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Should I get involved?

Alter

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One of my subordinates mentioned to me that he is going through a rough breakup with his wife. I like the guy and we have a lot in common (both expats in Japan, kids around same age, etc) so I sympathize with him.

My human instinct is to invite the guy out for some beers and lend him an ear for a night. He looks like he could use it and I could probably offer some solace as well as some practical advice about legalities and visa issues that he may face if he goes through a divorce here.

My business instinct tells me that I shouldn't get involved in his personal life so deeply. He is a direct report to me so I usually try to keep work relationships strictly professional as I am in a job position where favoritism and "buddying up to the boss" is problematic.


What do you guys think?
 

kwilkinson

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No. When I had my office job, I had a friendship with my direct boss. It was incredibly hard to keep things separated and work life and our friendship suffered. It's great that you feel for the guy and noone can blame you for doing so, but I think you should keep work and life separated, at least for as long as he's working directly underneath you.
 

redcaimen

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..
 

globetrotter

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I'd keep the distance, myself. hard call, good luck
 

tiecollector

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Best to keep some distance and refer him to other people he can talk to about everything else.
 

Brutus

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You people aren't very friendly.

OP, do whatever you feel is right for the situation at hand. Someone will think he's trying to get you to play favorites (if this ends up being the case be sure not to give in) but someone will alllllways think that. We're idiot humans and that's what we do. Be consistent (i.e., maintain a level of integrity) then maybe others will give you the benefit of the doubt if there comes a time for it.

I'm great friends with my direct boss (he's even my mentor) and some other folks further up the food chain but it doesn't play into anything fishy at work. We don't try to hide our friendship but we don't try to rub it in people's faces. Then again, I like working with people. I don't go to work just to collect a paycheck.
 

JayJay

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I try to maintain distance while showing compassion for the situation. I don't get involved in details and don't offer advice, especially unsolicited.
 

thekunk07

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i'm pretty tight with my employees, so i would, but make sure he doesn;t use the relationship/info as a crutch for poor future performance.
 

West24

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i would go. wouldnt you want the ear if it was the other way around?
 

Thomas

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Tough call. If there's nowhere else for him to turn, I'd say lend him your ear, with the understanding this does not make him favored or irreplaceable.
 

acidboy

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I'd buy him a drink or two. You just have to remember that whatever you share outside of work stays outside of work.
 

Joffrey

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I would say go for it. Don't get involved in the sense that he emails/calls/whines to you every other day, but be there to hear him out and offer advice on occasion. It would be a big help to him.
 

gdl203

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You would know better than us but I see no issues whatsoever in going for a drink after work and talking. Isn't that what Japanese workers do anyway?
 

Douglas

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My initial instinct was to sympathize a bit, perhaps, but I felt that taking him out for a few beers one-on-one was perhaps going a bit too far. But then you said:

Originally Posted by Alter
I am in a job position where favoritism and "buddying up to the boss" is problematic.

This should be a no-brainer at this point.
 

Piobaire

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If you are in a position where there already exists a problematic issue of favoritism, why would you risk exacerbating things? Point him to some professional help for the legal issues, tell him you feel for him at lunch one day, and walk away.
 

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