How To Deal With Working With Family

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At times working with family can be the greatest thing and other times it can make blood want to shoot from your eyeballs!

I’m lucky enough to be running my Taekwon-Do school with my father and my daughter has a part time job cleaning the school.

It’s great having her work for me because she’s 15, gets to make extra money (and never asks me for any!) and gets to do an easy job on her own time that we’re paying her too much for :).  And it’s very convenient for the both of us.

This was a great set up for the last 8 months until she started getting sloppy, things weren’t getting cleaned, she was spending more time texting on her phone that cleaning and things like that.  We discussed her performance a number of times and things continued downhill.  Finally last Friday I decided that it was time to fire her.

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So I told my dad because it’s his school too, and I told my wife because I wanted her prepared if there was any fall out that she’d have to deal with.

From a business perspective it was a simple decision.  As a parent it was more complicated.  My wife wanted me to tell her a certain way, didn’t want me to be mean, was concerned about how she’d take it and didn’t want her to feel bad especially because of me.  She was afraid there would be some big upset at home.

When you are in business with family you have to be able to separate your business relationship from your familial relationship because they are two very different things and operate with a different set of rules and assumptions.  And you have to be able to do this even if the other person is unwilling or doesn’t get the difference.  The same is true if you have a family member in class.  It took a while, but my wife now calls me Mr. Karstadt at the school and my dad Master Karstadt because she’s clear about the student-instructor relationship and how that works.

So I assured my wife that I’d have a straight conversation with her and be responsible for any upset that it might cause.

As it turns out, when I told my daughter that we were no longer in need of her services anymore she responded with what almost every 15 year old responds to everything with… “Ok.”

About an hour later it sank in and she was upset, wanted to know why, said it wasn’t fair, blah, blah, blah.  After a few minutes she got that the bottom line was that that for whatever reason, the job was not getting done and that she was the one not getting the job done.

I could tell that this was no surprise to her and that she saw it coming.

Sometimes you have to be the one to teach the hard lessons to your students and especially your children.  It’s even tougher when you introduce another layer to the relationships such as a employer/ employee relationship or a student/ instructor relationship.

Many people have had bad experiences with teaching, working with and/or doing business with family and swear that you should never do it.

I’m not saying don’t do it because it can be a very fulfilling and rewarding experience…

But if you do, you must be willing to be responsible for the new dynamic you are adding to the relationship even if the other person isn’t.


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taekwon-do phoenix, taekwon-do arizona, taekwondo phoenix, Phoenix taekwondo, itf taekwondo, taekwondo itf, tkd phoenix, taekwondo az, taekwondo Arizona, martial arts phoenix, martial arts Arizona, martial arts az, Phoenix Martial Arts, Arizona Martial Arts, Phoenix Karate, arizona taekwondo, karstadt, karstadt taekwondo, ITFJohn Karstadt

Senior Instructor – Karstadt Taekwon-Do

Mr. Karstadt is the founder of 1 TKD Consulting and owns the longest running ITF Taekwon-Do school in Arizona, Karstadt Taekwon-Do in Phoenix, AZ with his father Master David Karstadt.  He has been training since 1984, earned his Black Belt at the age of 8 and is currently an internationally renown intstructor teaching the culture, discipline,  leadership and business skills of Taekwon-Do in classes and seminars to Instructors around the world.  He has been a member of eight U.S. Taekwon-Do Teams and has traveled to 14 different countries competing in Taekwon-Do.  He has won numerous medals at the World Championships and in international competition, most notably winning the 2004 World Championships in South Korea with two gold medals and the Men’s Team All Around Trophy.  Mr. Karstadt currently resides in uptown Phoenix, Arizona with his wife and three children.  Mr. Karstadt can be contacted by e-mail at

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