The daughter of the CEO works as an intern in our company. When I once asked her to do a call for me, she replied "do you know who I am?"

I don't know how to handle this. Should I politely tell her, that it is important, that she should be engaging in the daily activities to do a better job in the future? Should I completely ignore her and pass it on other workers, to not get in trouble? Should I report it to the CEO about her behaviour?

  • 9
    Is she in your team ? Are you direct senior to her ? Was making the call part of her duties ?
    – OldPadawan
    Aug 6, 2017 at 12:22
  • 18
    Usual reply: A loud call through the office for everyone to hear: "Hey everyone, there is a young lady here who doesn't know who she is. Can anyone help"? I have met two CEOs of bigger (multi-billion dollar companies) personally, and both of them would not let their children act like this.
    – gnasher729
    Aug 6, 2017 at 15:02
  • 5
    @gnasher729 Two CEOs are not all CEOs. If she has an attitude like this, it seems not unlikely that her parent tolerates or approves of it (otherwise that attitude likely would've never developed or gotten shut down long ago). Aug 6, 2017 at 15:40
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    This sort of issue is one best answered by other senior folks at your company who know the situation, rather than random people at your company. It all depends on what sort of internship this is, and what your CEO is like. If there is a manager-type in between you and CEO, certainly ask them.
    – Peter
    Aug 7, 2017 at 13:50
  • 3
    "Do you know who I am?" - "Yes, I do. You're an intern. And until you can convince your father to give you special treatment along with a better title, I will continue to assume that's what you are, an intern. " Aug 8, 2017 at 14:27

5 Answers 5


"Yes I know who you are. My understanding that folks in your role are responsible for X, Y and Z (taking calls). If that's not the case, let me apologise and clarify with your manager to get a better idea of what -people in your team are expected to do". If there is a pattern of not doing stuff she's expected to, then speak to her manager about how her lack of cooperation in tasks she is expected to perform impacts your ability to get your stuff done. CEO relationship is not something I'd concern yourself with directly.

If she reports to you then get a position description from HR and go over it with her.

  • 24
    As a business owner who employed both my children, this is how I would want it handled. "Yes, you're the intern, and interns do calls for me. Right?" I would also have appreciated a quick one-on-one to tell me about it. However neither of my children would ever have done this so there's a good chance this child was raised somewhat differently. Be cautious. Aug 6, 2017 at 13:29
  • One could also add: I suppose your father expects that you get the same good training as all other interns get here, otherwise he just could give you pocket money and not salary. For an intern training means taking part in business processes in order to understand typical problems and get an idea of typical tasks in such processes.
    – Sascha
    Aug 7, 2017 at 9:19
  • @Sascha I'd not bother with this approach at least until you know the claim is true. For starters it comes across as a bit passive-aggressive. Secondly, the idea is to exclude the CEO connection from the behaviour because chances are that special treatment is not actually what the CEO is expecting. If it turns out that the CEO does require her to get special treatment then it's up to him to spell out what that is and how she is expected to behave and work in the context of the broader working environment (a very specific PD if you will). Either way, it's not her that dictates her job. Aug 7, 2017 at 10:19
  • This... Don't treat her any differently you would any other intern in her position. Contrary to her belief, daughter of CEO <> CEO. Aug 7, 2017 at 12:11

She is taking advantage of her "special" status as the daughter of the CEO. What she did was unprofessional / rude if taking calls was part of her job duties. As to how you should handle this situation, you should first ignore of her "special" status, and treat the incident how you normally would if she were another regular employee, which she is.

Bringing spoiled and childish behavior into the workplace does her no good in her future professional life, and if you were to handle this incident any differently than if the incident concerned a another employee, it can also negatively affect other's employees perception of you.

  • 7
    Start looking for another job with immediate effect before you apply this (technically correct) advice. Given a choice between retaining your job with a "negative" perception and losing your job with a "positive" perception, OP should choose carefully what is more important to him.
    – Masked Man
    Aug 6, 2017 at 17:34
  • 3
    This is dangerous career advice without knowing what the CEO expects. If he wants her treated differently, that's a poor reflection on him.
    – user8365
    Aug 8, 2017 at 16:53
  • @JeffO, agree that it affects poorly on the CEO. I think it would be safe to assume CEO wants their daughter treated like any other employee. They are setting a good example of professionalism and by doing so also promotes company in a good light. Both are to the CEO's self interests
    – Anthony
    Aug 8, 2017 at 23:36

Personally I would go to the CEO, not with a complaint but with a request for clarification of expectations. Tell him his daughter is working for you as an intern and you would like to know what his expectations of what she should be doing are. Just say you don't have a problem at this time, but want to be clear on what to do if a problem arises. If you want to expand, say you have seen it happen where the CEO expects the same behavior as anyone else and where the CEO expects that person to be cut some slack and you wanted to be sure that you did what was expected. I personally would have done this immediately on finding out I was getting the relative as my employee even before ever talking to that person.


You need to start asking your boss, if not the CEO, what your responsibility is when it comes to managing this person. Once you know what those in charge expect, then you can approach her and act accordingly. This can range from treating her like everyone else, so she learns what it means to have a job and follow directions or your boss doesn't want to upset the CEO so you need to just let it go.

Just make sure you get the straight information and you find out how anyone else in the company would be treated for noncompliance. If it's not a fireable offense for others, it's not for her either.


The likely background

The boss probably knows, what is he doing. Probably he knows very well that employing his daughter is more harmful for his company as employing someone else with a more neutral background. The likely reason for him to do this, that he is willing to pay this price, in the sake of educate his daughter.

The Problem

You can't be sure, what price is he willing to pay for that. It is quite possible that he is willing to fire you in the case of an open conflict with his daughter.

The solution


You have to test the boss, what is he willing to pay. Make a test maneuver, how the boss will react if the conflict with his daughter would escalate. How can you test him, it depends on your circumstances.

For example, you can mention his daughter in a neutral context, or in a nearly neutral context. Or, you can watch, how the Boss reacts if your daughter has a conflict with others. Watch closely his face. Try to understand, what is he doing and why.


From the result, you have to estimate, until when can you go.


Until you don't have a clear image, what is the work relation between the Boss and the Daughter, handle the Daughter carefully. I would suggest to accept what she wants. Consider she as a "Crown Princess". Try to get her trust, or at least a neutral stand.


If the Daughter has also conflicts with others, then be silent, watch closely, and go back to (1). If she has conflicts only with you, you should choice, until which point can you go in a conflict.


It could be also useful to give time to the Daughter, maybe she doesn't really know, what is she doing. The Boss is likely closely watching her, and continuously instructs her, what to do, how to behave.


Even if you decide, the situation is intolerable, step out professionally. Yes, I know, it means you will have to "swallow a lot of poison", and it will be hard. But the Boss will know this, and this is exactly what also he will consider as you step out.

Try to avoid open conflicts with the Daughter, and if you decide to leave, do it in good standing. If you feel, what she is doing is extreme, swallow it. Later, in the far future, it will be judged as a big positive thing from your side.

Also this is possible, that the Boss will teach his Daughter, how to behave with the employees. On the sudden changes of her behavior, you will see what instructions had she got from him.

In this case, accept that from the Daughter and be forgiving. Helping the first "wing beats" of a member of a family company could result for you lifelong respect in the company, and thus, stable job.

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