Family: Does it matter to business?

Laughing couple.
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Family is important……and, so is a job. The two makes the future hard to tell. Why would I say that? Because most people believe that family and job are two major ways to exist. This may not true, though. In the way I see it, it is not that simple.

Family is commonly interpreted as nuclear family, which consists of spouse/partner and children. This, however, is generally developing into broader interpretation when it comes to business. Kinship, relatives, and any other familial description is in inclusion to what a family means. We can find this in many discussions and reports with the topics around family influence in business contexts. Discussion about which one should come first on our list, family versus job; is an example of this. The emphasis is actually not on the concept of family per se, but how familial relationship affect our work, from business decision to individual working life. In this particular ramification, family is somewhat a dubious but influential factor of our business life.

It is an influential factor for business, that supposedly deserves better inquiries. But, it has not yet received enough exposure. Therefore, I intend to throw it in this post.

Family: A new takes

I did mention this in my earlier posts, but I guess it will do no harm to mention it again here. Biological family relationship does not necessarily assure close and intimate relationship. Especially in Indonesian’s urban context. Parents and children go the mall on weekends with each own busy-with-yourself agenda…..and growing addiction to maid or nanny as surrogate ‘parents’? Would that be an real family? I don’t think so. These days, a formal familial relationship bears a little congruence with the actual psychological bond among family members. We may find our friends closer than those who related with us by blood. These special friends or surrounding people are in fact shaping our psychological family.

I also find it less fair to consider family matters to business when it leads only to topics such as job-family conflict or employee marital problems. Family matters more than just dysfunctional problems. Family affects individual values. It affects professional orientation. It also affects social spaces. There are multiple dimensions in which family play significant role, whether it is overt or hidden; either it leads to constructive or destructive. Family, is in fact an indispensable aspect of personal construction.

Consider these two questions: Does your family inspire you? When it becomes your source of distraction and unresolvable problems?

I argue that there must be certain points where our family inspired our action for working, either in a good way or a bad way. Allow me to names a few I found in my professional experiences. I’ve met a person who deeply inspire by her wife’s career, which motivates his own professional endeavor. I also meet young person who deeply motivated by her girlfriend ambition. I’ve met some people who had bad relationship with their parents, and their reluctance to even the slightest idea of building a family of their own. This peculiar condition somewhat motivates their workaholic office behavior. I also met some people who involved in deliberate financial misuse and fraud, just because their family intolerable lifestyle maxed out their financial capacity.

It seems that family have the power in putting ourselves into both ways, the path to excellence, and the road to perdition.

Risk or capital? Or kind of both?

So, which way your family goes?

Family gives us foundations to do many thing at our work. Some of them are increasing our risk, while some others are a leverage for us. One of the leverage is our reference in social relationship. How we relate to others, how we deal with co workers and business partners, and how we put  family and work life in accordance; all of them rooted in our family life. Perhaps, beyond our conscience, the influence of our family drives most of our actions and decisions. I don’t have an exact scientific data on this, but I see this as a very palpable inquiry. I believe, it is also worthy for every one to reflect on.

Family, nuclear or extended, biologically or psychologically defined, are your basic social capital. Just like hang-out with the person you just met, which probably serve you a nice companionship, or a total mess up; same thing applies to family. It may lever and uphold your prowess, and it may as well be a burden and sink you to the bottom of the sea. Either way, it is influential and inevitable. Just like risk, we can barely able to get rid of them. We leave our family, and end up with making another one, albeit with different ways to call it. Just like risk, rather than avoiding them, we need to learn to deal with them.


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3 thoughts on “Family: Does it matter to business?

  1. agreed. From the slavoj zizek point of view, family is a symbolic order which determines human subjectivity. However, the narrative of the symbolic order is still under the control of the subject itself. It means that we, as a human, can create our own narrative based on the preexisting symbolic order. And between the imaginary I and the symbolic order, according to Zizek, we still experience “the real” which occasionally destroy our taken for granted routine activities and unquestioned assumptions. It is something that we called “crisis”.

    1. Yes, family is a domain of personal deconstruction and reconstruction. Through our experience in family, we have the chance to renew ourselves through crisis and discomfort. But, we can also use that experience to imprison ourselves in denial, as a resistance to that crisis experience. Therefore, family bears more significance than what most people think.

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