage’s only income and any argument meant a paycheck being withheld, his dad was right. Husband thankfully got another job so we are no longer under his thumb.

              1. Mike C.*

                What an abusive jerk. Sounds like the sort of crap my father went through when he worked for his parents.

              2. Artemesia*

                You are lucky you are married to a guy who figured this out and got his tail our of there. I know someone who was treated like this till he was 50 and then when Dad passed on his two sisters who never did diddly in the company inherited two thirds of it.

            3. sunny-dee*

              My dad totally would have been like that. He would have viewed it as educational for me, since I’m his daughter and should Learn Things, and a way of Setting An Example for the employees. Dad has really hard standards for himself. Some people slack off when they’re the boss; some people push themselves hard. He’s the kind that pushes hard, and he would expect that same kind of investment from me or from my brother. It’s not being terrible, actually. Unfair, but not terrible. (Some people are just ogres, of course, and treat family like slave labor.)

              1. sunny-dee*

                Oh, I should clarify, my dad would be the one who would be harder on us than on “regular” employees. He’s demanding, but he is never capricious or domineering. He wouldn’t (for example) refuse to pay us if we argued about something and he would never let personal feelings interfere with business. He would be demanding for our performance — he would never be mean.

                My dad was the guy interviewed about working in a lab in the Arctic Circle. He is awesome, and I’m blessed in him as a dad and how he trained me to work.

            4. SCW*

              Actually, when I worked for my dad as a teenager it was 10x worse than working for any other employer, because he expected me to work ALL the time. And if I was sick, he’d be there to see how sick I really was and sometimes still give me work to do from home. Sure he might have bought me lunch more often than the other employees, but if he needed calls made at 8 pm and I was at home, he’d ask me to make the calls. I think he was that hard on us so we would find other jobs–he only let us work for him if we couldn’t find another summer job. It was motivation.

        3. Golden Yeti*

          I agree with MK.

          Where I am, the concentration of relatives to non-relatives is equal. However if it were a larger company and it wasn’t so concentrated, I’d like to think it would be a nicer work environment.

          And, OP, things work similarly here, so I feel your pain. From my experience, I would say choose your battles wisely and carefully. What is said to one relative will find its way to everyone. If this is just an annoyance and not something that you can prove is hindering your work, it’s not worth bringing up–especially right out of the gate.

          If you really like everything else about your job, and this is your only complaint, you’re doing well. These annoyances may compound over time, though, so it’s best to make a mental note now (while you’re not jaded) about what types of things you’re going to let go, and what types of things you’re going to speak up about. It will give you a framework for when you’re dealing with similar issues in the future (which will likely be the case).

    2. AB*

      Unless you otherwise exhibit signs of being unreliable or on drugs, I’m pretty sure that isn’t going to be the first conclusion people come to if you’re feeling woozy at work. Anytime I’ve been at work and shown signs of illness: difficulty focusing, sudden dizziness, flushed or pale, etc, people rightly assume I’m sick and tell me to go home.

    3. Steve G*

      Ugh, I hate the way people jump to the assumption. Personally, I’ve never known a drug addict or serious alcoholic, so my 1st assumption isn’t always “oh that person must be drunk,” when you see someone that looks sick or disoriented, but people do say things like that.

      1. Artemesia*

        The VIPs don’t work closely with or know the OP; it would not surprise me if they jumped to that conclusion — although it depends a bit on the other characteristics of the OP. If she is an older woman or even an older man — it is less likely to be the assumption; if a young person or someone whose personal style is hip or smart, then more likely.

        I was shocked when this happened to me — I was young in both cases. It never crossed my mind that returning from surgery and being woozy from the anesthetic would lead to me being viewed as a druggie — but it did.

    4. Ann Furthermore*

      Working for a family-run small business is different, no doubt. I did bookkeeping for a small family business while I was in college, and almost everyone was related, somehow, to the owner and his wife. The father was the president, and the mom was the office manager. They had 4 sons, and 2 of them worked for the business full time. One ran the production side of things, and the other was in charge of sales. The youngest one was in college, and worked there during summers and school breaks. And the oldest son worked there, but in a very limited capacity.

      He took drugs when he was younger, and severely abused them. When I worked at the company he was maybe in his mid 30’s, but was only able to do very basic janitorial type tasks like mopping floors and emptying the trash. I think his parents had to pick him up every morning because he had either lost his license, or was not able to drive at all, but many times they’d go by to pick him up and he wouldn’t be home because he’d stayed with friends or something because they’d been out partying all night. His dad got fed up with him once and told him to at least let them know if he wasn’t going to be home in the morning so they wouldn’t waste their time driving to his place to pick him up. I came in early one morning and one of the other brothers was there and showed me a note he’d found from this guy stuck to the door of the shop when he got there that said, “I’m stuck across town.” So obviously he’d decided he didn’t want to work that day, and that was how he let everyone know.

      Now of course that kind of thing wouldn’t fly in a place where he wasn’t related to the owners — he’d be fired before the end of his first week. But they wanted him to have a job, so he would at least have some responsibilities and be able to make a little bit of money, so they kept him on the payroll anyway. Their business, their money, their choice.

      But on the other side of that, they were so good to me when I worked there. They never batted an eyelash when I needed to flex my hours or cut back because of finals, projects, and so on. And I was perpetually broke, but the office manager (mom) would slide me $20 here and there when she knew I was really struggling. They didn’t care if I took a ream of paper here and there when I was out of paper for my own printer. They really did sort of take me in and make me an adopted member of their family when I worked there. So there were upsides to it for me too.

    5. really?*

      So, while you were on (prescribed) drugs, people assumed you were on drugs based on your behavior?

      Honestly, I don’t think you can say that the OP should be worried about people assuming drug use when that isn’t the case, based on your extremely biased experiences.

      1. Artemesia*

        I had one incidence of being dizzy because of a medication misdose and someone gossiped that I must be using drugs. I was a very straight arrow at the time. Honestly I think I can say that the OP should be aware that this sort of behavior is often taken as a sign of drug misuse because it happens all the time. We live in a country after all where drug testing in the workplace is common — it is something on the minds of employers. If I had fallen out during a meeting with VIPs, I would want to make sure my manager let them know that I had a medical issue. She was after all worried that they might fire her for inattention, so she is worried about the impression she made. All her manager needs to do is say something like ‘You’ll be relieved to know that Sally is fine today; she has a medical situation that occasionally causes her to feel faint.’ or somesuch.

    6. Lily in NYC*

      #2 -What? Of course drugs is not the first thing people think of when a coworker is woozy. Unless maybe you work in a meth lab.

  2. Chuchundra*

    OP#1, at my wife’s last job, the owner of the company gave here husband what was almost a no-show job. Half the time he was off touring with his band and even when he was there he did a minimal amount of work She would also hire her daughter and pay her handsomely to help out during the summer and other times when she was off from school.

    As Allison says, this is par for the course for a family-owned business.

    On the the other hand, if the job is working well for you, why is it your concern how long a break your co-worker takes, unless it’s directly affecting you or you’re her supervisor?

    1. MK*

      More than that, the OP doesn’t even say that the more flexible schedule is affecting the daughter’s work. Let’s face it, it’s completely unreallistic to expect someone in this situation to be treated exactly the same as other employees. And there often valid reasons for that; the family member could be working there since they were kids and have greater experience with the work than a coworker of equal rank, they may actually own part of the bussiness themselves, which puts them in a different category that other employees, etc.

    2. Sourire*

      “On the the other hand, if the job is working well for you, why is it your concern how long a break your co-worker takes, unless it’s directly affecting you or you’re her supervisor?”

      Exactly this. Unless your job is directly dependent on her being there (you need numbers from her to work on your own accounts for instance) there isn’t really too much your can or should do about this. Honestly, even if she wasn’t a family member but just a regular coworker I would probably advise the same. You never really know what’s going on behind the scenes or what kind of legitimate reasons there may be for certain coworkers to have “perks” that others do not seem to have.

      1. sunny-dee*

        Yeah, this has happened at both my aunt’s old work and at my dad’s work. An employee would hit the salary range for their position, so the company would work out other ways of compensating them, like, flex hours or long lunches or more vacation days.

        Or, since the daughter is sometimes out with her dad, they could be meeting with clients and doing other types of work (like networking or participating in the Chamber of Commerce) that are valid work tasks but she does them because she’s the daughter of the owner and it just fits.

    3. plain_jane*

      My last job, they had a couple of unpaid interns, and a couple of paid interns. The paid interns were all family. It’s just something you grow to expect, or at least not be surprised about. (Of course, the unpaid interns actually _needed_ the money, unlike the owner’s kids)

      For the OP, be careful around interactions with this person. Don’t complain about management decisions, behaviour or other colleagues around them, as it may get escalated much higher than you were planning.

      1. MK*

        It’s aggravating, but I think it’s important to keep things in perspective. If the owner’s kids didn’t work there, they would probably have four unpaid interns or just two unpaid ones. The owner’s kids may be getting an unearned perk, but it’s unlikely that they are depriving the others of anything.

    4. Lizzy*

      I definitely agree with your last point. I think preferential treatment of an owner or exec’s child would be more problematic if they were getting assigned better projects or don’t pick up their slack and get away with it, etc. As unfair as a longer lunch break may seem, it is not a hill worth dying on.

      1. Judy*

        Unless you are in the person’s management chain, you don’t know the agreements other people have. This might be made up at other times, it might be a regular doctor’s appointment for the employee or family, there are any number of private reasons.

        You should only complain if it affects your job. “When Jane is gone until after 2 pm, I can’t finish my daily XYZ report by the 2:30 deadline. How would you like me to handle this?”

  3. Lillie Lane*

    I used to get caught up in the “It’s not fair!” thoughts like the OP. It can destroy your morale. OP, it’s good you are recognizing this now. If you like everything else about this job, try to cheerfully let it go early on and it won’t get you bitter and eat you up over time.

    Plus, making an issue of it with any other staff would probably be fruitless and make you look petty. It’s just another example of life not being fair, so the best thing is to just move on.

    1. MK*

      Plus, you know, I usually find that it turns out to be fair after all. For the children of the owner, the family bussiness is often their future; it’s in their best interest to put more effort into their work than the average employee, who will likely leave in a few years with (hopefully) great work experience and good references. The family employee will have to stay there and make it work; if they are slacking off, they are quite literally stealing from themselves. And if they do leave for another job, they have a less usefull reference.

  4. Anx*

    #1- Keep in mind that sometimes in family business situations there is an overall lack of separating work and non-work. If someone is the owner and/or CEO, they are pretty much ‘always on.’ And if family works with them as well, that family member may be always on. Sometimes that means longer, leisurely during the day. But it can also mean working off the clock, even if just ‘talking shop,’ while regular employees aren’t spending their off-time with their boss.

    1. Anna*

      This. I worked for my family business out of college (I’ve since moved on). Not only would we talk about work often at dinner, but I was living with them to pay off my student loans faster, and there were many evenings and weekends when I’d be working on things for the business that needed to be done, but weren’t priorities during the work day. I only came into work four days a week, but when you totaled up my hours, I was 45+ per week.

    2. summercamper*

      This might absolutely be the case. My parents are hardcore entrepreneurs and run multiple small businesses. Their work has totally consumed their lives. My younger sister also got the entrepreneur bug, and works in the family business.

      To an outsider, my sister’s erratic hours and long lunches might look like she’s slacking off – but that’s far from the truth. She spends a lot of time – both on and off the clock – working directly alongside my parents to develop the business and her own understanding of it. Because she will one day inherit the company, it is important for her to get the extra training and development now. Also, sometimes my sister serves as my parent’s personal assistant – if they have a pressing business need, they’ll call on my sister to go pick up the dry cleaning / get lunch / etc. in a way that they wouldn’t feel comfortable asking a non-family employee to do. Rightly or wrongly, that’s the way it is.

      And like Anna said above, in some families, the line between business and family is blurred. For my sister, this is fabulous – she’s a hard worker who is devoted to the family business, and mixing personal with business works well for her. But I’m not that way. I don’t have a single entrepreneurial bone in my body, and the late-night “family business meetings” that I can’t contribute to really wear on me. One day, in a moment of frustration over another time that my family put their business ahead of personal matters, my husband exclaimed “You don’t HAVE a family – you have a BUSINESS!!!” He captured my sentiment exactly.

    3. Chinook*

      Ditto abotu family member employees always being “on.” When I go home to visit and if I want to see any of my mom’s new stock, I know that I can be put to work on a moments notice. Last time I had to ditch the parka and purse to run the cash register while my Mom helped another customer. Last Christmas, I was expected to work numerous long shifts while on my unpaid vacation from my regular job (I am a contractor) and think I was only paid after I complained to my dad about it (I think he mentioned that he wanted to ensure that I would come home for future Christmases). At no other job woudl I be expected to pitch in while on my time off.

  5. Stephanie*

    #4: I started a temp job recently and have slow periods (but I have to be available). I was told to bring reading material because there would be slow periods. Just like Alison said, I’m not really in a position to come up with autonomous work, so this may be your situation. But definitely ask before you bust out the book!

    1. Sharon*

      Agree. There are some lines of work where doing “hobby” stuff during work hours is acceptable. I used to do computer support for a 911 center and the dispatchers were always knitting or reading or whatever. In that business anything that keeps you alert is fine. Typically the important thing is that you can instantly drop your hobby/thing and do a real work task when called upon. (So don’t do computer games where your character gets killed if you glance away – lol!)

      1. Meg Murry*

        If your temp position is computer based, it could also be a good time to put yourself through some software tutorials. For instance, learn to mail merge and make table of contents in Word, learn to use Excel function like sum(), count(), sumif(), vlookup(), how to make charts and pivot tables, how to split a column of FirstNameLastName into 2 separate columns, etc. Teach yourself Photoshop if that’s installed on your computer, or consider trying out some elementary programming.
        Lynda .com has good training videos on lots of software for $25 a month, or you can find some OK tutorials by googling or just using the Office Help files.

      2. A Dispatcher*

        First time I’ve seen someone on here that so directly intersects with what I do! Excuse my excitement over that.

        We do have a lot of downtime on my shift (11pm – 7am), particularly in the winter (I’ve gone hours without saying a single word over the radio or answering a single 911 call if I’m on phones on a cold February night) so as Sharon said, it’s very acceptable for us to bring in things to do when we’re not busy. However, even though this is absolutely accepted practice, it’s customary to ask your supervisor when you’re new before you just whip out the newspaper or something. Sometimes they have suggestions like reading up on the ever changing policy and procedure or taking a class or refresher off the floor, so it’s worth talking with your supervisors as to how they want you to spend your time. If nothing else, I think they’ll be appreciative that you did bother to check in rather than just assume it would be okay, even though that assumption is likely correct.

        1. SerfinUSA*

          My partner is a dispatcher. There are serious problems with badmin and morale, so a major perk is being able to use downtime for reading, hobbies, watching movies etc.
          We (me, her, her coworkers) would much rather have a fully functional workplace, with managerial support and room for advancement, but that ain’t gonna happen.
          So yay for needlepoint, binge watching, music practice, etc.

          1. A Dispatcher*

            Badmin – I’ve never heard that before and am absolutely stealing it. We have those problems as well, compounded by a couple of toxic coworkers who either add to the problem or spend all of their time complaining about the problems and just creating a very negative environment. I really like almost all other aspects of my job and many of my coworkers, but sometimes it’s rough walking into such dysfunction (especially when one has to absolutely let all personal feelings/moods go when the phone rings or an officer calls out).

        2. Dan*

          I wasn’t a dispatcher, but when I worked overnights, we’d take turns napping when it was slow. Man, I miss that job.

          1. SerfinUSA*

            I dispatched for a private company with a weight room in the basement. There were always two people on duty, so one could nap or workout. But a main ‘thing’ at that place was calling radio station contests. The kind where the 3rd caller or whatever could win CDs or concert tickets (it was the 80’s). We had a lot of phones around and plenty of speed dialing practice :) DJ’s got to know us though, and we had to keep track of who won what & when before calling.

      3. SystemsLady*

        This is also true for me and some contractors in my industry. We usually get called specifically to do a certain thing at a certain date and time and often come in to find that the client isn’t quite ready (or end up with long breaks when something incomplete on their end is discovered midway through).

        There hasn’t been a single client who’s minded me or anybody else reading or browsing the Internet on our phones during the “hurry up and wait” period. Usually they’re more interested in trying to scramble everybody together so that we are getting paid to do something *other than* read or fiddle with our phones. As long as we work immediately when we’re given the work and offer to do what we can if we notice something we can help out with, what we do during wait time has no bearing on the client’s judgment of our work.

        It definitely depends on the situation and being somewhere with nothing to do is not automatic permission to do something you’d normally do on a break, though. In my case we usually get told explicitly that there’s nothing we can do and to sit around for a while and wait.

        Though I wouldn’t understand a manager who doesn’t have work prepared for a salaried or otherwise fixed hour employee (and tells them as much) and subsequently gets angry at them for doing something other than work. That is, as long as what they were doing was not distracting to others and appropriate for a professional environment.

  6. Seal*

    #2 – At a previous job a staff member from a different department had a grand mal seizure while working in our public service area. It was very loud and dramatic and absolutely terrifying to watch. The paramedics were called, but once they got there the staff member (who had stopped seizing by then) refused treatment and was actually upset the paramedics had been called at all. As it turned out, she had a long history of epilepsy and was having trouble with her anti-seizure meds. She didn’t tell anyone because she didn’t think she’d ever have a seizure at work. I believe her boss nicely told her that while everyone certainly wanted to respect her privacy, calling the paramedics was a reasonable, if not required, response to someone having a seizure, particularly if no one knew her medical history.

    So if you have a medical condition that may have a significant impact on your performance (almost passing out in a meeting definitely qualifies as significant) make sure you at least let your manager know. Far better that they know in advance than have to wonder what’s going on with you. Plus, in a worst case scenario, having someone around who can tell the paramedics that you have a preexisting condition may well save your life.

    1. AvonLady Barksdale*

      Agreed, +1, x1000. While privacy is very important, I think it’s more important to make certain information public. I have a few very good friends who have insulin-dependent Type I diabetes, some friends with severe allergies (peanuts, bees, etc.), and I know that if there is some kind of crisis, not only can I tell the paramedics or whoever is available to help, but I personally won’t freak out. This is crucial. Even on a smaller scale, when I had a procedure done that left me woozier than I expected, I told my manager (I didn’t have to give details) and he kept an eye on me. It’s good to have that kind of information in the hands of someone you trust, or at least in the hands of someone who has an obligation (legal or moral) to keep it quiet.

      1. Judy*

        Right. There is a girl scout leader in my council who staffs camp like I do. She makes a point of telling the adults who work with her that she is allergic to bees. She also shows us the small pocket in her backpack, with the large yellow zipper pull with a bee on it, that she keeps her epi-pen in. I’m fully prepared to get it for her to use, or even use it on her if she can’t. (Epi-pens are part of the first aid training we get.)

      2. Hlyssande*

        I have a friend who is literally allergic to alcohol, among many other things. If someone spills a drink on her, she goes to the hospital.

        She can’t have an epi-pen because it’s dissolved in an alcohol. An epi-pen would kill her. She carries the same meds in a pill form that’s slower, but how would someone know that without knowing her history?

        So yeah, depending on the severity of the condition it can be absolutely critical that someone else is in the know.

        1. Chinook*

          “She can’t have an epi-pen because it’s dissolved in an alcohol. An epi-pen would kill her. She carries the same meds in a pill form that’s slower, but how would someone know that without knowing her history?”

          This is why we were taught in first aid training not to use medication on a patient unless the patient gave it to us (and why first aid kits aren’t stocked with epi pens)

          1. Elizabeth West*

            Yes, we were taught the same thing. Also, epi-pens and the like have short shelf lives (and are prescription only). You wouldn’t want to need one and have it be expired.

      3. Chinook*

        “While privacy is very important, I think it’s more important to make certain information public.”

        It doesn’t even have to be truly public. If you have trained First Aiders/Fire Wardens who would typically be called on in an emergency (which we do in my industry), it wouldn’t be a bad idea to give them a heads up. In my office, we already ask this of those who are nto able to walk the 26 fligths of stairs down in an evacuation.

    2. Graciosa*

      Yes, please, please, please say something. As a manager, I want to know – not out of curiosity but because part of my job is making sure my employees are safe at work. It’s not something I usually have to worry about too much, but when it comes up, it is really important.

      I have an employee with a medical situation now, and I have been able to point that individual toward company resources (including the on-site nurse who is now better prepared in case of emergency), adjust work schedules, and divert the attention of co-workers who were asking questions before the employee was ready to discuss it.

      I can’t help with anything I don’t know about – please say something.

      1. Michele*

        I agree with all of the above. In addition, I would also recommend that you get a medic alert bracelet or necklace in case you are out in public and something happens. I was an ambulance rider in school one semester and we went on a call where a man had passed out at his desk at work. One of the reasons his co-workers knew they needed to call for help was because they realized that his bracelet noted a heart condition. He was totally fine but it was very scary for the people in his office.

        1. Jipsy's Mom*

          Anyone interested in a medical alert ID of some sort should check out Road ID. They make many different styles of identification (bracelets, dog tags, etc) engraved with your contact information. They have an interactive version where you can put your medical information into their website under a PIN, associated with the Serial # on your ID. First responders can call a 1-800 number or access a web-based version to see medical conditions, medication, etc. The product was developed as a way for runners & cyclists to have an unobtrusive ID with them at all times (mine velcros to my running shoe laces so I don’t have to think about it), but it’s an awesome product with a lot of uses.

    3. Mister Pickle*

      This. I don’t think I have much to add to what’s already been said, but it seems highly unlikely that you get into trouble over this as a one-time occurrence. But if it became a pattern – and your management doesn’t know about the underlying issue – *then* you might see some “trouble”.

      And if privacy is an issue, make sure your mgr knows this, and ask them to keep it on a “need to know” basis. I can’t speak for everyone, but at my company a manager who can’t keep employee medical info private is on the fast past to becoming an ex-employee.

      There is conceivably a “downside” to this, in that you may be obligated to put some substantial time, effort, and money into working out the most effective treatment for your problem. But you owe it to yourself and to others to do this. I mean, it may have been embarrassing during this meeting – but what if you’d been driving?

    4. Emily*

      The LW said that her immediate manager does know about her condition–it was the higher-up VIPs she was in the meeting with who are unaware and she was wondering whether she should have disclosed to them.

    5. Elizabeth West*

      Yes, please make someone aware of the potential problem if your coworkers might have to call 911 for you during the work day.

      During first aid / CPR training last week, we were told that it’s wise to do this, especially with a condition that could cause sudden cardiac arrest at any time, to have someone be aware of it so that people trained to help can assess you quickly. Our instructor said, “Privacy is nice, but it’s in your best interest to let someone know.”

    6. Bwmn*

      I just have to add to this that for non-medical professionals especially, these kinds of responses are very scary. I faint more than the average, and despite my family knowing that it is not life threatening nor worthy of a 911 call it is still scary for them to see.

      At places I’ve found ways to tell either my manager or HR, and it’s always been received thankfully and had no other impact at work. I’ve also never had someone at work press for more details about my condition or general health, but just to be happy to know what to do or not. Because having someone tell you when they’re sitting upright and look healthy “Hey, I have this condition that may result in these symptoms, and this is what’s most helpful” sounds far more reassuring than someone who’s just passed out saying “No really, I’m fine”.

      1. Cath in Canada*

        Yeah, I go through 3-4 year phases sometimes when I faint every few months, for no apparent reason (I’ve had my heart checked and it’s fine). I never told my husband because the last episode was in my late teens/early 20s, well before I met him, and I thought I’d grown out of it… then I fainted three hours into a transatlantic flight and he completely freaked out! Poor guy, I think he was more affected by it than I was (I woke up, kinda went “oh, this again?”, kept my head down by my knees for the rest of the flight, and was fine by the time we landed. He was having nightmares about it for days).

    7. Not So NewReader*

      Refused the paramedics, really? Just wow. I have assisted on a number of seizures and I have never seen anyone refuse the paramedics. Typically, after a grand mal they sleep for a bit. (Extreme burst of energy equals extreme fatigue.) I cannot imagine anyone being able to say “hey, no thanks”.
      I am glad she was spoken to about this. It is not fair to force inexperienced people to assist in a grand mal, especially if they don’t want to. Someone is going to end up very badly hurt. Additionally, EMTs told me that if you touch a person wrong you could trigger them to have another seizure. Waaay too much responsibility for someone who is not trained.

      1. Artemesia*

        The cost to the patient of an ambulance run and ER visit is enormous even with insurance — so people who frequently have issues like this are looking at huge bills — so of course they ‘refuse the paramedics’ as they don’t want to incur these costs.

  7. GrumpyITGuy*

    #1: I would let it go. Even if there was something you could do, it could work against you and you could get fired or end up with a very bad relationship with the owners of the company. If this situation affects you, it’s better to look for another job.

  8. Spooky*

    OP #2 – I’m so sorry you’re dealing with this. I can’t even imagine how difficult the last few months have been for you.

  9. Daisy*

    2. I think you’re worrying too much- it would be a pretty stunning overreaction to fire someone for going a bit woozy during a meeting, even if it wasn’t due to a serious condition. Most likely, no one noticed, and if it was enough to notice then people would assume you weren’t well.

    1. OhNo*

      I’ll second this. OP, you said your boss already knows about your condition, so even if any of the VIPs do bring it up for any reason, your boss is already in a position to say that you weren’t feeling well and it’s not common for you to do that.

      Besides, everyone has off days! I think most reasonable people will assume that you were just feeling a bit unwell that day – it would only be if this happened repeatedly that it would become something you may want to mention.

  10. East Coast Anon*

    #1 – There will always be someone at work who can get away with things that you can’t, family business or not.

  11. Maggie*

    #4 I have done a lot of temping since my last permanent job was made redundant in the recession and I sometimes get quiet spells too during holiday times. Depending on the management style, I like to have a chat or send an email beforehand to ask what particular tasks the team/line manager would like me to tackle, in addition to any of the usual stuff. If you phrase it right you can come across as a proactive team member but without highlighting the “lack of work” too much. If you draw too much attention to dips it might backfire as they might end the contract early/reduce your hours, cover or no cover.

  12. TotesMaGoats*

    #1-This is a let it go thing. I’d hazard a guess and say that at just about every business somebody is getting away with slacking off, whether they are the owner’s kid or just the golden child. If no one else is making a big deal then it’s not worth it for you to. Enjoy your job and know that this person may have a rough awakening when if they ever work somewhere else.

    #2-I was glad to read that your boss knows about your health issue. I was expecting to read that you hadn’t told them anything and were afraid to mention that on top of it. Just make sure your boss is aware of your concerns. They should be able to allay your fears.

    1. Judy*

      I’ve worked at companies that have had thousands of people in one location, and there are still times when there is a new hire engineer who is son of director in other part of organization. Some people have better connections than others, and that’s how it is. Depending on the organization, and how “political” it is, it’s not unusual for more leeway for some of those people. Or sometimes everyone is harder on them.

      It’s like going to school where your parent is a teacher. It’s either harder or easier than it would be normally. And sometimes both.

      1. Camellia*

        I know I’m late coming to comment, but I also want to point out that this is a good reason to behave professionally all the time and to everyone you meet. By this I mean don’t badmouth anyone, don’t gossip, etc. You never know to whom that person may be connected.

        The best example I have is a crowded lunchroom and me the only one at a table eating and reading. Three women asked if they could share the table and I of course agreed. I couldn’t keep reading, it just felt too rude even though I didn’t know them, so I listened to their conversation and participated only when I had something constructive/positive to say, even when they began to discuss a couple of people in my own department in a somewhat negative light – I stuck to my own hard and fast rule. Boy was I glad when, a few minutes later, one of them decided to introduce herself and her companions. She was the daughter of the VP of my department!

  13. Cereal Killer*

    OP#2- It sounds like you’ve had a really rough year. I’m sorry to hear about the loss of your mother, and with a diagnosis of your own, no wonder you are feeling vulnerable right now. But if you work for/with decent people (and based on your manager’s and coworker’s reaction I would say you do) you absolutely shouldn’t worry about losing your job over a woozy incident or two. Alison gave great advice as always and you really should have an open conversation about it with your manager/HR and how to handle it in the future. But please don’t stress about losing your job over this. Most people, even if they didn’t know your history, would view this as someone who didn’t feel well and have sympathy for them.

    1. the_scientist*

      Agreed. OP #2, all the best and I hope your condition is manageable. I also second the suggestion to get a medic alert bracelet. I have a significant family history of a rare(ish) and often fatal heart condition called Long QT and all my family members who have been diagnosed wear medic alert bracelets that have proved helpful during fainting episodes. While my family is very fortunate to not have lost anyone as a result of this condition, I have been through the testing/waiting for diagnosis or rule out period myself (and for other family members) and know how stressful it is. All the best to you and I am sending good thoughts your way.

      1. TotesMaGoats*

        I second this. My mom developed epilepsy later in life and her seizures look like she’s fainting. She hasn’t had a seizure in ten years but it’s reassuring to know that if she was in public and did that EMT’s would know what’s going on.

      2. Rita*

        Ugh, Long QT. My cousins have it, didn’t get diagnosed till one of collapsed and died (at 26). Now the others have defibrillators in their chests.

  14. weasel007*

    #2 – I fainted at work in October during a weird migraine. I also have a heart condition, and it was discovered that I have an anuerism in my head (now I have a double whammy). Paramedics came to my desk (I am in a skyskraper so EVERYONE knew) and I went to the ER. My boss came with me to the ER. Any decent boss will NOT reprimand you. They will want to know that you are ok. If they blame you at all, or give you any problems that is a sign to leave asap. You do NOT want to work for an organization that doesn’t care for you (and there are plenty that don’t), so this may be a way to find out if you work for a jerk.

    I will say this: I had been working way too hard and way too many hours on releases prior to this time. In some ways, I think it woke my upper management up to plan for shorter shifts for those of us on the front lines. I know it could have been a confidence killer, but in my case my letting management know what was going on has helped me. I’ve been able to inact a better shift schedule that is more sustainable and allows me to get the rest I need to stay well and do a great job.

  15. Graciosa*

    Regarding #4, reading would be great for me – hours of uninterrupted time with a book (or better yet, many books on my e-reader) sounds like a gift. You can also see if there is any “productivity” software already loaded on your machine. I do not recommend adding anything the IT department hasn’t approved if there isn’t, but I’m sometimes surprised at what comes with the standard corporate-imaged system.

    Also, crossword puzzles or word games are discreet (you can tear the pages out and look like you’re doing paperwork).

    Bring a box of your own paperwork from home to organize.

    If you keep an electronic photo album, you could work on that.

    Research your next vacation. Or an ideal vacation. Or a bucket list.

    Write handwritten letters to family and friends.

    Get a good financial planning book and organize your financial life for the new year.

    Depending upon your visibility and the office culture, you might be able to practice origami, or do tangrams or needlework.

    Get some graph paper and plan your ideal dream house. Or vacation cabin.

    All of this assumes that you have done whatever you can do for the business, but it is possible for the work to run out and the business to still think it’s worth it to pay someone to be there just in case. If that happens to you, there are lots of ways to enjoy it.

    1. OhNo*

      All of these are great ideas. Also, depending on your interests, you might consider trying an online class of some kind. I’ve seen quite a few MOOCs that have self-paced learning, with readings that you could do in your down time at work. I’m also going to second what someone said above about trying some software tutorials or lessons.

      If you’re going to be paid to sit around, why not build some skills while you’re at it?

  16. OP#2*

    Hi all, OP#2 here! Thank you all for your condolences and input- my manager (typed “boss” in the OP instead, oops) does know what’s going on, and she and the rest of my team have been incredibly supportive. As it happens, I technically report to the HR department, even though my job is more IT, so I have enough pamphlets on counseling and benefits and disabilities and FMLA to give my cube some new wallpaper :) The medical alert bracelet is a great idea, though, especially since I take public transit to work.

    (Also, there was a social event this weekend with some of the VIPs, and it turns out two of them either didn’t notice or didn’t care, and the third… even if he did have an issue, he might not be on the project too much longer, so there’s that.)

    1. CTO*

      I’m glad to hear that your work team has been supportive and helpful through this tough time. I’m also glad to hear that the VPs didn’t think poorly of you. Everyone has off days, whether or not it’s due to illness. If your VPs have ever worked with you on other occasions and know that you’re usually engaged and hardworking, I’m sure they realized that you were just feeling sick during that one meeting. Any halfway-reasonable person would write it off and not even think about firing you.

    2. Not So NewReader*

      A good friend had some nasty medical problems and a not-so-hot company and they kept her. (That is a very long story, made way too short.) I think you will be okay here. In time you will probably find out that one of the VPs or a family member of a VP has difficulty so the VPs are well aware that life happens. Please focus on you and keeping you healthy.

  17. Mister Pickle*

    #3: I suppose it goes without saying that you’ll want to get a good review from this manager before you indicate that you’d like to continue to work with her.

    I’m going to slightly disagree with AAM and say that it’s totally okay to ask about her future plans. Even if she’s not ready or willing to discuss her actual plans with you, she’s almost certainly got “25 words or less” on the topic, ready to go.

    All that said: if you really enjoy working with this person, and you feel like you’re part of an effective team, etc, then by all means let her know. It doesn’t have to be a big deal – something simple like “I feel like I work very well with you. If your job responsibilites change, I hope you know that I’m available if you need me” (or words to that effect)(really, Alison is the master when it comes to the subtleties of phrasing stuff like this).

    Finally: it’s important that you genuinely feel this way about your manager. If she’s as good as you say she is, she’ll know if you’re expressing a sincere interest in keeping a good thing going. Sometimes people say stuff like this as worthless flattery – don’t think she won’t know it for what it is.

    1. Ms Enthusiasm*

      I agree I think it is ok to ask your boss about her future plans. If you are really close to her then the question can be more specific like what department would you be interested in working in next. But you can always ask a more general question like Where do you see yourself in 1, 2, 5 years.

  18. Van Wilder*

    #1 – Is it really family owned (as in, the family members are the only investors) or is it just family-run? Technically, the outside investors are the true owners and if they are accepting money from outsiders, the CEO is violating his fiduciary responsibility to the company’s investors by paying his daughter to not work.

    That said, I don’t know if there’s anything to be done about it. But it might be harming more than just the daughter.

    1. MK*

      The OP didn’t actually say that the daughter didn’t work, or even that she produced less, either in quality or in quantity. It’s debateable whether she even works less hours; she might be making it up by working at home in the evenings.

      Generally, I don’t think investors would be all that concerned with the owner’s daughter getting a few perks; it’s how thw world works. It would be another issue if she was being paid a salary and never showed up; that would be drect misuse of the investors’ money. But the whole point of being an investor is not having to deal with the details of running the bussiness.

      1. Meg Murry*

        Or depending on her family situation, if she is living at home and getting a ride with her family members, she may be stuck waiting for them at work until the CEO decides he is ready to go home – so you see a 1.5 hour lunch, but what you don’t see is her still at the office at 7 pm working while waiting for her ride.

        I agree with everyone upthread that unless it directly affects you (effects? I can never remember) by causing you more work – ignore it. And even if it does cause you more work, tread very lightly – complaining about the CEOs daughter is not a good way to move forward in a family run company.

  19. HR Manager*

    #2 – If this is related to a medical condition, and the HR team and your manager are aware of this, they cannot fire you for having a medical episode in the meeting. The practical end of things – I would think (hope?) senior management would be concerned for your well-being, not take issue with someone fainting.

    If they are not sympathetic, and ask HR or your manager to discipline you for that, HR absolutely should intervene and say that is not permissible and that there is a known reason for this to happen. No details should be provided to management re: the condition – just that HR is aware of a medical reason for this incident. I’ve never had management question this type of response. If senior management is being ridiculous and pushes, HR should push back that they are asking or something unlawful that opens them up to a lawsuit, and that they are taking on a huge legal risk. If need be, I would even advise a meeting with an employment lawyer who would hopefully dissuade them from such a silly path.

  20. Rae*

    1) The thing that struck me most is that she has long lunch breaks with her dad. My guess is he’s probably grooming her for a position. Yes, there are a few people who would let a family member get away with murder, but that’s usually because they don’t want to deal with said family member. If the father just wanted to give her money, he could. I’d say once the author of this letter is around for a while, it may be good to ask questions about how you can support said daughter or how you may be included in on meetings. For instance, ” I noticed that CEO Daughter works a very different schedule from us. I want to ensure that I’m doing my best to keep up. Is there anything that I need to be doing or adjustments to my schedule to become a greater asset to the company?”

  21. KJR*

    #1 — Not only have I worked for family own/run businesses for my entire adult life, I have been their HR Manager as well. This has put me in some rather unique situations over the years, but I have become circumspect about them as time passes. I have been treated more than fairly by both companies, so have come to the conclusion that the rest of it is just part of working for a family owned business. Some things aren’t “fair” on the surface, but as other commenters have pointed out, there’s often more to it than meets the eye. For me, the pros have far outweighed the cons. I just know that there are some areas where acceptance is the route I need to take.

    As far as advancement opportunities, as other commenters have noted, I think it depends on the size of the company as well as the skills you have to offer. In my case, no family members were in HR, so it worked out for me in both the larger and smaller companies for whom I have worked.

  22. Jen S. 2.0*

    Adding my voice to the chorus on #1 — it’s VERY possible, and even likely, that she is involved with the company in a manner that you don’t see, or is being held to a different standard because her role / position in the business is different. The fact that she goes to even occasional 1.5 hour meetings / events with the big boss is a huge flag that she is learning about the company in ways you and others at your level aren’t. Clearly, her role is not dependent on face time, whereas yours may well be.

    Unless it’s directly affecting your work, or is a clear crime or ethical breach, mind your own business and get your own work done, instead of worrying about where she is 20 minutes after you get back from your lunch. This is a good rule of thumb for you at all jobs. Your job is the one that should matter to you. Unless they affect you, others’ jobs don’t usually need to be your concern.

  23. Victoria*

    As the daughter of someone who owns their own business of 12 employees, and who intermittently worked for the company on and off since 15, I can say that in a family run business you may not know all the things that go into that person’s job. Maybe her dad takes her on client meetings during lunch in hopes of handing the business over to her. Maybe she works at home late at night trying to solve staffing problems around the dinner table. If she’s like me, she probably works for free in her spare time even when she’s moved on to another company. Or, like my brother, mom, and I did one summer, spends evening or weekends repainting the office, taking out the trash and cleaning the office. It’s true that it may not be fair to the other employees who have shorter lunches or less flexibility, but the father probably sees the business as a legacy and wants to train his children to deal with the issues that come with managing your own business– which includes those weekend hours and doing whatever’s needed of you, even if it’s not in your job description.

    1. Kristie*

      Exactly! Non-family members don’t see the “behind-the-scenes stuff.” All they see are the perceived perks of being the owner’s daughter. Yes, when I worked at my family’s business I would get to leave early occasionally, or take a longer lunch with my dad, or whatever. But what people don’t see is that the role also comes with a great deal of pressure and a lot of extra hours and responsibility.

      I really take offense to OP’s comment about it being a “tad unprofessional.” Mind your own damn business. You’re new, focus on your own performance and stop worrying about other people and how long they take for lunch.

  24. Willow+Sunstar*

    Be cautious of surfing the net as a temp at work. Some companies still are in the Internet Dark Ages and do not allow people to surf the net, to the point where it is a fireable offense.

  25. A CEO's Daughter*

    CEO’s daughter gets special treatment
    I was that daughter a few years ago. Other employees didn’t realize this, but I was working on the phone with my father every single night, learning the business backwards and forwards. I didn’t get paid for all of those late nights (and I still don’t). It was always expected of me to give that extra time because it was going to be my company someday. I took long breaks during the day to get some personal things done and I still do. Reason? When there is an emergency (our field of business can have an emergency any time of day and often does) at 3 AM, I’m the one that has to get up and go deal with it, snow, sleet, hail, whatever. If the office alarm goes off accidentally and the police are dispatched on a Saturday night, I have to stop what I’m doing and go deal with it. It all evens out in the end. Also, most of us daughters and sons working in the family business, being trained for the ultimate take-over one day, have to give up a HUGE part of life… having a Father or Mother or both that is JUST our parent and not our boss as well. I speak to my father about 15 times a day and maybe twice out of an entire week, do we actually touch base on anything personal. We talk about work 98% of the time, it consumes my life and my family life is diminished. When I get home at night, the only thing I left is the office, the work NEVER leaves. The only reason I’m taking the 5 minutes on a Sunday night to post this is because I was looking on this site to find a way to write a memo to employees about who will be in charge while I’m out for fertility treatments. Oh and by the way… they have no idea why I can’t get pregnant. They say it’s probably the stress of carrying the weight of the family business on my shoulders. TRUST ME, this girl probably has a lot more stress due to her family business than she’ll ever tell you or admit to. A “Daddy’s Girl”‘s worst nightmare is letting him down.

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