Q. I followed my boss to a new agency since he and I became good friends at our former agency. It was a small agency where everyone was close, but we’re now at a much larger firm and I’m getting the cold shoulder from several of my co-workers. The rumor mill claims a relationship beyond reality. My boss and I are very professional in the office, work hard and enjoy getting together for drinks after work occasionally. What suggestions do you have on how to manage through this?
A. The answer to your question would have been a lot easier if your boss was Michael Scott (Steve Carell in “The Office”). In that case, not to worry. In your situation, you and your boss will be under the microscope for quite a while since you came as a package and are clearly friends. You and your boss are entitled to be friends, but both of you must take special care to convey the fact you are not receiving special privileges or assignments based on your friendship. Your boss has an obligation to ensure no appearance of cronyism. Otherwise, some will distrust you and others will simply be jealous. Be sure to avoid any temptation to flaunt your special relationship with peers. Hard work and results will overcome office suspicions.
BTW, the same rules apply to Facebook and Twitter. Avoid suspicions by keeping your work and social lives separate. Don’t share news where you and your boss had dinner Friday night. I recently read on Twitter and FourSquare where two people had lunch or dinner at the same place–probably not a coincidence is what immediately came to mind.