When you work full-time, chances are you spend most of your waking hours around your boss. So it makes sense that you'd want that relationship to be pleasant or at least cordial. But a convivial working relationship can be tricky to navigate since he or she will still be your manager no matter how close you two get. The consequences of befriending your boss like on UnREAL where just about everyone crossed that working-relationship line into unprofessional territory may be hyped up for television, but the core elements are still very real. Here, a few guidelines for mixing your professional and personal lives — and not having it blow up in your face.
1. DO be inclusive. Cliques were awful in high school and they're just as un-fun and petty in the workplace. This is especially true when your boss is involved. If you're always making joint lunch runs or grabbing post-work drinks together, extend an invite to the rest of your team. Ask your colleagues to join and avoid bringing up inside jokes in front of other staff members.
2. DON'T gossip about other coworkers. It's not fair to let your close relationship with your boss affect your coworkers' relationships with her too. Likewise, your boss shouldn't be using you as a mole to find out dirty info about your colleagues and report back. Make it a rule to discuss current company news only and if that doesn't work, try changing the subject whenever your manager starts fishing.
3. DO keep things professional. This means no sex or drug benders with your boss. Grab dinner, have a cocktail, try a buzzy workout class, or attend an industry event — just avoid activities that your mom might deem "unprofessional." Translation: Don't get hammered.
4. DON'T divulge too much. Once your boss feels like your bud, it can be tempting to let her in on exciting professional stuff, like a recruiter who reached out yesterday or a full-time grad school you're thinking about applying to this year. Your boss has a job that needs to get done and you — or someone in your role — needs to to do it. As soon as she knows you're looking elsewhere, she'll inevitably start working on replacing you. It's just business, and at the end of the day, she's still your manager.
5. DO be mindful of what you post on social media. If you're Facebook friends or follow each other on Snapchat, think twice about posting that karaoke pic in the wee hours of Sunday morning — unless you want her to know exactly why you're nodding off at Monday's staff meeting.
6. DON'T complain about your job. You've got a great boss who you're friends with, so how bad can your job really be? Keep the complaining to a minimum. Not only is it unprofessional, but it can also come across as majorly ungrateful. If there is a serious issue you need to discuss, don't do it over drinks — address it professionally during work hours.
7. DO expect to be treated like everyone else. Befriending your boss isn't going to get you a fast track to the top. Your actions need to speak for themselves. Your bestie boss will no doubt have your back in sticky situations, but she needs to be able to draw upon solid examples to justify doing so.
Tune in to the second season of UnREAL, premiering on Lifetime on June 6 at 10/9c.
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