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Just as a background, my brother lives with me. I have my own business but I also contract for another company that he works with me for. He works with me/at my direction for my own personal business, and he has a junior developer position with the company I contract for.

For both this company and myself, he consistently shows a severe lack of motivation to do his work. Basically, he won't study for new technology or complete his tasks unless all of the conditions are right. The temperature of the room, his mood, his personal issues, our own family dynamic, how he feels about the work, whether or not someone else has expressed the right words or morale to him.

For example, I have asked him to study up on a new technology (software libraries, etc). However, he's waiting on a higher-up to give him the access to work on this technology and use it for the software. Because this higher-up has been busy and not available to give him that access, he hasn't studied. I've encouraged him to read up on it ahead of time so he's not completely lost when the work begins, because he has some nice R&D downtime at the moment. His reason was "I don't want to study this material because I don't feel like the other person cares enough."

Keep in mind, this task is definitely going to be his.

What can I do to break this behaviour and mindset? I am willing to do my work come rain or thunder and the slightest inconvenience makes him shut down. He does have ADHD but he stopped his medication because it made him too depressed.

I just can't relate to his mindset, as much as I want to because he's family. But I also can't keep taking his workload because I'm already working hard enough as it is. I can't protect him forever but he needs to stick to it in order to get to a position where his career is fully in place and has more job security. He's a junior developer at the moment.

I want to instill a sense of discipline and initiative so his career becomes established and solid.

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    Is your brother employed by you/ your company, and you then sell his services to another company? Or do you both work directly for the other company? – DJClayworth Jan 31 at 18:27
  • @DJClayworth I edited my question to clarify: "He works with me/at my direction for my own personal business, and he has a junior developer position with the company I contract for." – The Anathema Jan 31 at 18:30
  • I see. Thanks for clarifying, cleaning my comments... – DarkCygnus Jan 31 at 18:35
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You set goals for your brother. You work with him on setting the goals. You hold him accountable for what is agreed to.

Treat him like any other employee. If he does not follow through then he might have to look for another position. He's a developer. If he can't handle the demands of the job then this is not the correct career for him.

He's family. That's makes this more difficult. Ensure that he's getting the correct psychiatric therapy.

Good luck. This is difficult.

  • +1 "Treat him like any other employee" – jean Feb 1 at 9:55
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he needs to stick to it in order to get to a position where his career is fully in place and has more job security

He won't have any job security if he behaves like that.

He might land a job, because of the experience you give him, but is unlikely to keep it in the real world. He might get a second .. ditto. After that, he's a job hopper and unemployable.

He needs to get back on his meds (and possibly ask for other meds for the resultant depression).

Practise "tough love". Treat him as you would any other employee – because that’s how the real world will work (except it won’t be as kind as you have been until now (which hasn’t actually helped him)).

And - much as you want to help your brother, he might want to consider that he is simply in the wrong career and only took the job because his brother arranged it for him. Does he have any interests or hobbies where a job would hold his attention?

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    Hm... No. I have not seen anything personally hold his attention for very long. It's so hard to tell exactly what the core issue is. – The Anathema Feb 4 at 8:36

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