Thursday, June 18, 2009

Working Girl One and Intern are Not Friends

When my first boss asked me to her Facebook friend, I kind of freaked out.

As an employee, a young one who remembers a Facebook that was just for select colleges and universities, being virtual friends with a boss or any coworker for that matter is still a tad bit weird. It used to be just your peers. Now, everytime I add a photo or my Dad post's another video of me as a baby (yes, he figured out how to do this) I think so-and-so is going to see this.

I've grown used to that mentality and live my Facebook life accordingly. It doesn't hurt I'm comfortable with all of coworkers, they know the real me and not just the work me. They know that I love karaoke and am a total light-weight (post-college of course, I used to be a champ). I'm comfortable with them seeing my Facebook page.

When one of my new interns asked me to be her Facebook friend I didn't feel so comfortable. For the past year or so most of my interns have been my age or even older than me and it led me to feel like their peer in the workplace. This summer, all of my interns are four years younger than me so I finally feel like I'm a little bit of a boss.

Of course I was very intrigued and wanted to check out her profile but I wasn't about to accept her friendship and see mine. First, I don't think my intern needs to see photos me singing Ace of Base at a dive bar. I'm not comfortable with her getting to know the out-of-office me yet and probably not ever.

Second, I found it so odd that she would ask me to be her Facebook friend to begin with. I almost want to accept her friendship just to see her full profile and see if she puts me on any privacy settings.

Is it just kids these days? Are they so surrounded with all this technology and social networking that it doesn't even phase them that it would be odd to ask your internship supervisor to be Facebook friends?

I haven't accepted her friendship but her request is still sitting there...

22 comments:

nessabirdie said...

Hey! I know exactly what you mean! I have many of the student workers that I work with have added me as Facebook friends.

They don't think about the professional implications their online behavior can have. When I was an RA, Facebook was just now kicking into gear, so it didn't impact my life that much. Overall, they just want to have 1,000+ friends, or it makes them look cool because they have a grown-up as their Facebook friend.

I have them in a certain category that restricts what pictures. If they are shamelessly adding people, they will not restrict pictures. You also want to use this as a learning exercise on how to be cyber responsible.

I would say add her and then delete her ... It won't impact you as much as it impacts her IMO.

Amber (Girl with the red hair) said...

My bosses at my internship all started following me on twitter. Which is a bit annoying sometimes because I have to be careful what I post, but for the most part it's fine because they are really cool.

Do you guys have a pretty friendly relationship in the office? Maybe that's why she friend requested you... I wouldn't want my bosses to be my friend on facebook though!

Bayjb said...

I'm pretty cool about being FB friend with co-workers or interns. LinkedIn though I get a little more picky about. I mean, that's professional. My client FB friended me and then wrote on my Wall. That freaked me out.

Hannah said...

I think lines are just being blurred and that this really is the way of the future. The catch-22 is that it seems innocuous when your bodd adds you as a friend on FB, but then you realise that they are then privy to your personal life.

I prefer to keep the two as compartmentalised as possible, so I have a personal and professional Facebook and do the same thing for Twitter.

I work in Marketing so I need to be seen to be comfortable with this technology, but that doesn't mean my co-workers have to see photos of me having that unfortunate Marlboro Moment sitting on the edge of a gutter last NYE.

Marie said...

I'm such a fair weather FB user (I tend to dislike it and all it breeds) but I've been super careful as I use it to keep it separate from my professional life. I have a rule about what pics can and can't go up. I think it is totally fine for you not to be FB friends with intern and personally would feel weirded out if intern "friended me". Maybe she is just a friend collector and will forget about the whole thing. If you two aren't chatty to begin with then it is unnecessary. Still lovin your blog!

Rachael said...

Facebook started changing the minute it became anything other than a social network for colleges. Going downhill, in my opinion.

People at my job are pretty relaxed and we're all facebook friends. Of course, I work in retail and I've know the girls there for over a year, so that makes our relationships more casual than, say, a corporate setting.

The thing that bothers me most is when my parents friends add me on facebook, or people who went to my high school when I was a senior and they were in jr. high or younger. I just want to ask these people exactly why they need to see my page? It's not like we do lunch on a regular basis or anything.

Skinny Bitches in the Making said...

It's a weird combination, colleagues and Facebook. There are the ones who you will readily accept because they know the real one and then there are the senior ones that you feel obliged to accept. I once updated to my status to write something about the creepy guy who stares at everyone. My friends at work all commented on the status agreeing. But I forgot the HR manager was also my friend. Luckily she was cool about it and also knew how uncomfortable it was at work. I wasn't the only one to complain. But I was the only one who did it on facebook. I didn't get in trouble but I'm more aware of my statuses these days.

Jessie said...

there has to be a line between work and personal life. facebook is great for me for work purposes but at the same time i can't show my work colleagues/people that are part of my working community my personal life.

honestly i don't like facebook and wouldn't spend any time on it for personal use. therefore i have an account that is solely for work. i dont' have any personal photos or personal info and post about work.

but i think if your facebook page is for personal use, then you should not even list what company you work for. having drunken photos of you or photos of your kids/spouse, i don't think is appropriate in the same breath with who you work for. especially those certain employees that have everything on facebook. things should be kept separately. and i think those that wnat to connect professionally need to do it on LinkedIn or something like that.

maybe you should tell your intern to connect with you on there.

i agree that these social networking places can get out of hand in the work place so they should be kept separate.

Kaitlyn Rose said...

Maybe it's flattering!

Clearly that is coming from someone who IS an intern at the moment... ;-)

Addict said...

Eh I do not really do Facebook friending at work. Maybe someday, maybe I am too young? I want to appear professional at work (even though I am writing this from work) and I do not want to worry about my page. Limited access is the way to go or let the request sit there for weeks till they forget about and DENY

Working Girl Two said...

um hello all - i just wanted to let you know all know that WG1 has lied to you. she was not a "champ" in college. sure, her tolerance may have grown, but could most people drink her under the table? absolutely.

sorry WG1, you'll always be my little lightweight.

Jane said...

I agree with Marie. It seems like nowadays on networking sites like Facebook and My Space, it's all about how many friends you have, not how well you happen to know each of those individuals. A person can have hundreds of friends, but if you look at who posts on their wall regularly and vice versa, it is usually only a handful of individuals that the person actually communicates with.

I say if you aren't entirely comfortable accepting the intern's friend request, then don't. Most likely she won't say anything about it, but if she does then you can explain to her your reasoning. Or, like other people have mentioned, you could accept her friend request and restrict what she is allowed to see on your page.

It's definitely a sticky situation with a very fine line. Good luck!

Ann-E said...

I don't think you should feel like you have to include your co-workers in everything you do. If we don't talk on the phone or see each socially, why should I let you view all the photos I might have of my friends and family. We don't have to be friends with everyone and we shouldn't be. The nice thing about having a personal life is that it is JUST THAT.
Unless you use FB & Twitter for work stuff. Then just disregard that rant.

Amy said...

I'd accept jst 'cause I'm nosy like that - and I have a friend group for (some) co-workers that's hooked up with some serious privacy settings for just this kind of situation - don't want them seeing all my drunken photos, but don't want them to be offended by a rejected friend request.

L.L. said...

As soon as I found out my supervisor had a facebook, I blocked him. I don't need my higher ups knowing anything more than they need to know about me!

Michelle said...

Just tell her that you don't know her that long and you're not comfortable. Or say "it's only for friends and family members". If she throws a fit, well, that's her problem.

Liz in DC said...

As the person in charge of interns in my office, my rule has always been that I will accept friend requests from my interns once the internship is over. Part of this is to stay in contact with them, and part of this is because in DC, networking counts for 99% of your future job possibilities. Facebook just makes that easier.

Honestly, however, it's whatever you are most comfortable with. You could friend them and put them on limited profile settings (which is what I do) so that they can't see anything you don't want, or you could send them a message saying that you would rather not friend them while they are in the program/at all and why (as you don't want them to think that you don't like them- it happens, trust me). Either way, Facebook, blogging- all these things make it a lot harder to draw clear lines in the workplace nowadays. Just do what you're comfortable with and you'll be fine.

Ruthibelle said...

Facebook. Hmph. It raises a whole new set of questions about workplace etiquette, doesn't it?

Jennifer said...

Love your blog. I'm definitely going to be reading it a lot, since I'm a working girl too. I'm a 25-year-old newspaper reporter. I can totally relate to this post. The good old days were when it was just colleges on Facebook. And now I'm in a similar situation where all my bosses and coworkers and older family members are on Facebook. If they add me, I can't just hit ignore...and if I put them on limited access to my profile, it makes me look like a bitch. What a tough situation.

Fortunately, Facebook now has settings where you can limit certain areas of your profile to certain people, to the point where they don't even notice. For instance, I block my bosses and coworkers from certain photo albums and from seeing my contact info (I don't want them hitting me up on myspace too, lol). So that helps.

Good luck! :)

Classy in Philadelphia said...

Hmm, this is tough and kind of makes me feel shitty because I was definitely the intern in this situation before. After I completed my internship, I friended my boss who was a few years older than me. I felt comfortable doing it because we were pretty friendly, but now thinking about it, I can see where you're coming from. She accepted my friend request though, surprisingly.

Hi, Lane said...

I miss the old days of elite Facebook! I won't even add my father-in-law because it's just weird!

nessabirdie said...

Here is something that regards something regarding your boss friends: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rEhcMBbBCz0