Hello! I’m Emilee Montpellier, and I’m the Manager/Recruiter at Plan A Glengarry. Today I have decided to share my journey in this new endeavour so far!
No matter how much we love them, for many people, the thought of working with their mother would be enough to make their hair stand. But it’s what I’ve been doing since September of 2019 and I have to say, it’s been absolutely fabulous!
I have learned a few things about working with my mother that I figured I could share with you! Feel free to save these tips and apply them in your own life if you are currently working with your mother or another family member, or if you ever end up doing so!
- Start from a strong relationship: It’s probably a bad idea for a parent to hire a child (or vice versa) if they don’t have a strong relationship to start with. My mother and I have always been very close and we understand each other on every level. Make sure you have the right type of relationship before you enter the business world together—one where you can be totally honest with each other when something is on your mind. History matters when it comes to working together every day. My mother being my boss is honestly the best of both worlds and has only further strengthened our relationship.
- Have fun and celebrate your successes: A workplace needs to be a mixture of fun and productivity, especially when working with your mom. You need to be able to laugh and celebrate your successes. You can’t let your relationship become one where the focus is only about work all of the time. Having fun lunch dates and getting out of the office is always a go-to for us. Take the time to balance the two whenever appropriate.
- Disregard the negative views: Let go of feeling a lack of respect from others and forget about how others view your work dynamic. Even if you’re the most qualified person for the job, your coworkers, staff and clients may assume you were hired simply because you’re the boss’ child (or vice versa). Remember why you were hired in the first place; you would have never been hired if you weren’t a valuable asset that could make positive contributions to the business. I always like to prove my mother, and others, right in this regard. As a daughter, I bring youth and vibrancy into the office. I maintain new trends, new technology, and environmental changes within our workplace and my mother enjoys that. Don’t lose sight of what you’re great at just because others have a different view of your position.
- Be assertive and supportive: Yes, a mother knows all but that does not mean you don’t have something to contribute. It’s important to assert your thoughts and ideas, which will make your relationship stronger at the end of the day. My mother always acknowledges my point of view and appreciates my hard work. Being able to establish a workplace boundary where your skills complement rather than start a competition is ideal. Being supportive is very important in the business world because everyone deserves positive feedback, constructive criticism, and recognition. Mutual respect and appreciation go a long way in the office.
- Make time for family time: Be strict about not talking about work out of office hours. My mother and I live by the motto “work is done for the day; we will talk about it tomorrow at the office.” Of course, sometimes it does feel nearly impossible not to discuss work, and there have been times when we couldn’t stick to that rule, but we always try to remember that we want our social gatherings to be fun and exciting and that work conversations can always wait. I will say that it’s much easier when my own daughter is present because my mom (AKA Boss Lady) is turned into Nona and we can focus on family and the things that matter most in life. Separating work time and bonding time is essential to not feeling like your relationship is only boss-employee.
- Listen to each other: A lot of children tend to tune out their mother’s lectures. It’s easy when it starts with “When I was younger” … In this case, your parent/boss is the expert, they likely have the training and experience and you need to understand that to listen. I feel like I’ve always valued my mom’s opinion except when I wished I had followed her advice with that boyfriend in college…but I’m sure we’ve all been there! As an employee, you need to take any criticism in a positive way because she wants you and this business to succeed. Listening to each other’s boundaries, emotions and thoughts can go a long way; being open and communicating is beneficial for this relationship to work—in and out of the office.
~ Emilee Montpellier, Manager/Recruiter, Plan A Glengarry