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A previous colleague of mine whom I was friends with left the company in bad terms with our boss. He is now working at one of our competitors. He recently asked to meet up with me for a catch up.

Is there anything I should be aware of before meeting him? e.g. should I try to keep it as secretive as possible?

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    Do you have a NDA, or did your company asked you to keep something secret? – Adam Smith Jan 8 '18 at 3:36
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    @AdamSmith Yes, however I do not intend to discuss anything confidential – Rufus Jan 8 '18 at 3:39
  • Whether your employer or coworkers might view the meeting negatively is something only they will know. As for the potential legal ramifications of meeting with him or what you can say about your work, you'll need to check your contract. – Dukeling Jan 8 '18 at 9:24
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    Were you close or on very good terms when he worked at your company? If not, it seems slightly suspicious. – pmf Jan 8 '18 at 10:12
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    I'm going to bet this is a job offer - was there any discussion about the topic between you two before? – Benjamin Gruenbaum Jan 8 '18 at 13:53
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Unless you work for some government intelligence agency, your employer has no control rights on your private life.

This means you can meet whoever you want outside office hours and talk about any topic you want, as long as you don't disclose sensitive information to any other person.

If the person should ask you about job, stay high level and don't tell more info than what you know has been made public on mass media. Avoid sharing office gossip or other organizational info, like managers who changed position or department reorganizations.

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    Don't underestimate office gossips. @L.Dutch said "avoid" because there is no NDA breach, but gossips in general can have very disturbing effects – usr-local-ΕΨΗΕΛΩΝ Jan 8 '18 at 12:31
  • @usr-local-ΕΨΗΕΛΩΝ Agreed. From the perspective of your fellow employees what could have happened is more interesting than what actually happened. Beware of this option depending on your situation. – LateralTerminal Jan 8 '18 at 16:48
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As he is working for a competitor, just be careful to not disclose confidential information. I would advise to not advertise the meeting you are having with him.

There is nothing wrong being friends with someone who works for the competitor, and it should not be your company's business.

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    This seems to be the opposite of reality, in some ways though. Very often you just can not associate with "the enemy". Of course it depends on your place in the company and so on, and the nature of the business. – Fattie Jan 8 '18 at 16:27
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    @Fattie his company is enemy with his friend's one. If they are not disclosing confidential information, I don't see how they could be considered enemies by their respective companies. Of course it can be misinterpreted, but limiting your social circle due to this seems overkill to me. – Adam Smith Jan 8 '18 at 16:58
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Your friend might want to sound you out for whether you could be tempted by switching to his current employer. While this generally is not illegal or even immoral, your current company would probably not approve.

Meet up, but don't tell your current employer. Should they somehow find out and demand an explanation, stating that the meeting was entirely private should close the matter. Depending on whether they believe that answer, this could potentially sour the relationship in the short term or possibly even permanently.

You are the only person who can evaluate whether this meet-up is worth the potential risk/reward.

  • I would say the first supposition is highly hypothetical. The company does not know if the meet ups are a new thing or not. Should I be approached about the company, I would say the meet ups already were a common thing, and that I don't discuss my private life with them. – Adam Smith Jan 8 '18 at 7:40
  • Which supposition? Naturally, it's all speculation - but given that the last employee left on bad terms, it seems some sort of backlash is quite possible. – morsor Jan 8 '18 at 7:58
  • @AdamSmith Assuming the meet ups were not a common thing before, why would you need to lie? – lucidbrot Jan 8 '18 at 13:10
  • @lucidbrot because they should not ask questions about your personal life. It is acceptable to lie in your favor when asked such questions. In my opinion it will help the employee, because they will think they are just friends. – Adam Smith Jan 8 '18 at 13:21
  • @AdamSmith agreed. I just don't see the need for a lie yet. You could just say that it's none of their business without lying. I'm genuinely curious why the lie is needed, not trying to say it's morally wrong – lucidbrot Jan 8 '18 at 13:23
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If it was me, I would meet. You two guys were friends and connecting with people is mostly a good thing.

This might very well be an attempt to recruit you to his company, or an attempt and gathering information. However I would not assume a nefarious context. I would assume that he misses a respected colleague. He might also be seeking info on coming back to your company. Who knows!

I might rehearse some lines to say if information or questions hit a bit close to home. He might want to innocently want to bash your boss, but I would ask him not to as you still have to work there.

I would also not advertise this to anyone in your company. Bosses are human and can easily become jealous or threatened.

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