I want to start working on a personal project (outside of work hours), but I'm very new to the techniques and methods needed. I know my coworker uses a lot of the techniques in his current position, so I would like to ask him for help.

Of course this would happen in both our own time and I would like to offer him some kind of compensation, food or a beer at the least.

Is it considered unprofessional to ask help with a personal project? I spend time with him on the workfloor but never outside of work.

Should I keep this request outside of the workspace or can I ask him about it during work?

2 Answers 2


Ask during work, but make sure that it's no longer than a few minutes.

Mention that you have a personal project where you're starting to use this technology, talk about it for a bit and ask him where he obtains resources to help out.

Don't explicitly ask for his help, let him volunteer that if he so wishes.

If he doesn't offer you some help, then don't press it.

Keep this in your head:

I will not be a help vampire, I will not be a help vampire

Of course, I'm not saying that you are a help vampire, but it's important not to start off appearing that you might turn into one...


To keep it entirely above board, ask the coworker to meet you for coffee/dinner/lunch/whatever outside of work.

Tell him that you have an idea that you'd like to run by him, but you don't want to discuss it at work.

That way, everything is above board, and does not involve the work premises at all.

  • You may as well give the co-worker the 30 second version of what the idea is during work time. They can't make a well informed decision about whether to take the time for the meeting without it, and trying to guess is possibly a bigger distraction during work than knowing.
    – bdsl
    Feb 3, 2023 at 11:40

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