You're out of work, or miserable at your current job, when an opportunity opens up at your friend's company. The good news is that you have an in, and a high likelihood of getting hired. The bad news, however, is that taking the job will result in a situation where you're working for a friend in some capacity, whether it means reporting to that person directly or having that person be the source of your paycheck. And that could make things awkward on many levels. The question therefore remains: Is it a good idea to work for a friend, or are you better off not mixing business with personal relationships?
Advantages of working for a friend
One benefit of working with someone you have a personal relationship with is that he or she already has a high opinion of you, and that could translate to a world of opportunity on the job. Now this isn't to say that you'll automatically be first in line for the next promotion that comes up, but your friend/boss may be willing to be more flexible with you in terms of things like scheduling and working from home.
Another benefit of working for a friend is that person will most likely be looking out for your best interests. As such, you'll probably be put in a position that lends to career growth and skill development.
Finally, you'll probably have an easier time voicing concerns that arise to your friend than you would in a regular manager-employee scenario. And that means you're less likely to struggle with work-related challenges or walk around unhappy on the job.
Disadvantages of working for a friend
But working for a friend has its drawbacks, too. For one thing, you may come to feel slighted if you're not promoted or given a raise, or if your friend/boss disagrees with you on a work-related matter and ultimately has the final say. Granted, you'd probably feel bad if that happened with a regular boss as well, but in this scenario, you're more likely to take it personally.
And there lies the real danger of working for a friend: having job-related matters spill over into your personal life and destroy an otherwise strong relationship. In fact, you can't discount the possibility of your friend/boss one day having to fire you or lay you off, and if that happens, you'll both struggle to recover.
Finally, you may come to find that if you decide to work for a friend, when you're outside the office, the only thing you talk about is work. Now this is a risk you take when you work with a friend as well, but think about whether you're willing to forgo that separation of work and personal life.
Ultimately, working for a friend can be a positive experience for both of you, but it's a move that can also backfire. If you truly value your relationship with the friend in question and aren't utterly desperate for work, you may want to pursue other employment options before signing up for the role in question. Otherwise, be prepared for things to get awkward as both of you navigate the boss-employee dichotomy, and just remind yourself that if the situation gets too uncomfortable, there's always the option to bow out gracefully.
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