Hi Kally,

I was wondering if you can help me here. My problem isn’t as big as what the others have written but still it’s like a thorn in the flesh.

I’m in my mid-thirties and like you, I enjoy my work and my workplace tremendously. I worked in a small retail clothing store with 7 other colleagues, we have always been such great team. Just last year before Christmas, my eldest sister got retrenched.

The problem arises when she ask me to recommend her to my company. I mean I really love my sister but she’s a bad employee in my opinion. She’s lazy and a couple of times I caught her at home with our parents when she should have been at work. More than a couple of times, she would reveal that she has taken a few bucks here and there from the petty cash box from her company. From a non-bias point of view, I really wouldn’t want such coworker in my company.

When she heard that one of my colleagues is going away to have her baby, she immediately jumped at the opportunity to ask me to refer her in. I hesitated and she accused me of not helping family. She made such a ruckus during our New Year’s Eve dinner, even my parents have to step in to lecture me for not taking care of ‘one of our own’.

Recently, I have caught her twice, hanging around the store, trying to chat up with one of the owners. I know it will be time when my employers asked me about offering her a job and since she is my sister, they likely assume she’ll be like me.

Could you and your readers please advice? I really don’t want her to spoil the happy atmosphere at my workplace!!

Thank you in advance! I’ll take in any advice!


Quinn J.



Dear Quinn,

What a situation you have caught yourself in!! Oh dear, it’s between the devil and the deep blue sea.

You didn’t say if you have spoken to your sister in depth, pointing out her flaws and letting her know that your workplace is not really suitable for such a character like hers. Maybe you could sound her out by telling her the difficulty of working at your store like long hours, shift work, handling difficult customers and missing out on holidays etc. Meanwhile, you can offer to assist her in finding a job much more suited to her personality.

Alternatively, you can adopt a wait and see approach. If your bosses approach you for a referral, be honest and straightforward, letting them aware that she is not really suitable for the job. However, if they are willing to give her a trial period, perhaps you can open your heart for once and see if she will change. For all we know, the retrenchment is tough and a shock to her, she might have learned her lesson. I always believe in giving someone a second chance.

The key thing is that it is not your decision to make, throw the ball back into your employees’ court. They are the rightful owners of the store and I’m sure they would be able to make the right decision with or without your influence and recommendations.

I wish you all the best.



54 replies on “A Word of Advice: Family Affairs

    1. It is the act of retrenching; a cutting down or off, as by the reduction of expenses. Usually by companies who can’t afford to keep all of their staff and reduce the employees number by letting them go with a retrenchment package (usually consist of 1 to 6 months salary).


  1. It’s quite a predicament; I think your advice was sound. I’ve never been in such a situation, but I once gave a recommendation to a friend who was a sound, reliable employee; however, he did not fit the job due to family/travel constraints, and left rather abruptly. Luckily for me, my employers were understanding and didn’t hold it against me, but I don’t think I would ever do the same thing again, and I wouldn’t advise anyone else to try it, either. Situations such as these can not only damage your career, but also relationships.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I think that was good advice. Her sister is not her. If she takes care of her own business, she’ll be fine. If the owners hire her sister, and she’s a bad employee, that’s on her. Now, family wise, that’s a bit different. But work wise, her sister is on her own. If she screws up, that’s her problem.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. So sad….you must remember that despite the fact that you & your sister are two totally different people, the community looks at a family as a unit: The behavior of one is reflected upon another. Your sister’s attitudes & actions will be a shadow across your brow also. Unfair as it is, these attitudes are a reality in today’s society. Loyalty is beautiful. We love our brothers & sisters so very much. We want to do what is best for those we love. Sometimes what is best is not the easiest. Giving a loved one what they need is not the same as what they ask for. Working side by side with a relative is an awkward position; especially when their work ethics are not like our own. You will make your workday uncomfortable . The job you love today may become a thorn in your side if you are put in the position of “watching” over a family member. If a person needs food, give them a bag of groceries. From experience I have found it much wiser to give some people $50 rather than a job working beside me. Honesty with your employer is imperative. You do them no favor by suggesting an employee that is not best suited for their company. If the situation were reversed, wouldn’t you want truth first. Some people simply don’t mature as quickly as their age increases. Lessons are difficult at times. Taking responsibility for one’s behavior and attitudes is a growth process. As our children mature, we know that giving them everything they ask for is not best. Spoiled comes in all sizes; from age 5 to age 75. We never stop learning. I have a great number of years more than you. Dealing with family matters can bring some of our most painful moments. Despite our great love and loyalty for our siblings, we must not lose our reasonable perspective. You are responsible for your own family….partner, spouse and children first. Your sister is a grown woman that will make her own decisions. Don’t allow her decisions to make your home uncomfortable or unstable. Any kind of recomendation you make for her placement in your own work place need not be an open conversation with her either. “Yes, I spoke to my boss about giving you ajob…”….need go no further than this. I’m sure your boss will be as discreet about what kind of recommendation you give as you are. Honesty is a judgment we never regret. Lies or miscolored words are almost always regretted. My thoughts are with you, dear. God bless you & your sister. Blessings come as welcome gifts…. And as life lessons……both are necessary.


    Liked by 1 person

  4. I like your advice. Family, work and money often don’t mix well. Suggesting honesty is essential. This doesn’t mean offering every little detail, but personal ethics and values should never be compromised.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. You really gave her the right advice…
    Communication is very important in relationships, however they may be related to you! In the end it is her employer’s decision but atleast she could speak to her sister in private about her behavior, maybe she might understand and rectify herself. Its important for a person to see themselves from the view of others , it gives them a better insight of their personality. E.g.: you praising yourself for your work is not enough, it’s when others appreciate your work, that’s the real satisfaction! Quinn first needs to communicate with her sister and explain her concerns to her!
    Good job Kally, I guess I too should write to you for advice!😉

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much!! I do hope that Quinn and her sister will get together to have a proper talk. I did advice Quinn to show this page to her sister too if she doesn’t know how to start the conversation rolling.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. People ,don’t change. They are incapable of it. If she gets the job, your sister will be just as useless as she ever was. Eventually she will get sacked. And then your employers will start looking for you. They may think that you are like your sister, but better at it. Any money goes missing, you will be the thief. Any illnesses you have will be skiving. If your sister wants the benefits of family, she should be worthy of the family. Personally, I would leave her to find her own job.

    Liked by 2 people

  7. Retrenched sound so much more noble than “laid off” or “shit canned”! You give sound advice and as you point out, it’s the company’s decision. And if push came to shove it would be easy enough to give an honest appraisal of the sibling’s unsuitability for the position without mentioning any of her unfavorable characteristics.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Though , because of your family pressures it will be extremely difficult for you to follow , I appreciate jfwknifton’ advice as a very clever and practical one.
    Don’t love your sister better than you love yourself !

    Liked by 1 person

  9. I wouldn’t do it. Family/Friends/Career don’t mix well in some circumstances. If you give a referral, the company automatically ties you to your relative. If something goes badly, you will be somewhat responsible…especially if you know that your sister is not the most reliable of employees. Best of luck in your predicament!

    Liked by 1 person

  10. You did the right thing dear Kally by not refering her. It could have risked your job and your credibility. Every day on your job would have been difficult for you. You should explain to your parents your predicament. They will surely understand. It is a matter of time. You can try helping her in some other way.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. I feel you gave good advice, Kally. Should a family member get hired in my mind Quinn could say to sister, “Don’t embarrass our family nor jeopardize my job by being a bad employee.” And Quinn could mention to parents to support sister being a better employee than in the past and maturity must be promoted. Nicely written! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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