Working with friends sounds like a dream: you have someone to bitch about your boss with, you have the same schedules (meaning the same free time for happy hours), and — most importantly —
you have someone to sit with at lunch.
With the good times come the bad, of course, and you might find yourself in a situation where your friend isn't putting in the work, your friend is making you look bad by association, or your friend is making you be the bad guy. Here's a textual situation I received from someone who hired her friend at the company she works at:
I needed a bit more info on the situation:
First off, rookie mistake being on social media while being friends with your employer.
If you don't know about the whole "follower activity" tab on IG by now, congratulations — you've been playing yourself.
Finally, I collected my thoughts to respond as fruitfully as possible:
Whether you work at a corporate office or on the corner of Strathmore and Gayley, the people you work with are (un)fortunately an important part of your life. Though you might find nothing in common with the person who has the cubicle next to yours, you might need them to cover for you one day, or you might find it easier to assemble a coup d'état with the help of others, nahmean?
However, just because you work with your friends does not mean that your work place is a playground.
Yes, you're totally allowed to have friends at work,
whether you started the job with a friend together,
or you acquired a friendship in the office,
but there is a fine line between being friendly and being disrespectful.
Continuing with my friend's anecdote, I asked her what kinds of questions she's asking her friend that she hired, followed by how close they are as friends:
The questions I'm asking her are all related to work, like, 'Hey I marked the ones that need to be looked at, when can you get that done?' We aren't super close but we're cool with each other.
Here were my options:
1. Double text and be nice (aka something a pushover like me would do).
Hey did you get my text! just need to know when you can get it done 😊
This route will probably give you a more instant result, but its longevity is inexistent, in that she probably won’t fix her ways.
2. You can be blunt/serious and set that tone of bitchiness so that she will hopefully pick up on it and be motivated by fear (ish)/bitchiness.
Hi I asked for the edits X hours ago and I need them done immediately when I ask for them. Thanks.
This route definitely can help change her ways immediately, but it could also result in messy “friendship” if taken the wrong way #itsacoleworld
3. Blame an anonymous superior and use them as the bad cop while you’re the good cop.
Hey so _____ pulled me aside and asked where the edits were that you were assigned, and then kind of got upset that you hadn’t turned them in yet. I was totally covering for you, but ____ mentioned that if you’re not going to be timely in your ways, they might let you go. Obviously I don’t want that to happen, but I just wanted to let you know what was going down.
This method can help you gain your friend's trust in that it isn't you who is complaining about their untimeliness, it's someone above you who doesn't know you. However, if your friend tries to talk to this anon superior, run.
4. You can be nice yet persistent and get what you need from this moment, and then ask to meet up or have a phone chat following, where you set the tone for all future tasks. You need to let her know that this job is remote, and you understand that with a freelance type of position comes a lot of, well, FREEDOM. It’s great, but at the same time, if she’s not willing to put in the work and treat this as a real job and not just some side job where she can pick and choose when to work, then she needs to find another job.
Working with friends is completely possible, but regardless of if you are equals at work/your friend hired you to work with them/you hired your friend to work for you, the one thing we all need to remember is to
You aren't at work to make friends (unless you're a professional friendmaker, lucky) — you're there to get shit done, make money, and advance in life. With that, you can't let someone's bad work ethic affect you, even if they're close to you. You also can't expect your friend not to get upset at you if you aren't doing your job to the best of your abilities. Your friends have no intentions of being a boss bitch and constantly nagging at you to work, but if you aren't doing your job, the results are inevitable: someone is going to have to be pull rank or make a move that could feel patronizing as fuck. Working with friends is a two way street, so in order to keep the equilibrium and not make it awkward with your friendship, we all need to keep it professional.
Don't give your friends any better treatment than others; it'll become habitual.
Don't make excuses for your friends; they're adults.
Don't become drunk with power and try to authorize everything your friends do; you're just being a bitch.
Don't think you get special treatment; why would you try and make your friend look biased towards you to create conflict?
Don't push deadlines or bring in irrelevant personal excuses; you're an adult.
Don't feel obligated to let your friend's behaviors slide just because they're your superior; leadership roles often fuck people up without them realizing it.
EMPLOYERS AND EMPLOYEES:
DO YOUR JOB.
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