I accidentally "took" my friends job.
March 25, 2014 11:45 PM Subscribe
My good friend and I applied and were interviewed for the same job at a prestigious organization in our field. I got the job. She didn't. I start Monday. My friend is really mad at me. I haven't felt this awkward and upset about something good happening to me since high school senior year awards night. HELP.
posted by SkylitDrawl to Human Relations (67 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
Background Info: We are both in our late twenties and have been friends for the past thirteen years. We met in high school and bonded over our fierce love of and desire to work in the same field/discipline (marketing, public relations, advancement, and communications for social justice organizations). Although we attended different universities for our undergraduate and graduate degrees, we have always maintained contact over the years. We communicate daily via text messages and phone, and meet for dinner around once or twice a month. Overall, we are pretty close friends, and have been for years.
Okay, so here's the current situation: recently, a mid-level position opened up at a very prestigious organization in our field. I've been dreaming of working at this particular organization pretty much since high school, so I was elated when I learned the position opened, and I applied to it right away. I was not aware at the time, but my friend also applied to the position. We were both selected for phone interviews, and then we both moved on to face-to-face interview. Although I had spoken to my friend about the interview process for this position and how excited I was to be interviewing at the organization, she never once mentioned to me that she was the other candidate for the position that I was up against. I just knew that she was ALSO interviewing somewhere in the state we live in.
As you can likely tell from the title, I was offered and accepted the position a few weeks ago. I announced the new position on my social media accounts (I am REALLY excited), and later that evening, received a very awkward and stilted phone call from my friend letting me know that she had been the other candidate for the position, and that she was very mad at me for "taking" this job opportunity away from her. During the face-to-face interview, the hiring manager let both of us know that there was only one other candidate for the position, so she is working under the assumption that if I were to refuse the offer, she would be offered the position. I really want this job, and have decided to take it, and I've told her that, and now my friend is REALLY mad at me.
There are some additional factors at play here, of course. Friend lives in our hometown three hours away from the major city where the organization is located. I moved here eight years ago for college and have lived in the same city as the HQ of the organization ever since. Something that is also important to note is that she is in a very serious long distance relationship, and that her boyfriend lives in the same city as me. Currently, they are taking turns traveling to see one another every weekend, and she was hoping to relocate here so that they could live together. Her not getting this job means that she cannot move to major city as quickly, and that is apparently a set back in their relationship.
I think this also stings for her because we have been friendly competitors for so many years, and she is taking this hiring decision personally as an indicator that I am "better" at our field than her. But this seems more serious and prickly than our competition over who would be editor-in-chief of the high school newspaper. All I have said to her about this is that we were both obviously good candidates on paper or else we wouldn't have both been invited to the face-to-face interview stage. I am pretty sure that I was hired because I was a better cultural fit for the organization - I got along well with the people on the team that I will be working with. In the few communications that I have had with my friend this past week, she has expressed the feeling that I "do not deserve" the job because I don't "need it to move my personal life forward" in the same way that she does. My own SO does live right down the street from me, so I guess she's right in a way, but I do think that I deserve the job and that she's acting a little crazy.
Knowing that I will be starting this job on Monday come rain or shine, how do I repair this friendship? Should I just let her go? Is there a way to be good friends with someone in your field without things like this happening?