DEAR HARRIETTE: I found myself doing some freelance work for my father. He is opening a stone company and needs help with his website. I have been editing photographs of stone and coming up with the descriptions of where the stone would fit in a home or business.
Originally, I thought this would be a great way to make some extra cash and help my father out, but it's difficult. Normally, a workday ends when you leave the office. In this case, my father will come over for a family dinner and spend the whole time talking about business. Or he'll call me at night to talk about tweaks I should be making. I understand and accept criticism, just not at all hours of the day.
How do I make it clear to my father that just because I am freelancing for him does not mean he gets to stress me out about stone at all hours of the day? I don't want to make him angry -- we've just never worked together before. -- The Family Business, Richmond, Virginia
DEAR THE FAMILY BUSINESS: You and your father have not created boundaries around family and work. It's time to do that. Even though you are the child, you can step up and bring this to a clear conversation. Do so at the office, out of earshot of other people, so that nobody gets embarrassed. Tell your father that you enjoy working with him, but you feel uncomfortable about what has occurred, that you seem to be working at all hours whenever he chooses to come over or call. Tell him that you need to set clear working hours and refrain from working outside of that time unless you both agree on it.
Add that if your father feels compelled to engage you about stone even after you have brought your desire for office hours to his attention that you will need to charge him for the additional hours. Perhaps alerting him to the extra dollars will remind him to back off. If not, you will be making a lot more money until this relationship settles.