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Do you work for a friend — or are you considering it?
In many industries today, finding a competitive job can often be something to cherish. There are many professionals vying for many positions in many fields, and not all of them manage to gain lucrative employment despite being fully qualified to do so.
That means we can often feel that when an opportunity is falling onto our lap, we often feel obliged to take it. However, sometimes that opportunity is better of left to someone else, or at least thought of with a little more diligence before accepting.
Working for a friend, or having one work for you, will fall into this category deeply. Of course, sometimes you desperately need a job, and you are willing to make it work. You might have a sense of true bonding with this friend, and that can shield you from any difficulties that can crop up in a professional environment.
However, for the most part, this is a bad idea, and we hope to spend time in this article explaining why you should not work for a friend.
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Relationship On The Line
Here’s what could happen when you work for a friend:
It could be that you find your personal relationship on the line in case something goes wrong. If you underperform and your friend has to let yu go, you might feel humiliated and that your friend has exposed a flaw in your character.
They might lose respect for you, or feel annoyed you put them in that position. The opposite can be true. You might find that your boss is an incompetent or harsh leader, and that working for them is absolutely no fun in the least.
It only takes a small match to start a fire when an entire room is covered in flammable liquid, and this metaphor is apt to describe working with a friend. Even despite your best intentions, the human in us all can come out from time to time.
Just as good friends can be the best of friends but were never supposed to be together romantically, it can be that you were never supposed to work for your boss, and professional life should simply have never come into the equation.
If you’re willing to give it a shot then good on you, but just be wary your relationship with the person in question can be lost if you’re not careful.
Favoritism Or Dismissal
When you work for a friend, there are often two simple ways in which your boss can treat you after you join the firm. They can treat you like everyone else, which is often the best route. However, human nature is human nature.
Emotionally, you’re never going to be on the same level as someone who has come through the official channels of recruitment. You will be seen as a friend first and an employee second.
This can lead to two difficult and different methods of being addressed by your boss.
Favoritism and Nepotism
It might be with favoritism or dismissal. In other words, you can do no wrong, you are given access to the top projects first, and maybe you are promoted earlier than some.
This can lead to true office conflict, as your peers will start to despise you and begin to accuse your boss of nepotism. That isn’t a good look for either of you, and makes your life in the company much harder. It could even cause good people to resign.
The second treatment attitude is that of dismissal. In an attempt to prove to their current staff just how impartial and wise they are, your friend might dismiss your efforts, rarely praise you, rarely give you the potential above other workers in your office and invest the least into your training.
This can become a habit. Just as your peers can despise you if treated with too much care and consideration, you will likely feel that emotion to all those who progress faster than you and to your friend/boss. This is not good in the least.
It might seem like these two methods of behavior are too obvious to actually take part in, and that friends can be smarter with each other to ensure this doesn’t happen. But they are both humans at the end of the day, humans with many other tasks and responsibilities on their plate.
Situations like the two described can pop up anywhere, and with much more frequency than you might predict. To us, the impartial and respectful relationship we have to our bosses would be spoiled if we were close, close friends with them prior.
This doesn’t mean you can’t be friends with your boss. It’s just that if your employer remembers building paper airplanes with you in class in grade six instead of the suited professional in front of them, issues are going to occur.
Real Problems Under The Rug
If you’re not careful, you can sweep real problems under the rug when working for a friend, those problems that could have a true effect on your overall ability to form a decent working life.
It might be that payment was late this month, but you only bring it up once because you don’t want to put them out and make them feel bad. Then, the next month it happens again. If you don’t take a stand, this can become the new normal. Don’t let it become the new normal.
Sometimes, worse problems can occur. It might be that you’re injured at work due to negligence, and bad safety code, but because you’re a good person you give your boss the benefit of the doubt.
Really, you should find a personal injury lawyer and collect evidence, but you decide to weather the storm because it will preserve your relationship. In any other business, this would be ridiculous.
Part of being cautious about working for your boss is that it’s easy for you to try to be as courteous as possible – because that’s what friends do right? It’s easy to forget that actually, you need to treat yourself with professional and personal respect, and the friend comes second.
Should You Work For A Friend?
With these tips, we hope to help you dodge a personal and professional bullet by working with your friend, or at least looking on it with a more analyzing eye.