Fallout after hiring nephew - what to do next?

<p>My H helped his nephew, N, a 2011 college graduate and son of H’s brother (HB), obtain a paid job with a startup in which H is involved. H admits if N was not a relative N would not have been hired. After several months of working with N, H has stated that N lacks maturity and motivation and needs mentoring.</p>

<p>We offered to let N live with us until he could find a place of his own. N arrived in Fall 2011. N never contacted me before N moved into our residence. When N lived with us he spent his free time playing on line games. N behaved like a young adolescent rather than a young man embarking on his first post college job.</p>

<p>His mother, SIL, contacted me several times before N moved in with us. First, SIL expressed the concern that N might be a user of illegal drugs and asked that both H and I speak with N about her concerns. This made me nervous about agreeing that N could live in our home. Once N was living in our household SIL claimed N was seriously depressed and had been under the care of a therapist.</p>

<p>As far as we could determine after talking to N both of SIL’s claims were false and HB said SIL had misspoke. Then SIL made plans for N which involved vacation time that N had not yet earned. N claimed he did not realize he needed to request the time off. I saw this as an indication that SIL believed N would receive special treatment since N was a relative and that N was clueless.</p>

<p>SIL informed my H that they would be visiting us in December so they could see N. We were not consulted.</p>

<p>These are just the highlights – there were several other incidents. At one point SIL called my H and claimed I was creating a hostile environment in our home for N.</p>

<p>After two months N moved into a place of his own. A few weeks later my H received a terse email from HB stating they would not be visiting us after all.</p>

<p>We had what I thought was a good relationship with SIL and HB before N was hired. I had never seen or experienced such behavior from them previously. Now, they give me (but not my H) the cold shoulder and we no longer speak. </p>

<p>Earlier this week HB requested that we invite N to our home for dinner on a regular basis and include him in social events. My H already takes N to lunch three to four times per week and they also work in the same office. When N lived with us he was included in our family dinners and we invited him to join us at events outside our home.</p>

<p>I believe N needs to live his own life rather than continuing to depend on us. I am also reluctant to interact with N since the situation has become very uncomfortable.</p>

<p>Advice? I know this posting may sound farfetched, but it really happened and has seriously impacted my life.</p>

<p>I have not included information about my own children, who are college students, as they were away at college when N lived in our household.</p>

<p>I think you realized you have made a mistake by hiring your nephew. Even if he was a star, I wouldn´t have hired him.</p>

<p>I don´t think your H should continue to have lunch with him on a regular basis. Would he do that if the nephew was just another employee? No. If it is possible, I would make sure your H does not directly manage your nephew. He should put some distance between himself and the nephew. </p>

<p>You should only invite the nephew over for dinners if you want, but include him to extended family get togethers. But if your family should decide to go out to dinner, there is no reason why the nephew needs to be included.</p>

<p>Cherrywild, no good deed goes unpunished. :( I think that your H needs to have a heart to heart with HB and say that both of you did your best for their son,and will continue to do so, but that N needs to learn to stand on his own 2 feet, and is in fact making progress towards doing so by getting his own place, learning to meet the demands of the workplace, and so forth. and that neither of you deserves blame or hostility as a result. He should tell his brother very clearly that it is not acceptable to him that you, his wife, be blamed for N's issues and treated poorly by anyone.</p>

<p>Clearly, SIL had major fears about her son, possibly for good reason. But it also seems that she has conveniently decided to use YOU as the excuse for any problems he may be having in adjusting to the adult workplace. Your H needs to confront that and make it clear that it is not open season on his wife.</p>

<p>I'm so sorry. Your husband is probably feeling very responsible for this boy and is also trying to smooth things out with his brother. That leaves you in the middle- a very uncomfortable place to be.
Sometimes behavior between siblings goes so far back that outsiders-or even wives and kids- don't understand the dynamics that makes them behave as they do. I wonder if your husband feels guilty about something, and feels taking on this kid makes him feel like he's paying back something he owes his brother. It's really hard to know, but it might be an interesting conversation to have with him if the time is right.
The brother and sil are not being fair to you, but then their information seems to be coming from N, and he seems to be playing both sides for all it's worth. It sounds like this boy needs some serious counseling, but I can imagine that suggestion would go over like a lead balloon.<br>
The only advice I can give is to be as honest with your husband as possible about your feelings and hope that time will make him see the light. Unfortunately, my bet is that when N gets tired of the job or his new location, he'll just up and leave and that will be that. Until then, nothing will change unless your husband has some kind of revelation.</p>

<p>*** I just read consolations advice, above, as I was writing while he/she posted. It's excellent, if you can convince your husband to do it.
Worth a try.</p>

<p>How small of a start-up is this? Is it small enough that all of N’s assignments necessarily have to come from your DH? If not, as a previous poster said, it may be good to create some distance, even if it is just an employee with 5 yrs experience working with your N. That way, if N doesn’t perform, his parents can’t say ‘oh Uncle Mike is just being overly hard on you,’ as that feedback would be coming from an unrelated employee. Also, is your DH taking N out to lunch 3-4 times a week, or is it just a situation where it’s a small office and everyone including your DH and N eat around the conference room table? If it’s the latter it’s not a big deal, but if it’s the former, it need not continue. If anything, it shows the other employees that N is the favorite just because he’s a relative.</p>

<p>I think you and your DH should just stop talking with N’s parents about work. If DH has issues with N’s work, he talks to N. If N wants to complain to his parents, he may call and do so. If the parents circle back to you and DH, I think you should say that you’ve given N a lot of chances and it’s up to him to take them and assure them that nothing major is going on and he’s not about to get fired (if that is true), without going into exactly what is going on and then just refer the parents back to their own son for the full story. As for inviting him over, it’s your home and your call. If you are ok being around N without his parents or if you feel you could mentor him a bit, then invite him over once in a while; don’t do it because his parents have demanded it though. I also wouldn’t make it a scheduled thing – like Sunday dinner or x number of times per week/month – because then if you ever skip an invite for any reason, it’ll give the parents a reason to say you’re being unsupportive. If you leave it casual, you can always call N and say ‘hey, we haven’t seen you in so long, how about dinner on Tues.’</p>

<p>Good advice from everyone posted. I would add that the other people working for the startup most likely think of the lunches as preferential treatment and talk about that around the water cooler behind your H's back. If the cat escapes from the bag (and it usually does in my industry) the gossip escaping your H's co can hurt his ability to hire talent and attract VC funding in the future. In most companies employees directly or indirectly related to each other cannot work in the same division because inevitably favoritism hurts the employee morale and creates all sorts of problems. I realize that it is not possible in a small startup, so creating a layer of reporting between your H and N would be the best way to go forward. Your H can explain to your N and his parents that it is being done in the kid's best interests; a mentor-like boss who has been in your N's position relatively recently and who can be around N mentoring him can teach him new skills needed to propel him to a new level better than a boss who is not always around.</p>

<p>Does N work for H? No, N works directly for another individual in the firm who is teaching N the skill set he needs. However, HB still believes N works for H. H tells me that for months HB always comments how much N likes working for H. H tells me he always replies N does not work for me; N works for X. HB continues to believe that N works for H.</p>

<p>Talking to N's parents about his work. No, I do not and have never spoken with N's parents about his lack of work experience or what he does or does not do during his work day. However, I have heard my H speaking with his HB about issues that have been discussed with N that end up with HB contacting H. Do I think this circular discussion professional? No, I do not, but I am staying out of it. My H needs to deal with it. He is the one who wanted to give N the job. He is the one who gets to deal with them.</p>

<p>What about lunch? The team at this startup has a tradition of the team going to lunch as a group. The team brainstorms at lunch and the company picks up the tab. We are not talking fancy restaurants; these guys prefer ethnic restaurants, especially those with hot and spicy dishes. So the lunches with N are in a group setting.</p>

<p>If other entry-level employees are part of this brainstorming, then it is perfectly fine. Of course, if your N does not order most expensive things on the menu. :)</p>

<p>
[quote]
I believe N needs to live his own life rather than continuing to depend on us. I am also reluctant to interact with N since the situation has become very uncomfortable.

[/quote]
I agree with you. The N needs space. Also, if your H is in a power position at work, i.e. the direct manager or in management so he could influence N's manager or the owner, he should go out of his way at work to not treat the N any differently than any other employee there including work adjacent functions like lunch. The N needs to be held as accountable as anyone else at work. The 'N' factor shouldn't part part of the equation which unfortunately it already has been given that you said he probably wouldn't have been hired if he wasn't an 'N'.</p>

<p>Edited:

[quote]
The team brainstorms at lunch and the company picks up the tab. We are not talking fancy restaurants; these guys prefer ethnic restaurants, especially those with hot and spicy dishes. So the lunches with N are in a group setting.

[/quote]
If the group does lunch and N is just part of the group then it makes sense for him to go. Again, the key is that at work his 'N' status doesn't result in him being treated differently than anyone else in a similar position.</p>

<p>I think it is your H fault not to setting up theis arrangement correctly onset. Before this N is hired, he should explain to HB and N that he is "hiring" N as a favor and N is on probation until N is trained and productive. H should also explain and speak explicitly that during the probation period, N will be under supervison with X and it up to X to hire or fire N. Without that upfront explaination, hiring relatives could cause some family conflicts and bad feelings.</p>

<p>I went to my grand uncle's Auto Manufacturer plant as apprentice. My grand uncle was a sr. manager overseeing many operations, my plant manager was several levels below my grand uncle, nevermind my supervisors. All my supervisors/managers knew who I was and why I was there, but they never treated me any differently from the other employees and my parents never called my grand uncle for any more favors other than he was the one placed me there.</p>

<p>as far as what to do.. I think a face to face family meeting is in order and your H should be open and honest of his opinion and he has to undo what was clouding the situation in the first place. If HB and SIL are not willing to come out, your H may have to take N to them. Perhaps in a nice way, like take N to a home coming game, a family wedding or some thing.</p>

<p>Its going to be pain but fix it now is better than later.</p>

<p>artloversplus - you are correct. My H admits that he did not set up the arrangement properly. He said he thought everyone would act like an adult.</p>

<p>Are you suggesting that he notify N that he is on now probation until he is trained and productive? I am not certain I understand the reasons for including HB and SIL in a meeting about N's employment.</p>

<p>Why is your H getting involved in N's employment issues? To be honest, I would suggest he let the employers deal with N. The less "contact" he has regarding this issue, the less likely your H will be viewed as the reason N loses his job...if he does.</p>

<p>thumper1 - My H was the signatory on N's offer letter. Therefore, he is involved in N's employment issues. Should he have signed the letter? No, he should have had someone else extend the offer of employment. However, he cannot undo what was done and has to live with his decision.</p>

<p>no, its a bit too late to put you N to probation right away, because H did not make it clear before N was hired. As I read before, there is an ill feeling between your H and HB and SIL now because they don't want to visit or cancelling that for no apparent reason. Further more, HB kept on thinking that H is the supervior of N. Based on those two points, I guess the relationship is strained to say the least. If you H put N on probation now, it will crack the relationship further.</p>

<p>What I suggest to have a face to face family meeting is to make it clear what H supposed to do in the first place. That N is on probation when he was hired( not now), until he learn the ropes and Supervior X has the right to fire him, not H. I think this way family relationship can be retained and your H can go on to do his business.</p>

<p>The face to face meeting puts the hiring to square one, it is as if N is hired on day one, start now.</p>

<p>Had everyone act like adults here, there should be no misunderstanding, but I cannot blame your HB and SIL a bit childish because it is your H did not make the setup clear.</p>

<p>I just want to say that I really appreciate this as a cautionary tale. My N recently graduated and has been looking for work. My H suggested his associate could offer N a 1 year position, with possibility of extension. While I would like to help N, it occurred to me that if something went wrong it could cause irreversible damage to my otherwise good relationship with my Bro. As compromise I have put N in touch with several job leads in his area. He has not followed through with these leads, and I am becoming less sympathetic to his plight. </p>

<p>I wonder if your H could help to find N a 'promotion' in another company, preferably in another city?</p>

<p>Your H needs to have a one on one meeting with the employee to whom your N is formally reporting and explain to her/him that the employee is fully in charge and s/he should feel
free to rate your N's performance and put him on probation if needed (although it might be hard for this employee to be completely honest about the kid's performance due to N's blood ties to her/his own boss, your H). Your H also has to explain the situation to N's parents that companies can grow/evolve, people's roles can change, and reporting hierarchy can change accordingly. A signature on the job offer does not mean direct reporting/involvement. For instance, my job offer letter was signed by our CEO, but as the company's dynamics and focus changed, I got a new boss (quite a relief, frankly!) who now reports to my former boss.</p>

<p>Added: l like arlovers' idea of a family meeting.</p>

<p>If N isn’t making the grade, I certainly don’t think that DH should use his network to help him find another job. DH has no guarantee that N would go to a new company and behave differently -- he might because it isn’t his uncle’s company but he may not if he just doesn’t take the working world seriously yet. DH would be risking his network because people do say ‘I can’t believe x recommended y to me, I though I trusted x’s judgment but now I’m not so sure.” In a start-up environment, it would be a risk unless DH was sure that N could go somewhere else and do it better.</p>

<p>^^^
Yes, that's a good point. I was thinking the N had learned a lot and made progress, but if he's still not able to do the work it wouldn't make sense to send him elsewhere. It just seems the unhealthy family dynamics are complicating his career development rather than helping him grow on his own. Tough situation.</p>