I “grew up” in a family business and I have experienced upsides and downsides as a child.
- I appreciated the value of hard work
- I learned back-breaking ways of earning money
- I learned to appreciate smarter ways to work (due to above point)
- I appreciated my parents’ hard work and what it gave me (an education)
- I learned what to do, what not to do – in a business, up close
- My mother was the entrepreneur, thus I grew up seeing women entrepreneurs as the most natural states of work even though I didn’t choose this for myself until I was in my 30s.
- My parents were rarely physically “present” (working in/on business)
- My parents were rarely mentally/emotionally “present” (worrying about business).
- When business was good, family life was good, when business was bad, family life was horrid.
- The basis of our relationship as a family became centered around “business” and it was as if we could only relate by talking about business and our role in the business.
- My childhood, adolescence, and early adulthood revolved around helping with the business, dealing with the business, cleaning up after the business, and essentially I felt as if the weight of my parents’ bad decisions fell upon my shoulders (truthfully, it did, because my parents knew I would be willing to take the burden upon myself.)
- We became gossip- and bully targets by contemporaries who deemed parents’ business as “lower class” because my parents worked with their hands as opposed to sitting behind a desk in a white collar job. Some of these people (“my own kind”!) tried getting us deported when we lived in the middle east because according to them, our food business was shaming the Taiwanese community (but being a tailor/seamstress was apparently OK – the wife of one of these people supported her family making clothes for other people, her kids were the meanest bullies to us).
- I have seen how wealth corrupts friendships, when parents’ peers got a whiff of how well they were doing when they were doing well. In Chinese terms, I saw up close the ugliness of people with “***red eyes”.
- I came to resent the fact that my parents were rarely if ever there for me and interpreted this as they didn’t care at all. I left home when I was a teenager and severed my ties with the family that felt more like a business burden I didn’t ask for, than a nucleus of strength I wanted for my quality of life.
- My parents did not always make good business decisions especially with people, it made me not trust people for many years. I used to see most people as hustlers who want to take advantage of each other for their own gain.
***couldn’t find better reference source for “red eyes”