Having a parent be your boss can cause issues to begin with. But when you’re an introvert who wants to sit and do her work quietly while your dad boss wants to introduce you to everyone in the building…well it doesn’t help. My dad is an entrepreneur. The job title basically screams extrovert. He’s the type of person who can walk into a room and start a conversation with anyone there. He loves meeting new people and talking about ideas and what he’s doing. He is starting a new tech company that is developing an app to solve a real world problem. I am an intern. Since I don’t have my degree, and we don’t have the funding for excess, I am an unpaid intern. I have had many internships before and have excelled on all of them. I can be an extrovert if I need to be, to make a strong first impression and show my capability. But I do that best when I’m around people I don’t know, because they don’t know me. I can almost pretend I’m someone else who is confident and capable and will achieve anything given to her.
But now I work for my dad. Someone who has literally known me my whole life, but also sees what he wants to see. He wants to see his successful outgoing daughter who’s brilliant and overall exactly like him, and I’m not. I’m successful and bright, but I also have literally no idea what I’m doing. In school I have a business degree and am concentrating in marketing. Now what that means is I’ve taken intro level accounting, economic, management, and marketing classes and then took one or two extra marketing classes to “concentrate” in. I haven’t taken any entrepreneurship classes, I know literally nothing about a start ups and especially not how to market them. Everything I’ve been taught has been to get me a job in a well established business where I’d be creating flyers and thinking of new marketing ideas for other people to implement. Not a job where I’m thrown into a company of 7 people and I’m the ONLY one doing anything with marketing.
But again, my dad is my boss. So he expects me to be able to pull something out of my ass that I literally have zero experience in. I am so far out of my comfort zone it’s amazing I haven’t had an anxiety attack. I honestly feel like this job would be fine, great even, if I had someone to report to. Someone who was well experienced in marketing and knew what they were doing so we could collaborate together and they tell me what to work on and then let me know if I was doing something right or wrong. That would be totally fine, because I would have direction. But instead it’s me. And my dad. Who doesn’t know much about marketing, yet still happens to criticize me on everything because I’m not doing what he expected me to be able to do. So no, I don’t stand up when I meet someone knew, or speak confidently right now. I don’t want to meet anyone in the building and tell them that I’m doing the marketing for the company, because I’m defeated and lost. And as an introvert, I already don’t want to talk to new people, but when I feel so lost in this environment it makes it that much worse.
Not to mention that I hate being told what to do by my parents. For some reason it irks me to no end when they try to tell me how to act or what to do. I am almost 21 years old, I know how to act, I just choose to act differently in that moment, it’s not cause for a lecture. So when my dad tries to tell me what to do in relation to work, it’s fine because he’s acting as my boss. But, when he tells me how to act (like stand up when I meet someone), it just pisses me off and defeats me even more. Obviously I know how to act. My acceptance into every honors organization at my school proves that I know how to act professionally, but because of the uncomfortable environment that I’m in I don’t act like I usually do.
I like knowing exactly what to do. I like knowing exactly what steps to take to complete a project, or if it’s something I haven’t done before being able to ask questions without fear of being criticized. I am a quick learner. I can problem solve very easily and efficiently. But something of this scope, like being in charge of the entire marketing for a new start up company where the entire marketing department is me, an unpaid intern. Yeah, I can’t really deal with that as easily.
I sometimes think to myself that I should just see this as a challenge and accept it and give it my all, but it’s hard to do that with no direction, no idea where to start, and no idea if your ideas are even valid, plus when you actually have an idea no idea how to implement it.
It’s also hard to market a product that is even fully developed yet and where the beta hasn’t been released. So yeah, it’s the impossible challenge.
I wish I had some advice or wisdom to pull out of this, but I have a feeling that part of this experience will come in hindsight.
P.S. For those who read this and think “Why doesn’t she just try talking to her dad about getting a real marketing person?” I tried…apparently he’s wants to wait until he finds the marketing/growth hacking guru of the century for start ups that fits perfectly with his team…which basically means he’s not looking for anyone right now…