My twin sister was my coworker. We confused customers and colleagues, but the experience helped us become closer.

When I began working at my local shopping mall in 2016, I brought a whirlwind of confusion to both my coworkers and customers. My identical twin sister, Aimee, had already been employed there for about a year while balancing her studies at dance college. As a student in need of a job myself, Aimee recommended me to her manager, and I was soon hired as a part-time general operative following an interview. My duties included working alongside my sister in the food court, cleaning tables, assisting customers, and maintaining the restrooms and managers' offices.

On my first day, it quickly became apparent that neither Aimee nor my new manager had informed our coworkers about my existence as a twin. When I arrived at the food court, ready for my initial shift, a worker approached me with a puzzled smile. She chatted with me as if she knew me and questioned why I was in the food court instead of my usual station. It dawned on me that she had mistaken me for Aimee, who was working on the floor above. When I explained that Aimee was my twin sister, her smile turned into laughter; she was astonished.

Many customers had similar reactions. Some would stop to ask if I had a twin after seeing both Aimee and me working either together or in different parts of the mall on the same day. Others humorously assumed I possessed super speed, darting from one place to another, when in reality, they were merely seeing my sister and me at different workstations.

I should have anticipated these reactions. This wasn't our first time working together. As teenagers, Aimee and I had worked in our family's fish and chip shop in our hometown. Aimee, being more outgoing, handled the front-end duties with customers, while I stayed in the back, cleaning dishes and doing other chores. It was a valuable learning experience, and my parents believed it was important for fostering a strong work ethic in us, as well as allowing us to witness their dedication to something they were passionate about.

However, working with family had its downsides. I recall numerous arguments and moments of tension from the stress of running a business. Even during off-hours, our conversations often revolved around the shop, which wasn't healthy for our relationships. After about four years, my parents decided to close the shop. It was a bittersweet decision, but we all understood it was the best choice for our family.

Working at the mall with Aimee was different. We weren't emotionally invested in our jobs to the same extent as the family business, so the stakes weren't as high. Mistakes or frustrations at work could be left behind when we clocked out. This environment allowed our relationship to thrive, and we genuinely enjoyed working together. We even share inside jokes and funny memories about our time at the mall to this day.

The experience taught me that working with siblings can be rewarding, and I would definitely encourage it — though perhaps not in the high-stakes environment of a family business.  

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