friend drama may collide with job hunt — Ask a Manager

here are the 10 best questions to ask your job interviewer — Ask a Manager

A reader writes:

I have a friend, Jane, who I used to be close to, but in the past few years she’s been very hot and cold, going through periods of being almost clingy and then turning on a dime to become unresponsive or even kind of annoyed that I’m talking to her. This has been emotionally difficult and I’ve decided I need to dial back the friendship.

I’ve also been trying to get out of a job that’s become untenable, but the job hunt has been rough because my industry is small and competitive. Another friend, Carol, works in the same industry and has been highly enthusiastic about getting me a job at her company, where I would really love to work. I have an application in with them now that she helped me a lot with, and I know she’s mentioned me to the hiring manager as well. I’m immensely grateful to her for this and definitely owe her one whether it works out or not.

Here’s the rub: Carol and Jane are BFFs. (Like, Carol was maid of honor at Jane’s wedding.) And while I’m hoping to transition quietly to a more distant friendship with Jane, she (for understandable reasons that are not mine to share) is very sensitive to perceived rejection or people being mad at her, so there’s a solid chance that she will notice I’m not as engaged. She may confront me or she may just silently be hurt, but either way I’m sure Carol will hear about it, and who knows what that will do to her opinion of me.

I know I’m borrowing trouble a little, but what do I do if my relationship with Jane blows up in the middle of a hiring process where I’ve been relying heavily on Jane’s best friend’s goodwill? At this point things are mostly in the hiring manager’s hands and I don’t technically need more help from Carol, but what if the manager comes back to ask her more questions about me after her original recommendation and she now hates me? Or what if she’s no longer comfortable working with me? Is there anything I should say to Carol about the Jane situation beforehand? Should I pull out of the application process if things go south with Jane and Carol seems upset? Or should I just treat these two things like they’re unrelated and let whatever happens, happen?

I do think you’re borrowing trouble. You’re not plotting a confrontation with Jane where you list off all her faults, tell her she’s a horrible person, and then kick her in the shins. You’re just … less engaged with the friendship.

If Jane tells Carol that you’ve been more distant, that’s not the type of thing that’s likely to make it into Carol’s comments to the hiring manager. (And if it did, the hiring manager would be confused by why.)

If your concern is that Jane will confront you about it and you’ll be forced to have a full reckoning of your problems with the friendship, which could lead to a blow-up that Carol holds against you or just wants nothing to do with … then yeah, ideally you’d avoid that conversation while you’re still in the hiring process for the other job. And really, is that conversation even necessary? Maybe it is, but maybe you can also just do the “I’ve been really busy” slow fade. (I do think that if you and Jane were very close once, you’d owe her more of a conversation, unless you’ve already tried raising the issues to no avail, but you also don’t need to have that conversation RIGHT NOW. You can wait until things aren’t as entangled, and it’s reasonable to want some distance while you’re deciding exactly how you’re going to handle it.)

Of course, if you get the job, you’re going to be more entangled with Carol, not less. And if things go south with Jane, Carol may feel she’s in the middle of drama between her best friend and a coworker. In that case, the best thing to do would be to just be a warm, pleasant, and professional colleague. Unless Carol is problematic herself (which in this case could mean some combination of petty, gossipy, vengeful, and unprofessional) she’s unlikely to insist on bringing someone else’s work drama into your office when you demonstrate that there’s no need for it.

Source link

Receive the latest news

Ready to find your dream job?​

Receive personalized alerts to stay up to date with the latest opportunities. Don’t miss out – start your journey to success today!

By signing up now, you agree to our privacy policy and terms of use and to receive emails from us.

Skip to content