Friendship and career – how to combine incompatible things?

5 min read
Friendship and career – how to combine incompatible things?

Work is an integral part of most people’s lives. Many spend 40 hours a week or more on it.

Every day we communicate with our colleagues, see our superiors and sometimes solve difficult work issues. Have you ever thought that it would be much easier if your boss was a real friend for you, who will always support you and will not let you down in difficult times? To what extent will a close relationship with management reduce or increase the effectiveness of job responsibilities?

If your friend is the boss

You are looking for a job. Your good friend, an already established boss or head of a department, offers you a vacancy as his subordinate. What to do? Will work interfere with friendship, and friendship with work?

On the one hand, working together with a friend-boss is an excellent opportunity to show yourself as a professional in your field and rapidly grow up the career ladder. On the other hand, personal relationships very often get in the way and can turn best friends into real enemies. Friendship with your boss is a rather fine line, from which you can fall off at any moment and harm either your career or relationships. In any case, it’s up to you to decide whether to take the risk or not.

Advantages of working with a boss friend:

  • No need to undergo interviews;
  • If desired, you can agree on the absence of a probationary period;
  • Fast career growth;
  • More lenient attitude towards you in comparison with other subordinates (it is easier to agree on time off, days off, vacation, etc.)
Friendship and career

Disadvantages of working with a friend-boss (possible):

  • Possible overtime work “for old time’s sake”;
  • Instructions that are not included in the list of obligations (because you can always rely on a friend);
  • Unforeseen circumstances, for example, delay in salary: “My friend, you see, we have problems now, wait a few weeks.”;
  • Hostility of colleagues – many will probably talk about you behind your back and say that they hired you or promoted you solely “through connections”

How to maintain friendship and not lose your job?

If you assess the situation wisely and differentiate between areas of life, you can work quite successfully for your friend. To do this, you must follow several rules:

  • Do not abuse your boss’s good attitude towards you.
  • Do not demonstrate your status and non-work relationships with management in front of the team.
  • Try to discuss the rough edges in advance and agree on the boundaries of permissibility between you.
  • Try not to discuss friendly moments at work. And workers – during friendly meetings.
  • Approach your work responsibly – comply with your duties, do not forget about discipline. Remember that you are working solely for your reputation.

If you are not ready to follow these rules, then think again, is it really worth agreeing to your friend’s proposal? Maybe refusal will be the best decision for you to save your friendship in the future.

How can friendship with your boss turn out?

Friendly relations with your boss are always a test. Disapproval from colleagues, constant reproaches “he won’t get anything for this, he’s friends with the boss”, “he’s settled well”, “he’s just friends with the management”, etc. Not everyone can bear it.

Friendship and career

In most cases, the team negatively perceives the relationship between boss and subordinate, especially if the friends are of different genders. However, such friendships are not uncommon in our time, and if you were able to make friends with your leader, you can expect the following outcome:

  1. Dismissal. If you neglect your responsibilities and think that since you are a friend, then your boss should not demand anything from you in terms of work matters. In this case, only advice upon dismissal will help you.
  2. Losing a friend and a job. If you have crossed all the boundaries of what is permitted, then most likely they will not only fire you, but will also stop communicating with you altogether.
  3. Good job and stable income. If you do not advertise your friendship and are ready to work as required of you, then your boss will receive not only a reliable employee, but also a real, responsible, and most importantly, valuable assistant.
  4. Loss of friendship. Very often, work moments cause friends to quarrel. Misunderstanding, resentment, envy lead to a real “war” between former friends.
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Natalia Kolbasina
Independent financial adviser

Being friends with your boss has both its pros and cons. You will always be able to find out important information before anyone else, you will be sure that you will not be fired, and if you are fired, it will only be for the reasons described above, you will feel confident at work, and there will be a minimum of problems with vacations or weekends.

But don’t forget about the downsides. Very often, friendship with your boss leads to a deterioration in the quality of the professional work you perform, a decrease in responsibility, and more and more demands and desires. Envy and gossip from colleagues will also have a negative impact on your emotional state. And if you quit at the most difficult moment for the company, it is quite possible that your friend will consider it a betrayal.

Equilibrium rules

  1. Share interests correctly. When you enter the office, you should immediately forget that he is your friend. Here he is your boss, nothing more. Friendly meetings and non-official communication should remain outside the office.
  2. Keep your distance. Do not get personal, do not allow familiarity.
  3. Try to hide your friendship with your boss from your colleagues.
  4. Do not discuss your boss/friend with your colleagues.
  5. Try to resolve all controversial issues face-to-face without prying eyes and ears.
If your boss is your friend and you want to maintain a good relationship, remember that chain of command will help you. Don’t let personal relationships and work moments get together. At work, he is your boss first and foremost, and only during friendly gatherings in a cafe or at Johnny’s house. Finding a balance is indeed very difficult, but if you succeed, you will maintain your friendship and not lose your job.
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