Family businesses

My parents both work in advertising photography. My father is one of the most famous commercial photographers in the country. My mother manages the business. They started from practically nothing and built a very successful business. Their partnership works. My father is passionate about his work and enjoys creating beautiful images. My mother makes sure that the company runs smoothly.

My father will probably take pictures until it is physically impossible to do so. I don't think he'll willingly retire. My mother, on the other hand, does the behind-the-scenes work so that my father can pursue his dream. She looks forward to a quiet retirement and time to read, write, knit, think, dream... Still, as long as my father wants to shoot, she'll be there keeping the company running. I think that's really wonderful of her, although I wish she could pursue her dreams more often. I think she really enjoys travelling, reading poems, and seeing beautiful landscapes.

I am the youngest of three children. Our house has always been part of the office, so my sisters and I grew up watching them work. Our passions lie elsewhere. Ching used to be an IT manager at Proctor and Gamble before transferring to HP because of the company move. Kathy's interested in photography, but is thinking of being a flight attendant. I really love teaching.

Kathy is the most likely successor to the business, but she doesn't really see herself doing advertising photography right now. We'd rather see the employees inherit the business because great business requires great passion. G-nie looks like she'll do a great job, and she's learned a lot from my father. My mom will be hard to replace, though.

We never felt pressured to join the family business. Our parents are open about the different paths we want to take. Sometimes, though, I worry about what will happen when the torch must be passed. I don't want to see Adphoto dissolve because there are so many people who have worked there almost all their lives, and I just can't imagine them looking for work anywhere else. I know, however, that I'm ill-suited for the job - at least if I want to pursue my own dreams.

Stuff to think about.