Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Nepotism at its Worst

I work for my uncle....well, he is sort of my uncle. We have no blood relation -- he married my dad's sister. So in a strictly legal sense, yes, I suppose he is family. I've never been particularly fond of him, and he doesn't particularly mesh well with his in-laws, however that may be considered a good thing by some; my dad's family is...colorful, for lack of a better term. Lots of ignorance, grudges, immaturity, insane competitiveness, but whatever.

Regardless of all else, that side of my family has a few outstanding qualities; we are loyal, intense, hard-working, driven, and the fabulous "family ass" is not a myth [the last quality must be maintained, however, because when left on its own, the result is terrifying]. My dad and all of his six brothers work in trades; they grew up building, roofing, working with their hands. Most of my guy cousins, then, spent their summers working in some sort of family business, whether their father owned it or their uncle. Nepotism is the breadwinner of my paternal side.

To put your assumptions at bay, I am not working on a roof or pouring cement this summer. Like I said, the uncle that I work for married into the family -- I would never describe this man as the sort who could handle such a physically demanding job as construction. He went into his own family trade, though: real estate.

Having worked in the office for two and a half weeks, now, my uncle apparently deems me ready to take on his assistant's job. The young woman who seemingly runs half of the business put her two weeks notice in on my third day of work. A couple of hours later, I was in my boss/uncle's office, frantically scribbling notes about the things that I needed to learn from her before she left. The assistant took one look at my list when I showed it to her, barked a laugh, and handed it back to me. "Go back and tell him to be reasonable," she said. Fifteen minutes, a lot of yelling, and one tearful assistant later, I was sitting at a computer, trying to wrap my mind around my new job description as listing coordinator/assistant to the broker.

I previously stated that I have a work ethic genetically coded into my system. I am not, therefore, afraid of work. Please. This summer, I have two jobs, I'll be putting in 50-60 hour workweeks, and on top of that, I intend to hang out with friends and maintain some sort of a life. I am not scared to learn new things and work hard. Still, I think that it needs to be said that the woman I am replacing is five years older than me, she has a business management degree, advertising and marketing experience, and a real estate license. I just finished my first year at college as an English major, and to be perfectly honest, I have no real interest in the business of real estate. I just wanted a summer job, and suddenly I was being thrown into a position for which I was neither qualified nor capable of completing.

Anyway, long story short, I respectfully talked to my uncle the next day, told him that while I appreciated his confidence, I was not ready to take on that much responsibility for a three month job. I was shocked at his response -- he was mature, gracious, and understanding! "All right, I understand," he said. "That's okay."

Why then, two weeks later, am I sitting here trying to cram all of the information into my head anyway? Why did he let the training slide for the past two weeks, when apparently he intended to have me take over as listing coordinator regardless of what we agreed upon? Why did he make his assistant cry again yesterday with his rudeness and negligence? Why did he let this issue lie dormant until the day before she left? What did I get myself into?

At this point, I only know two things:
1.) I am in way over my head.
2.) I just need to stick it out and let this be a learning, growing experience.

Oh, and obviously the fact that I am naturally demanding a raise...I may as well make this stress worth my time. :-/

1 comment:

Carlson said...

bring home the big bucks girl... maybe you can take me to dinner while we publish our first book lol