7 Tips for Going Into The Same Workplace as a Sibling

Posted on January 17, 2018

Last week, a few students told me they are interning or working at the same companies as their older siblings. One student asked what advice I had for her to stand out when working in this type of situation. Here are some thoughts to keep in mind when going into a workplace with a sibling:

  • Go Above and Beyond and Prove Yourself. Just because your company loves your sibling – doesn’t mean they will automatically love you. You need to prove yourself just like the rest of them. Make sure that you stay late, work hard, and show them your work ethic. You don’t want someone to think that you are getting the “easy way out” because your brother or sister already proved themselves. You are your own person!
  • Be Yourself. Although people may view you as an extension of your sibling, you aren’t. Don’t be afraid to be your authentic self at all times – remember, that’s what makes YOU special.
  • Use it To Your Benefit. When you start at a company that a close friend or sibling works at – use this to your advantage. Ask questions about the lay of the land. Who knows who? Who has strong relationships with one another in the office? Try to understand the political landscape as best you can before your first day. Also, try to memorize as many different people’s names as possible before you start. Have your brother or sister walk you through the names of people in your department (if they know).
  • They Don’t Know You. They might know what you look like and they might have an opinion about your sibling but they don’t have an opinion about you. Don’t confuse someone’s thoughts on your sibling with their thoughts on you. They have no idea and you do have the opportunity to give people whatever impression you want.
  • You Can Build Stronger Relationships. Have your sibling take you with them to a work networking event before you start, to introduce you. You may be able to walk into the office (ahead of the game) because you’ve already started to build relationships with your new co-workers. Also, make sure you cultivate relationships on your own as well as through your sibling. If they leave the company for some reason, you don’t want to feel like you are now at a disadvantage.
  • Form Your Own Opinions. In the office, you are going to have different experiences with different people based on your position and personality. Just because your older brother hates someone in the office – doesn’t mean that you are going to feel the same way. Hear out what your sibling tells you, take into consideration, but at the end of the day – form your own opinions about the people around you. And no matter how your brother or sister feels about someone – treat everyone with the utmost respect.
  • Make Your Own Earlier, I mentioned building your own professional relationships. In college, people always say to hang out with your roommate but also to make friends of your own so that you aren’t together ALL of the time. Working with a sibling is no different. You will value any time with your sibling but you also want to form your own identity and build your own social circle at work.

For more workplace advice, please read WELCOME TO THE REAL WORLD – my book on how to make the most of your first, second, or third job after college.