Sunday, January 22, 2012


With your CV ready you're probably thinking about interviewing, and when would be a good time to start. In my case, I decided to give it 2 months. But looking back it was not enough — it didn't allow for trial and error and it made every interview a critical one.

So, here are a few points to help plan the job interview tactic. (By the way, to those of you who think that having good interviewing experience makes you a good interviewee, I say: think again!)

  • Finding a job takes time.
    If you are required to serve a long notice period to the business, your future employer may have planned for your postponed availability and may be willing to wait for a month or so while you tie the loose ends.
    Also, passing the first interview doesn't guarantee the job. In most cases you'll have to go through a series of interviews (I went through 4 to get my current job) which can take some time.

  • Like in software, a successful version release requires good QA.
    Before going to the places that you want to get accepted to, try a few that you wouldn't mind failing in... Take your Interview v1.0 software and test it — practice. You'll get better and better with every round, and once you've reached v3.0 you'll be ready to go after the ones that matter.

  • You need the feedback.
    Coming from a family business you've probably never been job-interviewed before. Listening to people's/the interviewer's feedback will teach you a lot. Don't loose heart when you get bad feedback (and you probably will) because it is the most important feedback. It'll make you stronger and more prepared and it can go a long way in helping you hone your job aspirations.

  • ALWAYS be thankful.
    Generosity is a state of mind and you should adopt it. Whatever feedback you get, be thankful and don't be afraid to express it. Even if you are getting "slapped", be appreciative because you've just received a lesson and it was free, so say thank you.

To sum it all up: Start early enough to allow trial; practice before you play in the big leagues; be generous; and always—but always—be positive and stay focused. You'll do just fine!

Taking the jump

"Once the water is deep enough that you must swim to stay afloat, does it really matter how deep the pool is?"

That's Seth's post from the other day. Short and sweet.

If you think about it for a second, you'll find that it speaks to your situation. I just thought you should read it.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Points of View

Never start an argument about unmeasurable topics and center it around points of view. It just isn't constructive.

Point of view (A): I can't stand the traffic! I hate it. What a waste of time!!!
Point of view (B): I love the traffic. It's great—finally some quite time for myself!
Point of view (A): What do you mean you love it? What's there to love?
Point of view (B): I play music, organize my thoughts. It's quality time.
Point of view (A): You're an idiot! That's all I have to say.
Point of view (B): Who you calling "an idiot", stupid?

The example above, though inane, serves the point: 2 people, looking at an unquantifiable situation, each from their own point of view.

Let's look at a more realistic situation—working for your dad in the family business:
For you it's hell. Everyday your feel like you are giving up on something, giving up on yourself. You can't take it anymore and just want to leave, taking your chances in the "real" world.
Your dad, on the other hand, doesn't understand the problem: Working in the business is a great opportunity. He thinks you'd be crazy to work somewhere else as the security the family business offers you is immeasurable...
Your point of view is emotional. His is materialistic. They obviously won't jibe.

Arguing about it won't do anyone any good. My suggestion: leap frog over it, agree to disagree and move on.

Monday, January 16, 2012

How to follow the blog

If you'd like to keep updated with the posts on the blog you can do one of two things (or both):

  1. Subscribe to the RSS feed: On the right, under the Subscribe section, click Posts and choose your reader of choice.
  2. Follow the blog on twitter: @LeavingFamBiz


Friday, January 13, 2012

Life in the outside lane

This morning on my drive to work, I did something very different: I decided to stay in the outside lane and just flow with the traffic.

Usually, I'd be driving in the inside lane with all the aggressive have-to-be-at-work-ten-minutes-ago drivers. But this morning was different: I sat calmly on the outside lane, just coasting along, taking it easy.

Driving in the inside lane is really a metaphorical "habit" I have. I've always been trying to get ahead, be better, never really happy with where I was. It's a habit I've been fostering since early on in the family business—never content, never satisfied or fulfilled, always searching for a better place for myself.

Lately, though, I've allowed myself to coast along in life's outside lane.

Don't get me wrong: The race is still on, but I am so far ahead—out of the business, settled in life, good job—that I can allow myself to take a break. And the peace of mind it brings is priceless.

Interestingly enough though, the outside lane seems to have gotten me where I was going faster.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Looking out for No. 1

Question: Who is *the* most important person in your life?

I'm guessing you are thinking "my husband/wife" or "my kids", maybe "my mother/father". If you are, then—buzzer sound—sorry, wrong answer.

The most important person in your life is YOU. I'll explain:

In order to be a good parent/spouse/son/daughter you need to be in the right mindset. And by "right mindset" I really mean content/fulfilled/happy. Why? Because if you are dissatisfied, say at work, chances are you will bring that feeling home with you, and you'll end up taking it out on the closest to you. If you are angry or sad or upset, you won't be able to deal with the kids. You won't have the patience to listen to your spouse or give him/her the attention they want/need from you.

There is a reason why the instruction during an airplane emergency is for you to put your oxygen mask on first before assisting others...

When I left the family business, I was looking out for No. 1, for myself. I knew leaving would be hell. I knew the families would break apart, that we would suffer financially. But more importantly I knew that if I didn't leave, the misery—in the long run—would ruin me. It would ruin who I was, damaging my life and the people I care for most. And I realized that for me to look out for my family, I needed to look out for myself first.

And so I did.

Question remains: Who are you looking out for?