When Your Work Life Becomes Your Personal Life

June 5, 2017 | By Ben Woodward

When I think about the conservative movement, I realize many staff are close friends outside of work, and some even live in the same house.  We are a closely tied movement, and that is a good thing.

Within individual organizations, working alongside people you have strong relationships with means you are more likely to enjoy your job and collaborate on projects; it creates a positive working environment. 

But here are some things to consider when your work life and your personal life intertwine.

Make your own decisions  

Remember that you are responsible for the decisions you make at work.  If they are successful, then you take credit; if they are bad decisions, then you have to face the consequences.  In the latter circumstance, nothing would sting more than knowing you were persuaded to make that decision against your better judgment because a friend, however unintentionally, misguided you.

Make sure that you do not let your relationships affect your better judgment.  With that said, use your friendships to your advantage.  If you need help on a project, being close to a colleague can be an advantage.

Conflicts in one portion of your life never intrude on the other

There are two sides to this. Most importantly, if you work alongside a friend, spouse, or relative, your clashes stay at home.  If your colleague is late on the rent, that is not a work problem.  Letting personal conflicts affect your day-to-day working life will damage your reputation as a professional.

Likewise, your work takes up a huge portion of your life.  Do not let your professional disagreements follow you home.  If you and your friend are both applying for the same promotion, do not let that destroy your friendship.  It is also worth noting that if you get the job, you may have to give your friends direction; and if they get the job, you want a good relationship with your new boss.

You may differ in seniority

Most of us spend our professional lives working toward that next promotion.  It means more responsibility, more freedom, and more money.  The only problem is, there are only so many senior positions around, and chances are, you’re not the sole applicant. 

If you find yourself in the awkward position of either working for your friend or being in charge of your friends, remember that standard rules still apply.  There may be information you cannot share with each other.  You cannot give or expect preferential treatment. 

Finally, there is a time for work and a time for socializing

When it comes to working with friends, family, and partners, there can be new temptations.  We have all been there, sat at our desks, struggling to motivate ourselves. It’s tempting to procrastinate – especially when colleagues want to socialize.

Of course, no employer expects you to be a robot and small breaks are common.  I must confess that I enjoy pranking my colleagues on occasion.  Just understand when to be serious, where the line is, and if you have a deadline, do not be afraid to make that clear.