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Would You Accept a Friend Request From Your Ex-Boss?

It's no secret that social networking sites can cause some serious stress in the workplace. In some cases, there's anxiety over whether you should share your Facebook or Twitter accounts with job recruiters. In other cases, well-crafted online profiles might give you a leg up with potential employers. Still, we're probably most familiar with stories where something seen on Facebook or tweeted into the blogosphere, lands someone out of a job. But what if it's not your social networking conduct that's in question? In the case of Friendly Fred, it's his boss who may be out of line.

In a letter to Fortune, Fred details how he was fired by his employer — without warning or severance pay — and soon after, friended by the very same (and now ex) boss. Obviously, the lay-off has left Fred with some less-than-fond feelings for his old boss, and while he's in no rush to accept the request, he fears ignoring, or even declining it, is poor Facebook form.

While Fortune's Ask Annie doesn't offer any quick fix for Fred's query, she does reveal the findings of a recent OfficeTeam poll that suggests that most of the workforce would be apprehensive about friending their boss on Facebook — preferring to keep their personal network separate from the office. What do you think? Would you want to be Facebook buds with the boss who fired you?

Image Source: Getty
Join The Conversation
SaucySassy SaucySassy 7 years
Weird that a boss would even befriend people on facebook - unprofessional in my opinion. No need.
magickalrealism magickalrealism 7 years
My preferred workaround to this is to ask the person from my former professional life to connect to me on LinkedIn rather than through Facebook. If an explanation is requested, I like to say that I just use my Facebook for "boring family stuff."
kcwebgirl kcwebgirl 7 years
i only friend my actual friends. none of that fake friend crap. and why would the boss want to be friends with someone he just fired? is it because he wants to see if fred is miserable and still unemployed? seems awfully shady to me.
Akasha Akasha 7 years
I have made it a rule that I not only do not allow business contacts as Facebook friends, but I also did not allow my mother to be one of my friends either. It's not that I say or write anything inappropriate that I wouldn't want them to see, but my friends have responded in ways that I really don't need the "what kind of friends do you have" speech from work or family. Whenever someone from work requests me I explain my personal rule to them and ask them to not be offended when I decline their friend request. Most people understand, but my boss at a previous job felt the need to argue my decision, and it was a bit awkward for a few days in the office. She even brought it up when my mom came by to visit for lunch. I think she finally got over it when my mom said that she got denied as well. I also do not share my blog.
nyxmoxie nyxmoxie 7 years
Nope. I don't like bosses even ex-bosses crossing the personal line. Work and friendship are two different things. But that's not an issue for me since I don't use FB. I tried it awhile back and it just didn't work for me, plus I think FB is an ugly website, so I deactivated it.
starofsorrow starofsorrow 7 years
Oh, heck, no! If I was in that situation, I'd be even less than friendly, and ignore the request.
Spectra Spectra 7 years
Um, no way. I only use Facebook to connect with my real-life friends and family; I prefer to keep my professional life out of things.
psterling psterling 7 years
In this situation I would not friend the ex-boss but I have been lucky to have great managers myself and are friends with both my current and former bosses on FB. I wouldn't suggest it in every situation though!
carhornsinapril carhornsinapril 7 years
whoops. firefox freakout... i'd probably accept the request after a few days. as with all of my professional contacts, i'd probably only give him access to my limited profile, though.
carhornsinapril carhornsinapril 7 years
i'd probably accept the re
TidalWave TidalWave 7 years
I didn't even think about the page thing! That would be much easier to handle, thanks!
Chouette4u Chouette4u 7 years
While TidalWave's idea makes sense, it's actually against Facebook's TOS to have two separate accounts like that. If they discovered it, you could lose one or both of your profiles. What you're supposed to do is have your personal (and private, nonsearchable, if you wish) profile and then have a "page" for your professional identity. Pages have almost all of the functionality that profiles have, and it keeps relative privacy a two-way street. People can become a "fan" of your page and see updates from it, write on its wall, etc, but it doesn't allow you to see their personal updates, photos, etc. As for the guy who got fired, I think it was just an asshole move on his boss' part to send a friend request. A few months ago, my husband had to fire someone, and the very first thing this guy did was remove my husband as his Facebook friend. It was totally understandable.
TidalWave TidalWave 7 years
Here's my solution, no one else thinks it is practical but I feel it's important. I'm a web designer. So when I go for jobs, I know that my name will be searched everywhere. Well, I have a personal account on facebook. I am unsearchable and only friend my actual friends. I can go nuts on this account and not worry about anything. But I also have a professional account. This uses my professional email address, my whole name, and all of my interests are related to web design and the such. I list my previous employers (like a digital references list) and my only friends are past and present colleagues. This account is searchable. And honestly, I hardly use it. But it's there if an employer wants to find out more about me that way. So separating the two, I have no problems friending an ex boss. I don't share much about my life on the professional account so I don't fear the invasion of privacy or crossing of boundaries.
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