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Combining your work life with friendships can be tricky.

While it might seem like you can lean on your mates for anything, floating the idea of working together or even asking one for a job may not always be that simple.

The lines between professionalism and emotional connection can put a huge strain on your relationship and job if you’re not careful about how you approach it all. Yes, sending each other the occasional meme over Slack isn’t going to land you in hot water. However, if it gets to the point where you’re both underperforming because your 30-minute lunch breaks have turned into lengthy adventures, it’s probably a sign of things potentially going south.

In saying all of this, when the balance is struck perfectly, working with good friends can be both a hoot and a half and a positive step for your career, so here’s a guide on how to go about leaning on your pals for gigs and what to do to keep it all moving smoothly.

Put in a good word

The workforce has become super competitive over the last year. With industries changing rapidly, it’s super difficult getting a foot in the door of bigger companies. So, if you do have the opportunity to put in a good word for a friend who’s struggling to find work, do it. It’s a tiny gesture in the grand scheme of things, and most bosses will jump for joy at the prospect of potentially speeding up the recruitment process.

On the flipside to the above, if you’ve asked your friend to send a resume, put in a good word or recommend you for a certain role, it’s probably best to not pester them for updates 24/7 as well. They’ve gone out of their way to do you a favour, so give them space, and if it doesn’t deliver, it’s probably best not to get salty about it all.

Don’t slack off if you get the gig

If your mate does manage to get you a gig at the company they work at or have connections with, it’s then entirely your responsibility to take it seriously. If you’re a goober on the job, it’ll reflect badly on them, which can be an easy catalyst for problems in the relationship.

If they end up in a more senior position to you, it’s essential you take their orders and follow instructions – being friends doesn’t mean you can undermine their seniority. It’s also essential you don’t lie on behalf of each other too – no matter how bad you need to chuck a sickie, never put a pal in a position that compromises their trust with the employer.

Set yourself up properly

Whether you’re accepting a job at a company or signing on to do freelance contract work, ensuring you’ve done the administrative groundwork required beforehand is essential. In short, make the process of receiving payment as straightforward and easy as possible.

Investigating your current super situation to make sure it suits your needs (and potentially swapping accounts to a superfund like CareSuper), ensuring your ABN is in date, and even sorting out a neat invoice template is essential before diving into any work.

Be clear about the services you can offer

Reaching out to friends if you have freelance services to offer can be a great way to get your business up and running. Whether it’s graphic design, audio editing, copywriting and everything in between, you’re likely to have at least a mate or a mate-of-a-mate that’s in need of an outsourced service that you could potentially provide.

In this instance, it is so important to be super clear about what you are and are not capable of. If you’re nifty with InDesign, but your real talents lie in photography, it’s probably best not to promise you’ll be able to mock-up a 12-page, highly stylised sales deck with a 24-hour turnaround.

It’s the hardest thing in the world to be completely honest with friends because the idea of letting them down can be painful. But, being upfront about managing expectations is the best way to avoid any disappointment or awkwardness down the line.

Leverage each other’s platforms

Support your friends’ work publicly. Seriously, there’s nothing more powerful than giving a pal an IG story share or like. It’s the easiest thing to do in the world, and it generally helps the most.

We’re all trying to do our best in this big, scary world of careers and work. The people we should be able to depend on most for endless support are our mates, so going out of your way to be a cheerleader is part of the ‘friend’ job description. It all comes down to respect, and understanding what counts as potentially taking advantage of one another, so getting the balance right is key to having the work-life you probably dreamed of in high school together.

If you’re looking to set yourself up for a career of easy life-admin, suss out CareSuper’s options here

The information provided in this article is general advice only and has been prepared without taking into account your particular financial needs, circumstances or objectives. You should consider your own investment objectives, financial situation and needs and read the appropriate product disclosure statement before making an investment decision. You may also wish to consult a licensed financial adviser.
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