My kid hated me. Unlike most moms, I had a second home – my office – where I forced my teenage daughter to bunk with me. As I learned from her hushed conversations with her friends, she had a different word for it – “hell hole.” And that was one of the nicer things she said about my work. But I was determined to break her so that when she was ready, she would leave my home as an independent, self-sufficient woman. Although the Department of Labor probably wouldn’t approve of my parenting tactics, I believed it was important to start her young.
This wasn’t going to be an easy project. I introduced her to powerful industry leaders, best-selling authors, and sports legends only to be thanked by scowls, slamming doors, and looks of disgust. I had to swallow my embarrassment and remind myself that I was doing this for her future. Sometimes I feared she would murder me in my sleep for dragging her to the office every week, so you can imagine my reaction when the tables finally turned.
After just one week at her first professional job working directly with the President of a highly esteemed collegiate institute in Boston, MA – an environment that would be overwhelming for a normal college grad – she said the most cherished words that a female entrepreneur could hear from her former indentured servant: “Mom, thank you. I could never have been prepared for my first job if you didn’t force me to work for you all those years.” Here’s why it was all worth it:
5 Reasons Why Children of Entrepreneurs Have An Upper Hand in the Workforce
1. They get exposed to business operations at a younger age. There’s no better way to build a strong work ethic than by learning the ropes early on. Because entrepreneurs are often married to their jobs in hopes that they can save the world (or at least make payroll), they’re kids get a front row seat at the blood, sweat and tears that go into running a business. These leaders often force them to get hands-on experience the only way a 15-year-old can – by working for mom and dad – whether it’s dragging their teen butts into the mail room, giving them a heavy box of files to organize, or even fetching everyone’s morning fix. They won’t be pleased, but they’ll thank Dad later when that summer they spent doing spreadsheets while everyone else went to Cancun helped them land their first real jobs.
2. They understand the fiscal realities of running a business. All those late nights at the office expose children of entrepreneurs to the harsh realization that, for owners, business never sleeps and in order to stay relevant, leaders must keep up with evolving workforce demands. That’s why building a brand calls for those late nights, a whole lot of trial and error, and, of course, money. As much as entrepreneurial moms and dads try to be super heroes to their kids and mask the incredible weight of financial stress, it’s often written all over their faces. The business world is anything but steady. There will be good times and there will be not-so-good times. The point is, because they saw their parents laboring over their company’s bottom line, these kids often form a greater understanding and appreciation for what it takes to keep an organization afloat. And that realization makes them pretty good at connecting to an employer’s pain in an interview setting.
3. They are given more responsibility earlier on. Remember those spreadsheets we mentioned earlier? They did more for those kids than build up their resume and cause them to accuse their folks of child abuse. They taught them responsibility, and not the clean-your-bedroom type of responsibility, the your-team-depends-on-you-making-this-deadline kind of responsibility. The latter makes them part of a cause that’s bigger than themselves and conditions them to deal with high-pressure situations at a young age when their brains are still absorbing things like a sponge. On their wedding day, they’ll tell their parents that “that type” of responsibility made them who they are today.
4. They develop and recognize the importance of soft skills. Because we now live in a world where soft skills are valued just as strongly as hard skills, this point really paid off for baby boomer parents / business owners. Their millennial kids will not only be forced to solve real-world problems before their high school prom, but they’ll also become master critical thinkers, multi-taskers, and workforce chameleons – all the stuff talent leaders are croaking for and can’t find due to the often unprepared, confused, and needy entry-levels that makeup the rest of their generation. These soft skills are actively setting them apart.
5. They recognize the importance of finding their passion to overall happiness. “Mommy, why do you work so much?” “Daddy, why didn’t you make it to my baseball game this weekend?” These are the questions children of entrepreneurs often ask, and despite the fact that it pains parents to give up precious time with their kids in favor of logging more hours at the office, those kids soon learn that it must be for a good reason: that they absolutely love what they do for a living. That’s why children of entrepreneurs often embody a “do-it-yourself” mindset that drives them to go after their dreams, no matter how big or far-fetched. And the difference between the surplus of aspiring actors in Hollywood and these future-minded individuals is they’re often successful.
Millennials, it’s time to start acting like a business owner. Have you started on your job search plan? Complete with resume / cover letter guides and useful checklists, our free Job Search Toolkit will help you get your career off the ground and track your progress.