======= ======= ====== ====== ====== ===== ==== ====== ====== ===== ==== ======= ======= ====== ====== ====== ===== ==== ====== ====== ===== ====
I’m getting paid to do what I‘ve always wanted to, we have free food and booze in the office, and the culture is a perfect fit for me. I know it sounds like I’m bragging, but that’s because I am. If you had told me I would enjoy going to work a year ago, I would have laughed, then cried, then laughed in your face. The thought of being actual friends, not “work friends” with my coworkers would have seemed bizarre and downright terrifying to me. And the thought of being friends with my boss would have given me a full-blown panic attack.
However, that’s where I’m at, and it’s way easier than I would have imagined. It does come with its own set of challenges though. Here are the pros and cons.
Pro: It makes me a better employee.
Look, even though I love my job, that doesn’t mean I love it more than, say, sleeping in or dicking around on Reddit all day. Just like every employee in the world, I struggle with staying on task, getting my work done, and not being lazy. Being friends with my boss actively helps combat those struggles. Sure, we’re friends, but he’s still my superior at work, and if I’m not being a good employee, he would have to tell me to step it up. That conversation would be terrifyingly award for both of us, so I bust my ass to ensure that it doesn’t happen.
Furthermore, if we do end up having to have that conversation, it would be very casual and not an awkward passive-aggressive talk like most bosses would have. He’d probably just tell me to “stop jerking off to my own tweets and get that assignment done,” to which I’d respond with some snarky comment about the state of the Bengals this year and get back to work. Simple and effective.
Con: We distract each other from work.
Working on a creative team at an ad agency, you’re going to find a lot of people with rampant, unchecked concentration issues. I don’t want to make up statistics, but I think it’s fair to say 100% of writers have some form of ADD. Once you add in friendship and an open office plan, that’s a recipe for distraction. Whether it’s us bonding about how hungover we are after and aggressive Sunday Funday or sending each other links to stupid YouTube videos, it can be hard to stay on task. Hell, I took a break while writing this column to have a spirited ten-minute discussion on whether or not Gronkowski should be suspended for his hit against the Bills. (I think he should, but I refuse to admit it to someone who’s defended Burfict, possibly the dirtiest player in the league).
Pro: I get the inside scoop on office gossip.
While I started a mere six months ago, my boss has been with the agency since its inception. Because of this, he knows everything about everyone that sits around us, and damn, is it juicy. I’ve learned who in the office does drugs (everyone), who in the office sells those drugs (our project manager), and who in the office has an arrest record for selling said drugs (an entirely different project manager). I’ve also learned that pretty much every employee has hooked up with each other. This industry is a shit show. I’m not sure yet how knowing all this benefits me, but I’m sure a situation will arise where I can extort my way into a title bump at some point.
Con: I’m held to a higher standard.
Usually, when our work is critiqued, people tend to, if not go easy then at least be nice about it. A garbage headline “isn’t really popping out of the page.” A boring script “needs to be amped up a bit.” Alas, that’s not what my feedback sounds like. Being boys with your boss means that you get treated like a friend, and therefore, roasted like a friend. I’ve had my writing torn apart, laughed at (Not with. At.) and I’m pretty sure my boss purchased a red pen with his own money simply to rub corrections in my face. He also once wrote my headline in huge font on one of the many whiteboard walls we have in the office because it was so ridiculous he wanted everyone to see. If this sounds harsh, it is, but it’s also hilarious. 99% of his feedback is helpful and he’s the first person to praise my work when it’s good, he just doesn’t hold back when it’s not.
Pro: Liquid lunches.
Like every other twenty-something with an active social life, I’ve had anxious Sundays where I googled “signs that I’m an alcoholic.” After working in an ad agency for several months, however, I know now that I’m not. Or at least, not compared to other high-functioning employees.
I’ve heard stories about the higher-ups passing out in the office hallways after cleaning out the bar, our president ripping the sleeves off hit button down in front of clients, and other tales of debauchery that I thought didn’t exist outside of the mad men era. Being friends with my boss means that anytime he wants to drink, I’m allowed to drink. You know, which works out well for all of us. I’ve had 3-hour liquid lunches in the middle of the workday, played drinking games with the directors, and just last Friday my work was rudely interrupted by my boss placing an ice-cold Coors Light on my desk at 2:23 p.m. It’s not like drinking at work is frowned upon in my field, but with my boss/friend, it’s apparently actively encouraged. Shit, maybe I should google alcoholic signs again.
All in all, the pros greatly outweigh the cons, and if possible, I recommend everyone befriend their boss. Unless they’re, like, 80-year-old, or super lame, or something. Then just avoid them. .