Not Many Men Work With Their Moms

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Separating the parent/child vs boss/worker relationship: a rite of passage for family-run firms.


Family Business. It’s the business of this episode of How’s Work? with Esther Perel. Normally the intricacies of a mother-son relationship would be none of our business, but here, because they work together, we’re invited to eavesdrop.

After 25 years of running her real estate film, the mom needed a hand. And who could be better than her own son? Now, six years on, they’ve learned it’s not so easy to separate family and business roles. In Not Many Men Work For Their Moms, they seek help to untangle the two.

Some of what you’re about to hear echoes leitmotifs from the history of clans. And some is unique to today’s economic rhythms–and to Esther’s improvising baton.


  • The need for professional hand holding may shift as a junior colleague gains stride–but not their need to feel supported.
  • It's one thing when your boss says, “I won’t be here forever,” but quite another when it's your mother who says it. One sentence can speak to the complex emotional layering of a kin-colleague relationship.
  • Can the second-generation entering the business ever reconcile the lingering question of, “Am I here just because I’m the child of, or because of my own merit?”
  • A unique training opportunity unfolds in family business that no single school can teach. How to convey this history of knowledge is the challenge.
  • Words matter. Introducing new vocabulary can help create new meaning to the family work dynamic.
  • To address, "Where do we go as partners?" can mean to address the archaic stereotypes of female disempowerment and male emasculation.
  • When it comes to family business, what are the implications of legacy and succession for other family members?

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