Want to turn your work place into a real life telenovela? Hire a friend. Not only will you have to recalibrate your relationship with them and reduce it to fit weekends and after-work hours, you will have to be extra careful about not displaying any form of nepotism as your co-workers will be carefully observing every move of yours. Here's a list of things that can go wrong:
You can't treat your friend differently compared to other employees just because you know her the longest. She is a valuable resource because you know all her strengths already and communication is effortless. As her friend, you also want to support her so that her future in your line of work can be brighter. However, she needs to reciprocate that. She needs to give her best efforts into trying to bring the best output. Asking you for extended deadlines and other extra benefits makes her a bad friend and a bad employee. Yet, most friends end up asking for them.
In a professional relationship, it is the responsibility of a diligent employee to ensure everything runs perfectly, and if that means having to confront you about work-related concerns, it has to be done. Compared to her peers, your friend will find it a million times more difficult to challenge your management techniques or point out your leadership flaws. This may give rise to awkward confrontations and conversations when you are least expecting them.
It will be impossible to discipline your friend. I know you might assume that complications of this sort will never arise between you and your friend, but there will certainly be times when you can't engage in a heated argument with your employee even when you want to. You will be embarrassed to point out your friend's errors and misdemeanours in front of the others. If you do that, you become a terrible friend, if you don't you're a terrible, biased employee.
Seeing your friend outside work and having her around at work may feel like the perfect solution. But face it; you'll see a lot of each other, almost too much. Spending an hour with your friend after work and sharing all the gossips and complaints you have about your inefficient interns and bossy managers is the best and the cheapest therapy session. But, if you think you'll still be able to do that when your friend starts to work under you, you are in for a surprise! Your friend will now be professionally acquainted with all your other employees and seniors, and ranting to her about them will never feel the same. Your friend can no longer complain to you about her boss, and you can no longer complain to her about your employee.
Not allowing your personal and professional problems to intermingle will be like trying to keep coloured clothes from staining the whites in a washing machine; it's impossible. Imagine having to work with your friend after having a giant argument with her the night before. Dealing with situations like this over and over again could really take a toll on your relationship.
Susmita is a Lit major who lives on tea and sweet-toast. Send her life-advice and opinions to firstname.lastname@example.org