Employees beware – your employer is not your friend. And, before you think of a couple of reasons to dispute that statement, hear me out. When you are hired to do a job, it’s as simple as that. You agree that for X amount of dollars you will take on X amount of responsibilities.
During casual chats, in-office birthday celebrations, and an occasional heart-to-heart moment with your boss – you may begin to feel a weird connection, foolishly thinking you two are friends. AHT, AHT. You’re not.
Don’t get me wrong, having a good relationship with your boss may have a massive pay-out in different ways, i.e., with a promotion or with you being forgiven for screwing something up BUT it is not to be mistaken for friendship.
You cannot be friends with your employer because business needs will always come first. A friend will understand you missing an important event and will not hold it against you. Your employer will allow you to miss an event or day at work but keep it noted. Your boss will not choose you if it comes down to the business or the friendship.
It will be hard to separate business from personal. No matter how professional you believe you are, befriending your boss muddies the thick line between personal and professional. Again, your boss will most likely choose the business needs over yours. That means if you disclose plans of going out and having a few drinks but missing work and trying to lie – that will have a negative outcome.
Expectations will also begin to arise. You may expect your friend-boss to take it easier on you, to consider you for a huge project, or leave raving reviews on your evaluation. After all, that’s what a friend is supposed to do, right? Then you’re sadly reminded, “nothing personal, just business”. Now you want to cry to your boss-friend but can’t. Or, it can have the reverse effect.
Remember in P.E class when there were two captains, and they had to choose a team member one by one. No matter what, if your friend was captain, you knew that you’d always get quickly selected. Did you deserve it? Maybe, maybe not. But all the other kids knew it was coming because that's your bff. The same rule can be applied in this work situation. Favoritism may begin to show, leaving you with sour relationships with co-workers.
If you have found a place which you enjoy working at with people you enjoy working with – congrats, that is what most job-seekers want. But, for the sake of your professional career, do not mistake your boss to be your friend. You should always keep it professional and friendly – without being friends.