Many bloggers have feature days each month. I think my feature for the 2011 Blogathon will be “Short Post Mondays”. My posts average about 800 words. That’s a lot to write each day. So, welcome to Short Post Mondays.

Friend or Foe?

Recently, I had a discussion with a friend about whether it is easier or more challenging to work for friends.

The man who I was speaking to is a dear friend and I am consulting with him to help create his WordPress blog, which will end up being a lynch pin is his business. Our professional dealing are going very well and the friendship allows for humor and forgiveness when one of us forgets a detail. My friendships are usually based on a good flow of communication and a good portion of mutual respect. I have worked for several friends over the years and it has been a positive experience about 95% of the time.

This particular friend said that he believes that when one hires a friend to do work it can be touchy because if that person does not deliver you feel empathy towards them and may not be as demanding as you would with a stranger. I think this is true, for the most part. But, I am a bit unique in that I want the truth from people. If things are not working out it is of no use to either party to drag it out, friend or not. I think the friendship, if strong, can help individuals navigate professional challenges in a much more constructive way.

Where I have run into problems is a) doing work for a family member of a friend.  If it goes sour it can be challenging for your friendship is say, that person does not pay you. b) doing work for folks who have a track record of having people “fall off” a project. If you end up working for someone who seems to have a lot of folks who commit to a job and then suddenly quit, this can be a red flag.

As an independent consultant, no matter the client, friend or stranger, it is most important to be flexible, honest, clear in all communications and get things in writing.  These basic tenants help create a mutually respectful and beneficial professional relationship.

 

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