Life & Business

Working With Friends & Family

by Adam J. Kurtz

Working With Friends and Family – Adam J. Kurtz for Design*Sponge

We turn to our friends and family for help all the time, so it should come as no surprise when they look to us for help with the things we do best. Build websites? You are now IT for your extended family. Are you a hand-letterer? Here are 300 wedding invitations to address. What might be a perfect personality match may not quite translate to an easy business transaction. Small favors have a tendency to balloon into something more. Unpaid favors are pushed further and further down the priority list. Feelings may get hurt.

It’s tricky to navigate working with friends and family, so many of us try to avoid it entirely. But there’s no reason you can’t do something great with someone that you love as long as you take care to respect each other, communicate ideas without making assumptions and enter into a balanced agreement from the start. With the holidays coming, these casual “hey, what if…” conversations become harder to escape. Prepare yourself before you sit down to dinner (maybe share this post on Facebook as a warning???) and maybe you’ll make it to dessert alive. –Adam J. Kurtz


Working With Friends and Family – Adam J. Kurtz for Design*Sponge
Working With Friends and Family – Adam J. Kurtz for Design*Sponge
Working With Friends and Family – Adam J. Kurtz for Design*Sponge
Working With Friends and Family – Adam J. Kurtz for Design*Sponge
Working With Friends and Family – Adam J. Kurtz for Design*Sponge
Working With Friends and Family – Adam J. Kurtz for Design*Sponge
Working With Friends and Family – Adam J. Kurtz for Design*Sponge
Working With Friends and Family – Adam J. Kurtz for Design*Sponge
Working With Friends and Family – Adam J. Kurtz for Design*Sponge

 


THINGS ARE WHAT YOU MAKE OF THEM: Life Advice For Creatives by Adam J. Kurtz


 

Adam J. Kurtz Adam J. Kurtz is a Brooklyn-based artist and author of several books including the international-bestselling 1 Page at a Time journal. His dark (but optimistic) humor comes to life in an offbeat line of gifts and small trinkets. Follow @ADAMJK for more.

 

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Comments

  • This is pure gold, presented in a way acceptable to (hopefully) many familes/friends…. thanks, love you Adam :)

  • Great article on what can be quite a tricky subject to navigate! Thanks for putting a lot of thought, consideration and sensible advice into it – its often hard to separate personal from professional.

    One small point – when presenting type in image form like this it means those who are sight impaired *puts hand up* can struggle with reading it. It might be helpful to provide a regular text transcript for those who use screen readers.

    Writing in all-caps also makes it harder for dyslexics which many of my friends in creative industries are.

  • When I was invited to my mother and step-dad’s housewarming party 2,000 miles away, I jumped on a plane. I arrived to a mother who needed a bartender and a step-father who needed more help in IT than anyone I’ve ever met in my life (computer full of viruses, ads that were playing in the background every time he turned the sound on, 90 open tabs…) I have to say, though, the thing that felt most unkind was my mother’s invitation to a party so that she could trot me out as a bartender for her 130 martini-drinking, Trump-supporting friends. I’ve been in the hospitality profession for 13 years, and have never felt so slighted as I felt by my own family when they required entertainment. I’d like to enjoy time with my family, and enjoy the party.

    Thank you for the article. Any advice would be appreciated.

    • Gabriella

      I’m sorry that happened. Did she mention needing full-time help before you came out (did she pay for your ticket by any chance and think it was in exchange for help?)? If not, I would bring it up directly, i.e.:

      “Mom, I’m glad I was able to attend your housewarming party and was happy to buy a ticket to fly out and support you. I’m always happy to chip in, but I felt blind-sided by your request to work the party like a paid employee. If you need help in the future, please let me know ahead of time, as this last-minute working request felt hurtful and unappreciative of my time and needs.”

      I think the computer/IT issue sounds more like a common inter-generational issue that I wouldn’t worry too much about. Did you know your parents would be inviting a room full of Trump supporters? If you did ahead of time, I think you may need to let that go. But if you feel like you were surprised by the tone of the room AND being asked to “work” that event, essentially, you have every right to bring up your feelings and set boundaries.

      Grace

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