You must have bumped into this term several times in your career. Or, if you are in the early phase, you’re probably excited to hear it from your recruiter for the first time. In theory, ‘the company family’ sounds perfect. Imagine being hired and being treated as a family member. But don’t you think it’s practically impossible to implement the ‘family’ factor in an environment where performance and efficiency matter the most?
Let me give you a little context that inspired me to put my opinion on this topic.
Exactly three months ago, one of my cousins was over the moon for landing a job he had been craving for, ever since he became a professional animator. Although it wasn’t a high-paying job in a well-established studio, he believed it was his first step in the right direction. The most exciting part, however, was the offer letter he received. A letter emphasizing the office culture and the value that promotes a family environment more than the person’s role and strict office rules was nothing short of impressive. For a fresh recruit, it was an incredible welcome note.
He had a cool, remote job in a company that treated him the best. Therefore, after a few weeks of being praised and supported the way he always wanted, he touted his achievement and the company’s values on social media. Today he regrets it because he’s no longer with that studio, for it was never a family he thought it was. He had decided to leave once he realized he had been deceived by narcissistic management, and the promises — the copy-pasted content from the internet — were never true. No one likes to work under leadership that worries about how you work rather than what you produce.
Trust me! Micromanagement is here to stay as long as there is a scarcity of jobs in the market.
The above is just one of the bad examples of how the term misleads young people into a corporate trap and makes them learn the most crucial thing the hard way. On the other hand, some people are trapped in a company forever because of this very belief. They only realize the catch when the management decides to remove them with a young and energetic replacement that can do eighty percent of their work, costing only twenty percent.
My point here was to explain that ‘family’ means something else. It means standing up for your members no matter what, guiding them, and supporting them at all costs. A family doesn’t break up for minor disagreements, and everyone has their say no matter how young the members are. These things are not possible here because this is business, period. It has to run no matter who comes in and who goes out, and we all should be very clear about it.
From my point of view, the ‘company family’ is a psychological tactic for businesses to make you feel like you should be grateful and loyal to them no matter what. But you’re no more there once they decide to get rid of you for whatever reason.
Whenever I get engaged in work-related discussions, the following phrase from the internet comes to my mind, “When you die, your office will start looking out for your replacement from the very next day, but your family will miss you forever.” So let’s face the truth here without being judgemental.
You can have a great time with your work colleagues and work your way out, but that doesn’t mean you should force yourself to pretend to become someone that’s not you. I have experienced this many times throughout my professional career. Most people pretend to enjoy participating in the compulsory kindergarten-ish team-building sessions designed for a specific type of personality, and those who don’t participate are labeled unsocial. As a result, they will have a hard time being promoted and getting a raise no matter how well they perform.
However, there’s an exception to every rule. There are many leaders who care for their people and are always ready to take a hit for them. But some things just don’t fit in the business world because it isn’t designed that way.
This opinion piece may seem like a one-way attack to business owners and CEOs, but I should clarify that things go both ways. For example, there are terrible recruits with the ‘Dunning-Kruger’ effect as much as narcissistic managers and bosses. Similarly, as much as there are cool bosses, there are hard-working and talented people. But there should be a different name for the relationship between an employee and the company because it doesn’t go both ways in terms of loyalty though it may sound or look like it does.
You shouldn’t be grateful to a company for being able to do what you’re supposed to do. The worst thing is people defending the companies they work for because they’re out of options. At the end of the day, it’s all about performance and mutual benefits. And you should always be familiar with this phrase: It’s just business, don’t take it personally.