When a position opens up at your office, do you tell your job seeker friend about it? It’s a tough call. Working with a friend can be awesome, or it can put all kinds of stress on your friendship. Luckily, there are a few things that can make the situation more or less risky. Here are a few questions to ask yourself before you encourage a friend to apply to your place of work— or before you apply to work with a friend.
Will you be working for, or with, your friend?
If you work with a friend it might not introduce very many new variables into your relationship. Coworkers usually share the same goals, challenges, and general day-to-day outlook on life just like friends do. However, working for your friend will mean taking direction from your friend. It will mean sometimes getting criticized or reprimanded, and it may be difficult for both of you to do your jobs effectively in this situation. This goes the same way if you are the one that has to work over your friend. Are you prepared to give them directions and reprimand them if they make mistakes?
How much contact will you have with your friend?
Just because you work for the same company, or even in the same department, it doesn’t mean you will have to closely work with a friend. I only see some of the people in my department once a week— I don’t think that would put too much stress on your relationship.
How stressful is the work environment?
If the job is pretty low-stress, it will be much easier to work with a friend. Conflicts in the workplace usually occur when the pressure is on and mistakes are made. My friend and I worked three summers in a row together at three different low-stress, part-time jobs. There was nothing for us to get upset about, and we got along just fine.
What is the job like, and how long will you/your friend likely stay there?
This is especially important if you use a friend as a networking contact. If you are hired on their recommendation, it may reflect poorly on them if you quit in six months. So before you take a job with a friend or recommend a friend for a job, make sure the job itself is going to be a good fit. Ask good questions, and think long and hard before you take the position.
Do you have any major personality differences that could become apparent at work?
I had a friend in college who was consistently late to every get-together, and would often not respond to text messages. As a friend, this only bothered me a little. However, if we worked together I know that it would bother me a lot. Consider what you know about your friend and his/her work habits. Can you live with them? Will they drive you crazy?
What else should you take into consideration before you decide to work with a friend? Leave a comment below, or send me a tweet: @ithinkther4iamb #workwithfriends
IMAGE: Courtesy of Flickr by hl4rbc