In the last edition of Career News, we explored the upsides and downsides of accepting a friend request from your boss. But what if the tables are turned? What if you’re the one who would like to do the friending?
According to employment experts, there are pros and cons —
Sure, just go for it
A study conducted by marketing firm Russell Herder found about a third of men who are connected to their supervisors on Facebook say the online relationship gives them a leg up at work. For one thing, peering into your boss’s personal life — her kids, her grandkids, her vacations, her favorite restaurants and recipes — gives you more to talk about during those brief moments in the break room or at a departmental party when you have time to chat about non-work related things. That personal connection just naturally builds a bond between the two of you.
You’ll also be giving your manager an inside look at your world and what you do in your spare time too. He’ll find out about the Little League team you coach, the 50th wedding anniversary party you just hosted for your parents, and your son’s latest appearance on the school honor roll. Stuff like that tells him you’re a great guy off the job too, which might make him more likely to better recognize the wonderful things you do at work as well.
Nope, it’s not a good idea
On the flip side, another study conducted by Robert Half International found 57% of managers feel uncomfortable when a staff member sends them a friend request. Only 37% reported being okay with it.
That means a lot of bosses out there really don’t want to be a part of your online persona. They prefer to keep things separate when it comes to work and home, and being your Facebook friend would put a quick end to that situation.
Why don’t bosses want to be your Facebook friend? Liability could come into play. In large workplaces most managers go through training on how to avoid delving into their employees’ personal lives because the workplace wants to avoid any appearance of impropriety that could lead to a lawsuit. In other cases, bosses are uncomfortable with Facebook friend requests from employees because they feel accepting those requests will make other employees feel as if they also have to friend the boss, or that they are favoring employees who friend them over those who don’t.
The bottom line is, proceed with caution — and be cognizant of your own situation and what others are doing. If you work in a small hospital where everybody is Facebook friends with everybody else, then you want to be Facebook friends too. But if you work in a large medical center with an RT department that numbers in the hundreds, then you might think twice. You don’t want to put your boss in the awkward position of having to click “Ignore” when your Facebook friend request comes in.