Quitting the family-run business is 100% possible and easier done than you think
A family business is such a wonderful thing for most people, but for others it can be the most miserable thing in your life.
If you’re on this page, you’ve probably had enough of the family business and want to know how to quit without upsetting anyone or burning bridges.
Fortunately you have landed on the best page because I specialize in people leaving their job to do what they love, and I do this for a living!
In this article you will learn to identify why you want to leave the family business, why you might’ve joined in the first place and how to make the smoothest transition possible so you’re not left as the most hated member of the family.
It’s not easy but neither is staying in something you don’t enjoy and makes you unhappy, but it is certainly possible and you CAN be the in control of your own destiny again!
It is not YOUR fault!
It does not matter how you ended up at the family business, because at the end of the day you are there now and you are stuck in a rut.
I want you to know that leaving a family business is a difficult task and not always as straightforward as it sounds, as you’ve probably found out firsthand and the reason you landed on this page.
The level of difficulty it takes to leave increases with time and that’s why the longer you’re in the business for, the more you’ll feel like leaving isn’t an option
You’ll just feel like you’re letting everyone down and making them mad at you, and who wants to upset their loved ones, right?
Have you considered all options and alternatives?
Below I list all the reasons you may want to quit your job, but before I show you them I want to know; have you done your due diligence to ensure you are absolutely ready to leave the family business, for ALL the right reasons and not just because you can’t stand your father or mother anymore.
You may have talked it out with your family members on a consistent basis, but the same issues arise and the exact same thing happens again.
If this continues to happen, maybe, just maybe it’s time to see a professional therapist.
They will help you understand everyone’s point of view and allow you to see the bigger picture and fully understand your parents anger and issues and not just your own.
You will grow immense empathy for others and it might be a lot easier than just running from the problem altogether and quitting
Also, another alternative to getting what you want is to simply ask.
Communication goes a long way, not just in the workplace but in everything in life.
Communication is everything and if you’re not letting people know what you want and what you’re looking to get out of the business, how can anyone help you?
Speaking up might be difficult for you, but it certainly is the best way to go about getting what you want.
Reasons You May Want To Quit
You have other dreams you want to pursue
Being in the family business might not have been your dream from the very start.
You might’ve been forced to join due to your parents and now it feels like you aren’t living your OWN dreams.
This is a very common reason so many people want to quit the family business.
They are grateful for the opportunity the family has offered them but, just like you’ve found out, it is not your dream career and you have other things you want to do in life.
If this sounds like you, at the end of the day it is your life and you should not live to make other people happy other than yourself!
There may be too much conflict
More often than not if you’re still living at home AND working at the family business, this can cause a lot of tension and conflict for everyone involved.
Not only are you in each others faces at home but also at work, and it’s affecting everyone involved, the quality of work but more importantly the family’s relationship.
And at the end of the day, we’ve only got one family and I don’t think it’s worth destroying your relationship over a family business when there’s a way to avoid it in the first place.
The way to avoid it is to leave before it gets too out of hand and no turning back from something that someone may regret.
If you’re nodding your head in agreement, you know all too well what I’m talking about. It is certainly a viable reason to leave and you know it.
You’re experiencing extreme unhappiness
Maybe the job isn’t satisfying anymore, or you’re so advanced that there’s literally nothing more to it than what you already do.
You might also not feel that you get to make any decisions because your family is always making them, and they never want to hear your opinion even though you’re apart of the family business too.
Not feeling in control of your own destiny is frustrating and an overwhelming feeling of unhappiness can hover over you for a long time in this situation.
If you’re feeling unhappy and hate going to work everyday, without an ounce of happiness in your body, then something needs to change because this could lead to all sorts of problems later down the line, especially depression.
You don’t feel in control of your own destiny
Being in control of your own life and having the ability to make decisions to benefit you and your own future is true freedom.
Not being in control of your own destiny when you 100% KNOW how much ability you have and how far you can go, can be one of the most frustrating things ever.
A lot of workers in family businesses feel too much pressure to stay even when they don’t want to, mainly because it’s their families business and they don’t want to let anyone down.
But this stops you from living out your life and creating your own destiny.
I know you want more, I know retiring at the family business isn’t what you signed up for from the very start!
Well fortunately there are options to get out and I will discuss them at the bottom of this article.
You don’t believe that there’s room for change
If you’ve been in the same business for many years and still hate it, then what makes the upcoming years any different?
I’m all for positivity and optimism, but even after working years without finding anything new or exciting, anyone can see that something is not right and maybe you need a career change.
You need to find your job satisfying and rewarding, and if the family business doesn’t offer that, you’re only kidding yourself when you keep telling yourself “it’ll get better with time”.
Because more often than not, it’ll still be the same in the next 5, 10 and even 15 years down the line.
And are you ready for that? That’s the million dollar question.
Why Did You Join?
Were you all for the thrill of working side by side with your loved ones?
Did you just want to see what it was like to work side by side with your father, mother and siblings?
I know it sounds like an absolute great time as you won’t have to deal with the usual bullsh*t that comes with a real employer and coworkers.
You already know your coworkers and your employers brought you into this world, so what could go wrong?
Of course there are some pros and cons to this but if there are more cons than pros, maybe the thrill of not having a real boss just isn’t worth it.
Did you get offered the opportunity straight out of high school?
Were you offered the job from a young age and was it your first venture into the workforce straight out of school?
Usually this is the case with most family businesses and your parents expect you to do really well and take over when they retire.
This puts massive pressure on you after a few years down the line when you realize it’s not actually what you want to do in life and you have other dreams you want to pursue.
No ones to blame as most young people join the family business but the problems arise when you don’t actually want to do it for the rest of your life.
If there wasn’t enough problems in the family as it is, you wanting to leave is certainly going to be a big wake up call for them.
However, there are certainly ways to ease the pain and anger and I’ll talk about that in a minute.
Did you want to make your family proud?
Don’t feel bad if this is true because this happens a lot of the time.
You are young and don’t really know anything about the business world, nor do you want to let your mom and dad down after offering you an opportunity at the family business straight out of school!
This is a common reason people work in the family business, however, things become a little more difficult after you find out it’s not what you want to do in life and there are other things, much better things calling your name out in the big bad world!
How to Create a Smooth Transition
Identify the problems
Now I went through some reasons you may want to quit at the start of this article.
This may or may not be your problem, but you need to find the biggest problem you have with your workplace and take action at fixing them one by one.
Of course not all problems can be solved, and a lot of them won’t be solved due to other people (mom or dad) not wanting anything in their business to change because “we’ve always done it this way”.
If fixing a problem is a big no-no and you’re experiencing a great deal of unhappiness, changing the situation altogether is probably the best way and it will eliminate these problems instantly.
Even if that does mean walking away.
Is there absolutely no chance of change?
Have you considered all alternatives possible to ensure nothing is going to change now or later down the line?
Or is there still room for improvement in all areas of the business? (both relationship and workplaces changes)
I hope you’re not lying to me and coming up with all the excuses under the sun to avoid talking it out with your loved ones, because sometimes all it takes is a simple talk to work everything out.
Identify the pros and cons
I want you to identify the pros and cons for leaving your job.
Write them down and do that for the very first year of leaving along with year 3, year 5 and year 10.
You should come up with a lot of them, but a general thumb is this;
If you find that the cons heavily outweigh the pros, and the cons are making you unhappy just looking at them, then maybe it is in your best interest to leave and your hunches were right all along.
Talk to your parents and be 100% honest
Honesty is the best policy and being honest with your parents will be the best thing for you and your relationship moving forward.
They will respect your decisions as long as you’ve considered all the alternatives and you know that this isn’t the right career path for you, not now, not ever.
Tell them you are thankful for the opportunity, the skills you got to learn and experience you gained while working with them and that you are going to put what you have learned to good use in all other areas of your life, including your new career path.
In most cases they will be a little upset and maybe a little angry, but they will respect your decision and the anger will subside soon enough.
Don’t leave when emotions are high and at a bad time
Do not and I repeat, do not leave when important tasks are due and they’re counting on you to get them done swiftly and in a timely manner.
Leaving when the business is in distress could be one of the worst things you could do and might cause family issues that are even more difficult to repair later on.
You should also not leave when emotions are high, such as when you’re angry at your family members or when clouds of emotions are over you and all you want to do is drop your stuff and quit on the spot.
Doing this can and will create irreparable problems and the reason I want you to think rationally as possible when emotions are high and stress levels are through the roof.
Do not gloat or talk bad about coworkers or the company
Your parents are going to be upset as it is
If you start saying bad things about coworkers and other family members, you’re only going to make matters worse and you’ll have less chance of getting their blessing.
So the better option in this instance is to avoid “smack” talk at all costs and you should have a very successful transition from being a worker in the family business to a respectful and well-respected family member.
More importantly, do NOT talk smack about the business or be a negative nancy.
Do not gloat about your new career opportunity either, just tell them what they need to hear and that’s it.
Can you build onto what you learnt over the years?
If you seem to absolutely love what you do or you think you’ve had enough experience in the industry to move on to other roles at another company, this might be a viable choice.
Taking into consideration that your sole reason for leaving is that there is too much conflict and no matter how hard you try to solve the issues, it does not happen and it’s only getting worse.
You could leave and put those skills to good use by finding another career which offers better opportunities to grow and develop.
Don’t wait too long
Although you’ve probably known for a long time that you want a job more rewarding, take some time to think it over.
That also does not mean to wait years before making the move.
Waiting years can literally destroy opportunities in your future and not to mention the quality of your work.
You’ll feel miserable, unhappy and your work output will suffer as a result.
You won’t put as much effort into it.
Don’t burn bridges
You’re probably keen to get out and don’t care how you leave, but years down the line, that same person you burnt a bridge with might be your new CEO.
Imagine how that’s going to go down when you walked out on him 20 years ago, in the most difficult time, without a care in the world?
He’s not going to like you one bit and will probably make your life miserable all over again.
I know when I was young I did not care who I upset or left on a whim, but I also knew it would hurt me somehow down the line.
I burnt one bridge and thankfully that hasn’t come back to bite me just yet!
A family business can be a blessing and a curse, and if you’re still on this page, you’re probably in one of the bad ones.
Getting out is not going to be easy and there will be people upset, but at the end of the day you’re only trying to live your life and follow your dreams.
You’re not out to work for your dad the rest of your life!
You know what you have to do and fortunately I have provided everything you need to know in this article.
Thanks for reading.
Let me know in the comments below if you’re thinking about leaving a family business and what’s stopping you from taking the first step…