Can You Be Friends with Your Coworkers?

Or will you only end up hurt in the end?

In a given year, many adults spend more time with their coworkers than with their friends or family. That lack of socialization can make it tempting to turn your coworkers into friends. A day spent talking about new projects and meetings can turn into a social outing after work; you can be productive and get your social fix at the same time.

But is it really the right choice to turn your coworkers into friends? Honestly, it depends on who you want to be friends with, where you work, and a ton of other factors. Before trying to start up a workplace friendship, ask yourself these questions.

What’s at Stake?

First, let’s define what we mean by “workplace friendship.” We’re not talking about the cubicle buddy you make fun of the dress code with, or that guy in accounting that told a great joke before the 8 a.m. meeting. A “workplace friendship,” as we define it, is a relationship that combines your personal life with your work life. Meaning that you meet up after work for meals or go to events together.

There can be plenty of benefits to having a close friend at your place of work. They can inform you of project progress in a different department, chat with you about your strengths and weaknesses, or help you figure out how to tackle a particularly difficult work problem.

However, whenever there’s a large group of people, cliques are certain to form. Whether it’s the playground, high school lunchroom, or the nearest breakroom, it’s hard for people to be friends with everyone. And cliques result in people feeling left out, feelings they might act on by gossiping about you or just being difficult to work with.

When you begin a workplace friendship, that means opening yourself up to the possibility of that friendship failing and still having to work with that person. Maybe you complained about a coworker when you were friends but then got promoted, causing jealousy and frustration. They tell that coworker you said something negative way back when and suddenly you’re the office tyrant.

Are They Your Boss?

How good are you at setting boundaries? Some people are able to separate work and personal issues to such an extent that talking to them about deadlines is like dealing with a completely different person than the one you planned an upcoming get-together with.

If you can’t be that person, it’s probably not a good idea to pursue a friendship with your boss. That opens you up to a whole world of criticism. If it goes well, you have to deal with other employees thinking you get special treatment. If it turns out you aren’t actually that big a fan of your boss outside of work and no longer want to spend time with them, you’ll be in the awkward position of feeling like you have to meet with them after hours to keep your job. And you’re not being paid to be anyone’s friend.

As noted by Monster, Dr. Jan Yager, author of “Friendshifts: The Power of Friendship and How It Shapes Our Lives,” said “Same-level friendships are the easiest to maintain. Problems can arise if one friend has to supervise or evaluate the other.”

But what about when your friend gets promoted and is now your boss? The key is to set boundaries. Gone are the days when you could make fun of upcoming training classes or analyze a recent managerial decisions together. If you value the relationship, keep overly personal conversations to after hours and weekends.

Do They Want to be Friends with You?

The Week is pretty clear on where they stand on this issue in their article, given that the title is Your Coworkers are Not Your Friends. And to be honest, they’re right. This quote best sums up what they’re trying to say:

“That is not to suggest we cannot or should not make friends on the job. But it is to say most of our coworkers will only ever be coworkers (take a moment to think about how many of your friendships with former colleagues have any meaningful existence outside of Facebook), and inside the office, they should be treated accordingly.”

Nobody in the workplace is there to make friends. At the end of the day, most of us are here to make a paycheck. Liking your coworkers gives you more of a reason to come in every day (and those that like their coworkers enjoy their jobs to a much higher degree), but it’s not the base reason you work.

What that means is you shouldn’t assume your coworkers want to be your friend just because you do. If they do, great! But if they don’t seem comfortable with high-fives or keep rejecting your invitations to get dinner or hang out on the weekends, don’t take it personally. Although being friendly is often a must to thrive in the workplace, being friends is not. People are free to have their own interests and spend their personal time on their own terms.

Do you have any experiences with friendships gone wrong (or right) in the workplace? Let us know in the comments below!

Safety Month: Forklift Safety

We’re back to wrap up National Safety Month with one last set of tips.

Getting your forklift certification is something worth celebrating. Forklifts are great tools that allow you to do things you could never accomplish alone. However, improper use of these warehouse workhorses could result in injury or even death.

Every three days, someone in the United States is killed in a forklift-related accident. You can avoid this terrible outcome by practicing proper forklift safety procedures. Need a reminder? Check out this handy infographic below.

[Download a PDF of this poster here.]

Poll Results: Does Charitable Giving Matter?

What’s the best way for companies to show they care?

When a company gives back, it shows they care about more than their bottom line. It helps to humanize a faceless corporate entity. Companies that give back frequently see less turnover and greater success.

Last month we asked readers what type of giving they prefer their companies to engage in.

The Results

Paid time off for volunteer/charitable activities led the responses with over 24% of the vote, followed by corporate partnerships with local nonprofits at 17%, and matching employee donation funds at 13% in second and third, respectively.

Other results included:

  • Opportunities to provide company services/products pro bono: 13%
  • Company sponsored volunteer events: 11%
  • Allow employees to pick organizations/causes the company supports: 10%
  • Donation drives (food, blood, clothing, etc.): 9%
  • Other: 2%

What does this mean?

Employees want to take the lead when it comes to charitable giving. They want to help steer the company toward causes they personally support. Whether that means receiving paid time off for their efforts, seeing the company partner with local nonprofits, or having the opportunity for the company to match their donation funds, they just want to be included in the process.

Employees like the communities they serve and want to see a real, lasting impact from charitable giving. When companies and employees are united in their desire to serve, everyone wins.

What is your company doing to give back this year? Let us know in the comments section below!

 

Ask a Recruiter: Losing the Job Before You Even Get to the Formal Interview

Is it possible to ruin your chances of getting hired before you even meet your interviewer? Yes it is.

We frequently get questions from readers about the interview process. One of the most common is why they never make it past the first interview.

Although we covered interview tips in a recent blog, here’s one more key fact—the formal interview process often starts before you even step foot in the building. We’re talking about the phone interview and any other interactions you have with your recruiter or HR professional leading up to the interview. Many times, this is when mistakes happen.

Here at Movin’ On Up, we don’t fault jobseekers for tripping up. If you’ve never had a phone interview before, how are you supposed to know how that world works? Everyone has to start learning somewhere.

To help prevent you from committing these pre-interview mistakes, we asked our recruiters for their thoughts. Here’s what they had to say.

  1. Constant Calling

If you’re the best person for the job, recruiters and HR professionals want to see you succeed. After all, your success is their success! Although calling every once in a while is fine, this means that calling every day to check in is not only unrequired, but also rather bothersome. In extreme cases, applicants have even been known to treat their upcoming interview like a side dish to a main course. Literally.

“I once had an applicant call to follow up on their application while going through the drive through. Then they put us on hold to order a number one with a soda.”Tracy S., MI.

But the real reason to stay away from overcalling your recruiter or HR contact? It makes it look like you’re unable to do work on your own, and need constant contact. Employers frequently look for applicants that are clearly able to handle deadlines and projects on their own.

  1. Too Much Negativity

The job search is hard. Constant rejection can sting. However, you should never bring up these experiences in your interactions with recruiters or HR professionals. They want to see you at your best, not your worst.

“I’ve had some applicants start our first phone call off by speaking poorly of their previous managers. While I understand bad managers exist, when an applicant starts off an interview that way it makes me think about how they’ll talk about their future manager if we hire them. I’ve also had applicants speak at length on businesses they have applied to and been rejected from. Basically, try to keep negativity out of any interaction with your recruiter or HR professional.”Carlos D., OR.

“It’s hard to make an offer to an applicant who reveals too many personal issues during a phone interview. Although I get that a bad divorce or single parent situation can be tough, I want to use the phone interview to see what you might look like as part of a business. Spending so much time on negative personal experiences takes away from that.”—Roxanne P., TX.

Keep the conversation to your accomplishments and accolades. Although everyone has bad experiences, a phone interview is not a great place to share them.

  1. Lack of Professionalism

Regardless of how friendly your recruiter or HR contact is, you still need to remain professional. Whether they’re nervous or tired of the whole job search process, some applicants say or do things they shouldn’t. This can be over the phone during an initial interview, or by email.
But what exactly does “professional” mean when it comes to the job search? Not doing these things.

“Sometimes I’ll call an applicant and have a great phone interview, but then they disappear. I’ve had some cancel interviews multiple times with issues such as car trouble, personal problems, and last minute emergencies out of town. Once I received all three excuses from one person! Although I get that life happens, we can only reschedule so many times.” —Tracy S., MI.

“What gets to me is when applicants don’t do their research. I’ve had people come in saying they think we’re just a temp service and don’t do anything else before I can even tell them about how I can help them with a temp-to-hire or other eventual fulltime position. They come in hurt and frustrated before I even say anything. Since we’re in a smaller market and have established clients, I might be the only one with access to that job posting. And they’re perfect for it!”—Shannon J., WA.

The job search can be frustrating. However, put that frustration away when you’re having a phone interview or emailing your recruiter or HR professional. Be the best version of yourself, and always believe that this one could really be the one. If you don’t believe in yourself, they won’t either.

Click here for more in our Ask a Recruiter series.

Have questions for our recruiters? Let us know in the comments below!

Safety Month: Ladder Safety

We’re back with another set of safety tips for National Safety Month.

Does your job involve time spent climbing ladders? Maybe you need to restock product on the top shelf or repair a leaky roof. Whatever your reason, ladders are a necessary tool to get the job done. However, they can also be deadly.

Every year, 500,000 people are treated for ladder-related injuries, and 300 of those incidents end up being fatal. To make sure your name doesn’t end up on that annual list, check out these important safety tips.

[Download a PDF of this poster here]

 

Poll Question: What Type of Part-time Work Would You Consider?

We are all more than workers. We’re fathers, mothers, sons, daughters, grandparents, hobbyists, and so much more. Which means we need time to take care of sick kids, help our parents in their old age, or simply to pursue other passions.

But with a fulltime job, that’s not always easy. We need to get things done on a deadline; and sometimes, that means sacrificing time with our family and friends or a possible vacation opportunity.

For some, the standard five day, 8-to-5 work week just isn’t working anymore. Something more flexible is preferred, and part-time work could be the solution.

But not every type of part-time work is going to be right for all of us. What kind of part-time work would you consider?

Introducing the ExpressJobs App

Looking to quit your current job but not sure where to start? In search of the perfect part-time job? Or maybe you want to break into a new industry altogether.

To help make your search easier, Express Employment Professionals has introduced the ExpressJobs app, brought to you by Express Employment Professionals.

Want to hear more? Check out this quick video, and download the app on the App Store or Google Play today!