Canadian Contractor

Working in the family business… the train tracks rule

"There was a set of train tracks halfway between home and work. Which side of the train tracks this couple was driving on, would determine whether there were in home-mode or work-mode as far as how they communicated...."


June 26, 2014
By Steve Payne

Reader Rosanna weighed in, today, with her comment on our What Would You Do?” case study, in which a fictional renovation contracting firm risks falling apart because of a personal relationship between the lead carpenter and the owner of the firm’s daughter, who works part time in the business.  (We promise you were are NOT gonna turn into Harlequin Books… this is a typical real-life situation for many contractors, when it comes to sons-in-law, daughters-in-law, and so on….)

Here is what Rosanna had to say about that…

“A business atmosphere should be kept on the professional level. Work and play do not mix. I heard of one couple that were both working in the family business and they set an agreement to keep things professional at work. There was a set of train tracks halfway between home and work. Which side of the train tracks they were on determined what atmosphere they had to work within. The home side was the personal relationship and the work side of the tracks was professional. So as soon as they crossed the tracks on the way to work they would be start referring to each other professionally – so by the time they got to work they were already in professional mode.”

– Rosanna

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