Bringing friendship into the workplace
March 24, 2010 9:52 AM Subscribe
Moving to a new city. A good friend is a manager at a local company and has a job open - should I take it? (If only it were that easy...)
posted by anonymous to Work & Money (14 answers total)
My spouse & I are moving in late April. I'm leaving my current job next week and haven't started looking seriously yet for a job in the new town. A good friend who lives in the new city called yesterday & we had a long conversation about a position she has open; it actually used to be her job until she was promoted. She thinks I'd enjoy it and be good at it, but she was very honest about some of the downsides.
- Pay is very low for a lot of work. The mental and physical demands can be high.
- I can't go into specifics, but in this industry the "clients" pretty commonly hate the "company." I'd have to deal with some negativity daily. There is often a measure of animosity between the staff & the people who pay for the service. I've found a few online reviews which all rate the company terribly. (But this is probably true for any business in this line of work.)
- Owner has "personality quirks" (her term); he hovers, highly demanding & at times illogical, expects utter loyalty but doesn't return said loyalty to you. He's also a former body-builder with a negative opinion of people less fit than him. I'm fat. I asked friend if this would be an issue with the owner. Her response is that 5 years ago it probably would have but she thinks that he's more understanding these days.
- Owner is "weird" about people taking time off. The company's time off policies are abysmal (they offer less than half the vacation/personal time that most companies do) and apparently staff needs to really "persuade" him to let them off whenever they need a day.
- Friend & I would need most of the same days off due to volunteer activities we're involved in. This could be challenging to get owner's approval.
- There's some drama involving the owner's fiance and mother, who work in another office -- but who seem to be responsible for extremely high staff turnover due to their personality problems. Fiance dislikes my friend and they have some negative history, but thankfully doesn't work directly with her. Friend thinks the fiance & mother will become non-issues however. The mother's retiring soon. And friend thinks that once the fiance marries the owner in a month, she'll be too preoccupied trying to make babies to keep making trouble in the office. (I have my doubts about this however.)
- I feel bad about the impact to my friend's personal credibility: Many people in our social circle, knowing her role, have asked her for a job in the past. She has turned them all down saying "I'll never, ever hire friends." (She did hire a good friend 2 years ago, which went very badly, & since then she has been totally against it). However, she would make an exception for me due to my skills & background, but she's worried how she'd handle that with our comrades when word gets out.
- The job is almost being handed to me. I wouldn't have to spend weeks or months hunting in an unfamiliar city.
- Working with a friend, I'd have an advocate to go to bat for me in the office, and I would be her support if times get tough. (I think this is part of why she's interested in having me there, since things have been challenging for her lately).
- Friend loves her job to bits; she's a real "true believer" in the company but is (thankfully) very blunt with me about all good & bad aspects of it.
- The job is in an awesome location, plenty of opportunity to meet people, problem-solve, and move around so my butt wouldn't be stuck in a chair all day.
- I'd get my own office, and possibly a part time assistant.
- Advancement & variety: It's a growing company & they need people to take the reigns on lots of new projects (training, web development, marketing, etc.)
So, given the pay, owner's personality, psycho fiance and associated drama, and crappy time-off policies, I'm not sure whether to go for it... or if I'd be smarter to start hunting right away for a job with better pay in a more familiar field, with more cluefull management. My friend would be 2 steps above me: I'd report to another person, who reports to my friend, who reports directly to the owner. But if I decide to take this, I made a commitment to my friend that I'd stay through the summer to get through a tough busy time. She is completely flexible and understanding if I decide it's not for me & move on after that. So.... mefites.... working with a friend: good or bad idea?