Friend to employer? New relationship guidelines...
April 22, 2013 8:21 AM   Subscribe

So Mr. lasamana got a job (yay!). He had an offer from a company that was not local and an offer that was local but with a fair amount of travel. We made our decision in part by Mefi. Now the question - he’s now working for the local company that includes 2 separate friends of ours. They are his bosses. He seems cool with it but I’m having an issue. We (3 couples) are friendly through our kids. 2 of ours and separately 1 each of theirs (different ages). Occasionally we got together as moms and socialized. This happens maybe 2x/year. Our conversation runs the gamut and included personal stuff. Not to mention we run into each other in the store, etc. I feel very leery all of a sudden about these relationships. Not to mention I sense a sudden cooling off by one of the wives. Is it better to let these friendships fade or maintain as if nothing changed? I should one of these couples has been very good to one of kids even including him on overnight trips and stuff. Now I’m concerned even about the propriety of that in relation to other employees. Do I have a valid concern? Want to add I really like both couples and have had great fun with the wives.
posted by lasamana to Work & Money (6 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
This happens all the time with people who are friends with co-workers or friendly with people who are in the same industry. If you're friends with a co-worker who gets promoted into a management position and you then report to him/her, does that mean the friendship has to stop?

There will have to be boundaries about what everyone can discuss outside the office, of course, but generally, people understand that business is business and friendship is friendship. As long as the bleed-through between the two types of relationships is minimized, I think it should be fine.
posted by xingcat at 8:26 AM on April 22, 2013

Take your cues from the folks you're working with.

I've carroused with my managers and it's been fine. It really depends on the workplace. Let the kids keep doing kid stuff, I'm sure that won't be a problem.

Let them extend the first invites, after that, do what you'd normally do.

If the friendships cool, accept that it's part of appropriate distance.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 8:31 AM on April 22, 2013 [4 favorites]

I'd say take your lead from them and wait a little bit to see how things shake out. I'd be just as friendly as usual but I'd share less really personal stuff with them regardless of the vibe you get from them, and I wouldn't think the kids' relationships would need to be affected. It's just not great policy to mix work and personal too deeply, but I think it's fine to maintain the friendships.
posted by mrs. taters at 8:32 AM on April 22, 2013

he’s now working for the local company that includes 2 separate friends of ours. They are his bosses. He seems cool with it but I’m having an issue.

You should not necessarily end or reduce your friendships with these people just because they are now your husband's bosses. If that were the rule, it would defeat the point of most professional networking. Not that you should view all friends as potential "professional contacts" - everyone needs a personal life without work busting in - but that is sort of the ideal networking situation, where you genuinely have a personal affinity for someone and then also find you have professional interests and goals in common. Don't discard this situation just because it seems new and different.

However, DO note that you need to accommodate this new aspect of your relationship in the way you interact in the future. The bottom line is that if you are talking to the boss or the boss's wife, you can't complain about work. Period. That should be a part of your personal life that is now off-limits with these particular people, if it was ever otherwise.
posted by Joey Buttafoucault at 10:25 AM on April 22, 2013 [2 favorites]

I think it depends on the ages of the kids. If they're babies and these are organized play groups that are more about the adults than the kids, do what you feel. If they're old enough to maintain their own friendships, I fail to see how parental work drama really factors into it. As a kid I was friends with plenty of people my parents weren't buddy-buddy with.

My dad is a pediatrician. A lot of the nurses from his practice (so, basically his employees) have kids my age, and when I was a kid my parents and their parents were constantly pushing us together. As an adult, I am on friendly terms with my coworkers both up and down the ladder, and we socialize regardless of who is whose boss. It sounds odd to me that you would pull away from these people now that they and your husband are coworkers.
posted by Sara C. at 12:18 PM on April 22, 2013 [1 favorite]

> Do I have a valid concern?

Yes; while it's perfectly possible, as others have said, for friendships to survive this situation pretty much unscathed, the reverse is also common. Power is a strong drug with serious side effects. I agree with mrs. taters: take your lead from them and wait a little bit to see how things shake out. Don't be paranoid, but do be aware. And don't talk about work!
posted by languagehat at 5:37 PM on April 22, 2013 [1 favorite]

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