How Do You Build Your Careers Around a Family Team?

Fun topic for today and that is how do you build your careers around a family team? I actually love the question because I think it already reveals and puts your cards on the table that I think you should be trying. It might not be perfect and might not be the easiest and you might not be able to do it fully, but there should be an orbiting of work around the family team.

And so I think we already are putting our cards on the table of that as the truth that a lot of us don’t actually believe when we actually get down to it, that there should be an orbiting force and that is the family team and everything else gets vacuumed or black hold around that in some sense. I don’t mean to call the family a black hole. But you know what I mean. So, Jeremy, what would you say to that though and how do you answer that question?

Yeah. So, a lot of us when we were choosing our career path, we maybe were not thinking about building a family team. I certainly was not thinking about that very heavily when I was choosing what kind of career I wanted to go into.

But the average person changes their career now four times in their life. And so even if you got a pretty strong career path now, it may be worth thinking about how you want to design this in the future. And so I had an experience when I was in my late twenties that really impacted me. I had started a company and we had an investor come in and one of the things that he required as part of the structure of the arrangement we had with him was that his three sons who are all in their thirties, really, were all on the board.

And so every single month I went to a board meeting with this man who was in his late fifties and his three sons who are in their thirties, and these two or three hour monthly board meetings, a lot of them consisted of the father really training his sons in the business and this guy owned multiple businesses and I watched this go on for a couple of years and it really impacted my vision of my career.

And one of the things that I was noticing about this man was he was spending more time with his kids in their thirties than most dads spend with their kids when they’re still in the house. And that was all because of the way that he had designed his career because he was owning these companies and because he was enforcing a family team dynamic on the companies he was buying. He was able to create this atmosphere of working alongside of his older kids.

And so, one of the questions I started asking myself, and I was, like I said, in my late twenties. I started to ask, “What kind of relationship do I want to have with my kids in their thirties and what can I do now as a 20-something-year-old dad to really lean into that kind of scenario in the future?”

And I certainly wasn’t in that kind of a scenario right then, but it really subtly started to impact the way that I thought about jobs, careers, business stuff. And as I began to … Now that I’m in my mid forties I’m much closer to that kind of a lifestyle. Right now we’re having this conversation and Kelsey’s behind the cameras right now. And so I get to hang out with her as a part of my work day. And so that was because I really saw this vision, watched this happen, saw this man and what he was doing and realized, man, I didn’t realize that was an option. I thought that careers were totally individualistic, that you didn’t really think about the family, the team, your older kids.

One of the push backs people immediately have is, “Well, are you going to force your kids into your work?” And that’s really not what I was thinking. My question was, “Do I want it to be an option that if my kids in their twenties, thirties wanted to work with their dad, is that something that would be an option for them or not an option for them?”

I realized I could pick a career in which that would be an option for them. And there were many careers in which I could pick that that wouldn’t be an option for them. And obviously that might depend on what their goals are, their passions are, their callings are. But I wanted it to be an option. And so I’ve designed a lifestyle and a set of career paths that made that an option and that’s been really cool and that’s because I saw this modeled for me a couple of decades ago. But Jeff, what are your thoughts on this?

Yeah, we’re very similar but obviously in a lot more of the earlier stages of building, hopefully trajectories and careers and paths of where we want to go. And I think, yeah, that’s a high value of ours, but you have to have it as a high value if you actually are going to have it show up. Now this isn’t something that turns out tomorrow and happens tomorrow. And I think a lot of times people hear this and they want it, but then they get a little depressed because it’s like I can’t just start a new business tomorrow and have my kids be my employees.

And we get that. But play the long game, play the long game. You probably can lean more into integration. You probably can lean more into that orbiting force of the family. Being a part of things more than you think. I think your boss might be nicer than you think in regards to asking and being creative and demanding certain things with the value you already bring to the table. I think if you have ownership over anything, if you’re self employed, then you totally should go this route. If you own a business, if you’re in leadership, it’s worth it, right?

And maybe it is harder. Maybe you work construction and you’re not actually the contractor who’s in charge. So, you show up everyday and you have to work. So yeah, you probably can’t bring your kid to that maybe in some sense. And that’s difficult and it probably wouldn’t be safe. So maybe that means on the weekends you’re building something with your kids, using your skill set to then lean back into the kids.

And so there’s a lot of different ways that this can play out. But I certainly think integrating kids into our career and our business opportunities and ventures is not only deeply helpful for the family culture, but actually for the lasting legacy, that creating a multi generational DNA in what economic principles and economic ventures you’re doing are going to be passed down is really, really important and something that we need to give thought to in the same way that we do compound interest and in the same way that we invest in things, is that we do that knowing that probably the yield will be a hundred years from now. And what would that also look like if we do that plus our kids in our work, in our career?

So, what we’re saying and what we want to end with today is whatever you guys are at, wherever you’re at, what would it look like to take one extra step, one extra step in your job, in your career, in your contract work, in your freelance work, whatever it is, to just get your kids a little bit more involved, a little bit more ownership, because they will light up, they will come to life and they will flourish.

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