Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Working for a Friend

The idea of working for a friend may sound appealing, but consider the following before entering into a working relationship in which your friend becomes your boss.

  • Set expectations: This will be a working relationship, so set realistic expectations that include maintaining a professional relationship separate from your personal relationship. Clearly define the roles, responsibilities, and goals for working together.

  • Keep your work and personal lives separate: Keep your work conversations professional. If you maintain a social relationship with your boss when getting together outside of work, it is best not to discuss business, if possible. Specifically avoid conversations that are laden with office gossip or politics.

  • Maintain open communication: Open communication is best. Your tendency may be to avoid confrontations with your boss out of concern for damaging your friendship. However, to create a mutually respectful and productive working relationship, you both need to address important work issues even if you have opposing viewpoints. And don’t forget to ask occasionally about how the arrangement is working out, but do so while at work.

  • Don’t expect favoritism: Although you started out as friends, when you enter into a working relationship, that part will be based on performance. Expect to be treated like any other co-worker who is reporting to the boss; don’t expect favoritism just because you are also friends.

  • Consider the worst scenarios: Hopefully your working relationship will be successful. But just in case, before you begin working for your friend, consider that you might eventually have to quit or, worse yet, be fired. Can you handle the negative impact these actions could have on your friendship—even to the extent of severing the relationship?

No doubt, a decision to work for someone who is a friend can be complicated, so make a list of all the pros and cons before finalizing your decision.

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