Should I contribute to my teenager's boss's Kickstarter?
July 3, 2016 6:53 PM   Subscribe

My teenager has a great summer job. I'm super-thankful to the manager who hired him. I googled to see what there was to see about this nice guy and saw that he has a creative business on the side for which he is currently running a Kickstarter. Would it be creepy or manipulative if I were to kick in a little bit? He's looking for an amount in the low thousands and I would give $50. I've never met him, but he would probably figure out I'm this employee's parent.
posted by lakeroon to Work & Money (34 answers total)
 
This would be Very Weird for everyone involved if you did this while he is still working there. It would still be weird if you did if after the job ended but maybe a little less so.
posted by griphus at 6:57 PM on July 3, 2016 [6 favorites]


Don't.
All of those things.
posted by AlexiaSky at 7:00 PM on July 3, 2016 [5 favorites]


I'd be really weirded out by this. You should not be involving yourself in your teenager's job or his relationship with his boss.
posted by jeather at 7:02 PM on July 3, 2016 [6 favorites]


Would you contribute if there wasn't the preexisting relationship?
posted by amtho at 7:04 PM on July 3, 2016 [3 favorites]


I have no idea why this would be weird. First, I don't think people on kickstarter are scrutinizing their individual backers much to see if they're friends-of-friends, for instance. Second, I have backed at least a few projects because they were by or about people who are known to me in some way. I kicked in a few bucks to a friend-of-a-friend's project, and also to a project to make a documentary about the son of a friend of mine from high school, who I haven't seen or talked personally to since we graduated in 1983.

I back quite a few things on kickstarter. It's a hobby in itself for me. "I don't know this person but I have reason to like them and this project seems pretty cool" is a perfectly fine reason to back a project. If the boss figures out it's you, I don't imagine they'd have any reason to be anything but appreciative of your participation and support.
posted by not that girl at 7:06 PM on July 3, 2016 [34 favorites]


I think it's a nice idea. Supporting good people doing good things benefits all of us.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 7:10 PM on July 3, 2016 [8 favorites]


On preview, I am in a serious minority here, and I still don't get it. How would it be manipulative? I assume you're planning to back the project, period, not to somehow connect your support of it to, I don't know, retaining your son as an employee? Or even explicitly to thank him for hiring your son?

People who are known in other contexst are a prime source of backers for kickstarter projects. It would be weird if you just handed the guy a fifty and said, "Thanks for hiring my kid," but coming across the kickstarter of a person you think is nice and contributing to it is generous and kind. Do the generous and kind thing!
posted by not that girl at 7:12 PM on July 3, 2016 [6 favorites]


Don't do this. Not because it would be creepy or manipulative but because it undermines your kid's burgeoning independence. Managers don't hire teenagers to be nice, they hire them to do seasonal work. Your kid earned it and being "super-grateful" to the"nice guy" who hired him/her undermines that accomplishment.

Use this first summer job as practice for letting your kid become the strong independent person you are raising him/her to be. That's what summer jobs really teach teenagers (and their parents).
posted by headnsouth at 7:12 PM on July 3, 2016 [38 favorites]


Are you getting a reward for backing this Kickstarter? Would it be worth approximately the $50? Then go right ahead.
posted by Etrigan at 7:13 PM on July 3, 2016 [1 favorite]


I have no idea why this would be weird. Sounds fine to me. If I was the guy, I'd appreciate your support, assuming I ever noticed it.

I am beginning to really realize that the internet is not a good place to ask about what is socially normal.
posted by teatime at 7:16 PM on July 3, 2016 [16 favorites]


Don't. I know everyone googles everyone they're even tangentially connected to but it's nice to maintain the polite fiction that this isn't actually happening. If I were your kid I'd be sort of embarrassed that mom or dad googled my boss and then gave him money!
posted by lalex at 7:23 PM on July 3, 2016 [9 favorites]


I would not do this at least until your kid is done working for this guy (assuming the Kickstarter is still open by then), not because I think you have any ulterior motives but because when I was teaching college freshman, some of them definitely did have parents whose MO would be to do something like this that looked kind on the surface and then try to use it to lean on me for special treatment for their kid. So if I were Nice Boss and I got a donation from you, I would be constantly on edge waiting for the other shoe to drop.
posted by dorque at 7:23 PM on July 3, 2016 [10 favorites]


I think it would be perfectly okay. As Etrigan says, handing him $50 for hiring your son WOULD be weird, but your son was simply how you found out about a kickstarter you'd like to support.

Then Mr.K looked over my shoulder (having heard my exclamations of "WTF! Nothing weird about it!") And he said, very sensibly indeed:

Why don't you talk this over with your son?

Indeed.
posted by kestralwing at 7:42 PM on July 3, 2016 [1 favorite]


You should discuss this with your son and proceed in whatever way he is comfortable with.
posted by makonan at 7:58 PM on July 3, 2016 [8 favorites]


Sometimes the mere appearance of impropriety is enough to cause major issues.

When in doubt, don't.
posted by ostranenie at 8:05 PM on July 3, 2016 [1 favorite]


I think you are probably overthinking this- it's a summer job and a Kickstarter...nothing related to these subjects is worth much analysis. Still, speaking to your son about it is a nice, respectful touch, and teenagers can be very sensitive about these things so go do that I reckson.
posted by jojobobo at 8:05 PM on July 3, 2016 [3 favorites]


Would it be creepy or manipulative if I were to kick in a little bit?

I think that is strongly dependent upon the reason why you want to do this. If it was a straight up honest reaction of "Neat! I want to support this Thing!" I don't see the issue. But if there is any intent to butter him up or to mention the Kickstarter and that you contributed, please skip it.

I also think the odds of him realizing you are the parent of an employee depends on a lot of factors, including how many people contribute and how distinctive your surname is.
posted by Michele in California at 8:12 PM on July 3, 2016


I love my parents but it would annoy me if they did this. He's probably starting to feel independent for the first time!
posted by stoneandstar at 8:40 PM on July 3, 2016 [9 favorites]


Best answer: I gave to a crowdfunding project anonymously on another site. It may be possible on Kickstarter.
posted by putzface_dickman at 8:55 PM on July 3, 2016 [1 favorite]


Another vote for no.
posted by arnicae at 8:59 PM on July 3, 2016


No.
In these startups people are working free as an intern. Are we now paying them to give us/our children a job?
posted by neworder7 at 9:05 PM on July 3, 2016 [1 favorite]


I wouldn't do it myself, but I cannot pinpoint why I think it is not the best idea. If anything, I would wait until a few weeks after your son finished. He already gave your son the job so I don't think it is inappropriate that way, but it could be seen as an inducement to not fire or lay off your son.

I would be more inclined to buy $50 worth of services or product from the company rather than donate to a kickstarter for his boss, but I don't think doing it would be a major faux pas or mistake.
posted by AugustWest at 9:09 PM on July 3, 2016


Best answer: What if I want to pledge anonymously?

We don’t currently have an anonymous pledge feature. But you’re free to choose any account name you like — so if you don’t want to be personally connected to your pledges, just choose a name that’s not identifiable (e.g., CatLuvr02).

posted by aniola at 9:13 PM on July 3, 2016 [4 favorites]


I've given money to kickstarter campaigns, and I can honestly see many possible answers.

But one of the most important aspects is what does your son feel or believe about this (not just now, but by the end of the summer), because first jobs are great for independence, being away from parents and ways that they might influence the world, to ... sometimes you might see an unethical business or kickstarter for the first time (not to say that it is, but first jobs is where you might observe this close up.)

I do think your heart is in the right place.

If I were in your shoes, and you normally give to charities and/or kickstarters, why not pick one or two to give to now and have a family conversation and vote about it? Followed by one a few months from now after the job is over (and that is when you can nominate the business where your son works at). Along those lines, you could also discuss with your son, if he really enjoyed the job, is there a way that he wants to say thank you? Because maybe it is buy business services, send a thank you email, who knows, but there are many ways that this can go wrong, both in the eyes of your son, and as perceived by the owner.
posted by Wolfster at 9:22 PM on July 3, 2016 [1 favorite]


As a person who's run Kickstarters: the more successful KS campaigns they've run, the less likely they are to be hanging on every donation and noticing things like names.

If they end up shipping the stuff themselves (assuming it's a KS that generates an end product) there is a higher chance they will notice that you have the same last name as that kid they employed.

Is it making a thing you want?
posted by egypturnash at 9:28 PM on July 3, 2016 [1 favorite]


It's very easy to pinpoint why this would be wrong, and many folks have already done it above:

because it undermines your kid's burgeoning independence.

Honestly, I think even asking your son's opinion about whether you should donate money to his new boss serves to undermine your son's new level of independence. Just back off and let him experience this without a parent hovering over everything.
posted by mediareport at 3:30 AM on July 4, 2016 [7 favorites]


I think I would not. I'm late to answer this because I didn't have an opinion but I sat with my discomfort and I think it's that you've phrased this as being grateful this person gave your son a job. But that diminishes your son's effort in getting and keeping the job. This isn't a favour (unless it was, as in, you personally asked.) I think a thank you is inappropriate.
posted by warriorqueen at 6:02 AM on July 4, 2016 [1 favorite]


I wouldn't see anything weird about it myself...
posted by Drexen at 9:14 AM on July 4, 2016 [1 favorite]


Completely normal. I can't possibly fathom how anyone could interpret that as creepy. It's a freakin' kickstarter.
posted by so fucking future at 11:05 AM on July 4, 2016 [1 favorite]


I think it's fine to do. But go with your gut on this one.
posted by jeffamaphone at 11:48 AM on July 4, 2016


For me, the thing that makes it weird is that you found out about it by googling the boss' name. Even though I know that people must be googling me for one reason or another, I still find it disturbing.

Also, if google and kickstarter had existed when i was a teenager, I think I would have found it profoundly embarrassing if my parents did this. Have you asked your teenager's opinion?
posted by FencingGal at 12:35 PM on July 4, 2016 [1 favorite]


I think that you giving money to his boss's Kickstarter plants you too firmly in the relationships between your son, his boss, his first job, and his independence.

It's a really, really nice idea but I would keep the grateful in my heart and pay it forward when I could.
posted by amicamentis at 9:00 AM on July 5, 2016


It seems weird and controlling to me. Do you want to risk your kid's boss having the same reaction?
posted by winna at 6:59 PM on July 5, 2016 [1 favorite]


I wouldn't. It blurs too many personal and professional lines, just at a time when you want to demonstrate how those lines work for your teenager.
posted by RainyJay at 7:48 PM on July 5, 2016 [2 favorites]


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