Entrepreneurial businesses usually begin small, and the people who own and staff them spend more waking time with each other than they do with their own families.
It is not unusual for them to become a family - the other family.
It is true in our business and we've seen it in so many other small businesses.
As a business grows over many years,
the experiences the working team shares
are much the same as in the home family.
In many businesses, some definite family relationships evolve. At The Shopper, our chief operating officer, Nicole Douglas-Young has become very much a daughter to me over the 19 years we have worked together. It doesn't change my professional view of this highly intelligent and capable young woman, but it enhances our daily relationship.
Our senior account executive, Martha Frugard and our office manager, Julie Burley, who were high school chums, are much like sisters. Not everyone is close to everyone else, of course, but I believe we all love Julie and tell her our troubles (which she keeps to herself, like everyone's favorite aunt).
There are 18 of us working together on a regular basis and another dozen-plus writers, community reporters and photographers who are in and out occasionally. Some of us have been together many years, others just a few. One thing is certain - we depend on each other as a team. The team concept is more than a word for us; it is a dynamic way of doing our work.
As in any family, we have shared joyous times, as when showers preceded marriages and births, and we have shared sorrow and sympathy through divorces and deaths. When our children are ill, we take care of them and the team takes care of the work. It's what an extended family does.
Throughout life's ups and downs, our goal is to be courteous and respectful to one another. We prefer to laugh together and eat together and compliment one another. Like any family, this other family isn't always perfect, but it comes as close as any I've been privileged to live with or observe.
It's worth thinking about the other family in our lives. When it works it makes work so much better. Not unlike the home family.
Jean Loxley-Barnard has been a writer all her life and studied both sociology and psychology at George Washington University where she earned a B.A. Her company, The Shopper, Inc., encompasses all the Loxley-Barnard family publications - The Shopper Magazines and Doctor to Doctor Magazine. She has been in the advertising, consulting and publishing business for 38 years.
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