I got a job offer to work with a company where I know 90% of the people by name, and 60% of they employees are my close friends.

The job is a network engineer. Since the relationships I have built with them are personal, trust is already there. But that puts my expectation of mutual trust between colleagues little bit higher than what I should expect, in my opinion.

We have shared all the messy things we did in school and in working places. I shared my bad experiences during previous employments, too. They know that I was not entertained by the job (Current job and its scope is out of my career) and I did quite unethical things on the job (sometimes together with them).

We all were very comfortable sharing things. As friends we accept each other. Their boss banned me, and outsiders in general, from visiting their work place, in order to improve their employee productivity. Recently, he caught us violating his command. He is the one who interviewed me and hired me. How can I turn these relationships into work relationships?

My previous employers have connections to the company I'm going to work at. Both are competitors. I don't know how that would affect this offer.

  • "They know that I was not entertained by the job and I did quite unethical things on the job (sometimes together with them)." Is this at your current job or a previous one? – jcm Nov 15 '14 at 16:16
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    I am completely confused. Are you saying that at your current work place you are unable to comply with your, or your friends, boss's command to not use company time to visit? – NotMe Nov 17 '14 at 22:36

One quick thought: Remember that during the work day, you're working. Nothing that says you can't chat and so on, but make sure your focus stays on getting the work done well and quickly. Socialize on your own time, NOT on the company's time -- distracting folks from their work is probably what got you declared persona non grata last time.

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It sounds a bit like the boss at your prospective place of employment has taken an "if you can't beat 'em, join em" stance.

He or she has clearly identified in the past that you get along well with everyone and you all enjoy spending time together. Since asking you all to stay separate during work time hasn't worked, the boss has decided that you might as well be working if you're hanging around!

As such, your new boss is probably the best person to have a chat with, to establish some ground rules. They know the situation and they hired you anyway, so they must be prepared to cope with it.

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You have to learn to compartmentalize. You are not friends when you are at work. You may be called on to do things that will make some of these people unhappy such as monitor their Internet usage. You may be called on to provide information that may lead to disciplinary action or even firing. AsS a network admin that is part of your responsibilities. If these people are friends first and co-workers second, you cannot effectively do your job when they two come into conflict. At work, you must be willing to choose your work responsibilites over your friends. If you can't do that, you are quite frankly in the wrong line of work.

Talk to your friends and tell them that you need to behave more professionally at work and that you need to distance yourself from them at work and why. Real friends will understand. I have had close friends whose work I have had to criticize or get corrected and vice versa. We are still friends though because we are adults who understand that at work, work needs come first.

Note this doesn't mean that you can't be friendly in your manner or even have personal conversations. It means that you can't interfere with their work (through spending too much time fooling around, through practical jokes causing work stoppages, etc.) and you can't let the friendship stand in the way of your own job performance.

BTW as a network admin, you are supposed to be inherently trustworthy. Do not ever do something illegal or unethical at work (or somewhere that you repesent your company as well as your self.). This will result in a loss of trust and that is the one thing you cannot afford in your field. Not only will it get you fired, it will get you blacklisted and rightly so. The ability of your company to stay in business is largely affected by your ability to behave in a trustworthy manner.

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