This week’s Cubicle Confession is a doozy, so hold onto your seats. As a Careerist and former Human Resources Manager, I like to help others in their quest for professional greatness. But every now and then, I get an inquiry that is both difficult and rather complex to resolve, and I find myself wondering if I should give advice or keep it moving. Courtney* from California inboxed me on Facebook and wanted to get my take on a particularly sticky situation that involves her best friend of almost fifteen years:
I have a huge problem and I was wondering if you could help me. I am a manager at a locally owned franchise and have been working at this particular location for about five years. I literally started at the bottom, and now I am 2nd in command, after the owner and his wife. We are in need of someone to work alongside me as a co-manager because I am pregnant and will be leaving on maternity leave soon. We mostly hire students and part-time workers so there is no one currently in our employ who fits the bill. I have been holding interviews for the last 2 weeks and have been unable to find anyone that I trust to do my job. My best friend is a great girl and works in the same line of business. We have a lot in common and she is out of work and I would like to help her. But she has a major attitude problem and I am sure would get into it with my boss and coworkers and even customers. She has the background and experience and works very hard, but her loud mouth and temper always get her into trouble. Should I take a leap of faith and hire her, or should I let her know its a no-go and keep looking? I am very confused.
Let’s take a good look at the issue, shall we? I am very much against hiring relatives, friends, and loved ones, as it usually complicates relationships and usually doesn’t have a happy ending. When people who have some kind of outside relationship work together, it is a recipe for disaster. So I say don’t do it–unless both parties have talked it through and have an understanding that the business will not affect the personal. And even then, beware.
Add to that, if the friend has a track record for being a not so good employee, then you already have your answer. Why would you hire a friend, or anyone in that matter, who potentially have problems with authority or doing their work? You could jeopardize your job doing so.
Also, are there any rules against nepotism or hiring friends and relatives as an employee policy in your workplace? If so, then there is your out and you don’t have to be the bad guy.
I know that you may want to help your friend, especially in this volatile job market. But you mustn’t ignore the signs. You mentioned that she has a major attitude problem and has a loud mouth and temper. Is this someone you want working with you or for you? Is this something your boss and his wife would want under their employ? Would you want to risk your job in order to give her a chance?
I am sure the answer to those questions is probably no.
If you are feeling bad about saying no to your bestie, you could always offer to give her a trial run. Be honest with her and let her know your concerns. Give her a chance to prove herself while you can train her before your maternity leave. If it works out, then there’s no harm and no foul.
Mixing business with pleasure, especially under “suspect” issues usually never ends well. I hope everything works out for the best. Congratulations on your pregnancy.
What’s say you, readers? What advice would you give to Courtney?
*name has been changed