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I'm Asking: What's Your Take on Friends in Your Workspace?

I'm Asking: What's Your Take on Friends in Your Workspace?

Working with the same people for a while is likely to lead to some office friendships. Sometimes, co-workers become good friends outside the office, and your office time together can translate easily into hanging out on the weekends and away from work — but what if the situation was reversed? What if a good friend wanted to work their way into your life at the office?

I've only had one experience with a friend at work. I helped to get her an interview with a previous employer and recommended her to my teams and to the hiring manager. Based on what happened next, I've been hesitant to go to bat for others in my circle of friends. The girl I recommended left the job after just about three weeks — without warning. I dealt with the issue on a personal level, outside of the office. But, dealing with it on a professional level, with the team members I had only weeks earlier, sang her praises to, was much more complicated and uncomfortable. It took quite a bit of smoothing over, and I worked thereafter to separate myself from the friend and her less-than-ideal reputation with the company.

Since then, I've been reluctant to involve friends with my professional life. I like to keep my workspace separate, and I'm not likely to pass along a friend's resume without knowing exactly what her intentions are at the company and getting a full run down of her career objectives for the future — I'm sure to cover all my bases before I proceed with any kind of referral. It's definitely not easy making friendships work at the office, and a lot of the time you won't know exactly what you're in for or how your friendship may change, when it's subject to office politics, but I do have some good friends who do it well and make it work. What about you, how do you feel about friends in the workplace?

Join The Conversation
muchacha muchacha 7 years
I feel like I am just starting to learn these lessons about recommendations and whether or not to go to bat for your friends in the workplace. It's becoming all the more important as I move ahead in my career and perhaps my recommendation means more as I build my own reputation. Based on the scenarios outlines above, I would certainly make sure to evaluate my friends' work and potential for success before offering a recommendation. Like savvy, I too like to keep my friendship sphere separate from my work sphere, as much as possible. That means that I don't see my colleagues socially, but it's the choice I've made. On the other hand, one of my closest friends works in my industry for another agency, in a similar position, and we often talk about the ups and downs and ins and outs of our jobs. Talking with her is important because I know she can relate to my feelings and I with hers; it's helped grow our friendship and it's given us both perspective outside of the day-to-day grind. This is also a friend with whom I would love to work together in the future, if that would be possible.
bluebellknoll bluebellknoll 7 years
I have recommended friends and so far it's always worked out. I wouldn't do that for any friend though- just the ones that I know that have the skills and are capable of doing an excellent job.
J-Rabbit J-Rabbit 7 years
I once helped a friend get a temp job at my previous company. He was late the first day and quit by the end of the day. (I admit, I got lost several times when I first started, but he was HOURS late.) Although I love to help my friends, I'm definitely more cautious about involving friends in my work life.
socalbeachgal socalbeachgal 7 years
I had a similar situation as Savvy, recommended a friend for a job, I was one of the interviewers but not the final decision maker and then after he was on the job for a couple of months he lied about what was "promised" in the interview about job growth. I left for a promotion shortly afterwards but left bad feelings all around.
le-romantique le-romantique 7 years
My coworkers are pretty much my only friends (outside of a few childhood ones that I never see because they're still in college and my boyfriend). We're a really tight-knit group and have to work together a lot... so far no drama has arose, but never say never!
franciepants franciepants 7 years
Most of my closest friends know that if I endorse you into my work environment (or in any work environment), that says a lot. And not quite the exact opposite if I don't. Recommending anyone for anything also ties you and your reputation to that recommendation and that person. So unless I honestly believe in the capabilities of my friends for this particular work environment (mine or any other one they are looking for my endorsement on), I'll politely decline and say simply that I don't necessarily feel comfortable with it. BUT, will also try to see if I can arrange a one-on-one meeting with the hiring manager or other team members involved for them to interact. This pulls me out of the loop and also allows my friends to get the job on their own.
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