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Dear Candace
Dear Candace, Counselor
Category: Relationship
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Experience:  18 years in Christian counseling
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Mixing Business with Pleasure

Customer Question

Relationship details: My boyfriend (Drew), my best friend (Sandi), my best friends fiance' (Brett), Brett's best friend (Drew - yes the same as my boyfriend).

Drew is somewhat unhappy with his current job as Customer Service Manager for Retail. He said -- while all four of us (above) were hanging, that he wanted to find something that he likes to do. He is unhappy with the lack of advancement, pay, work hours, etc.

My best friend began to give Drew career advice. She works as a contractor for the government in clinical phsyc. She said that the government is a great place to work, yada yada. Drew told me a few days later that Sandi sent him some job listings from the government, which I thought was great. Now, maybe Drew would start looking and taking initiative on finding a new career.

The other day Sandi called me to tell me that her Administrative Assistant gave her two weeks notice. I felt bad for her but told her that it wouldn't be hard to fill the admin position.

She called me back about an hour later to let me know that she had offered the job to Drew. This position is reporting directly to Sandi and is only a 3 year contract - so basically after 3 years the job is done. I was a little taken back by her offer to Drew. When I hung up the phone I didn't feel right about what had transpired. I had to think about it for a while and these are my concerns:

One - I have a very conservative viewpoint when it comes to mixing business with close-friendships/relationships. In my experience they tend to not work out.

Two - I think the relationship "web" we have is close enough as it is. We already had some issues with Brett when Drew and I first started dating. It was hard to adjust and Brett didn't like the fact that he not only has to share Sandi's time with me but also share Drew's time with me.

Three - I don't think this is a career path for Drew. I think he has great skills and professional qualities and I believe he can do much more with his career than be an admin. assistant.

Four - I was a bit upset that Sandi didn't give me the courtesy, as her best friend and Drew's girlfriend, to call me prior to offering Drew the job just to give me the heads up.

Five - I have only been dating my boyfriend for about 5 months. We are not in a place where the trust is 100% established. Office romances do happen when people work closely together. Also, I would prefer to see my boyfriend more than my best friend does.

I had dinner with Drew that night. I was shocked that he was even considering Sandi's offer. He would basically be taking a step in the wrong direction and he has never expressed in interest in clinical phsyc. He basically said his reason for the consideration is its anything to get him out of his current job. I expressed my concerns over dinner. However, he still seemed to be very interested and sounded as if he was going to take the position.

I expressed my concerns with Sandi and she got defensive with me. Said this was none of my business and basically said that my concerns were petty. Well this ticked me off even more. Wouldn't my best friend be a little more sympathetic towards my concerns?

Basically I think this a huge risk they would be taking and I am not willing to gamble with our friendships and relationships in this way. I think we have already intertwined our relationships enough. My gut is telling me this is not a very good idea.    

Can you give me your thoughts on this matter? I have been walking around all day trying to figure this out. Am I really being petty? -- because I believe that these are valid concerns. And how should I handle this situation? If Drew decides to take the job I don't know if I can be 100% supportive. HELP!!! Thanking you in advance.
Submitted: 12 years ago.
Category: Relationship
Expert:  Kristen replied 12 years ago.
You have one thing in your favor, the job is only for 3 years. There again, the job is for 3 years and he will be reporting to Sandi. If nothing else, ask your boyfriend why he wants to take a job that will be over in 3 years. Don't bring up the fact that Sandi offered him the job without even mentioning it to you first. That will only create more problems because it will lead him to believe the only reason you don't want him to take it is because your jealous. Talk to him about getting a more long term position.

I believe you have every right to feel the way you do about this situation. Just remember, he is going to do what he wants to do. Most guys do anyway. I completely understand about the romance in the workplace thing. My EX left me for someone he worked with. All I know to do is just tell him it isn't the right job for him. Does he have the qualifications for this job? If he does take the job just keep a very close eye on him. If you see anything fishy going on, tell him.

Good Luck!
Expert:  Dear Candace replied 12 years ago.
Dear Blue,
When Sandi sent Drew the job listings with the government, you thought it was great, and you were hoping for Drew to take an interest in them. Okay, so now he has. If you had known in the beginning that it was a possibility that he would be working with Sandi, would you still have felt good about Sandi sending Drew the job listings?

Also, having worked government contracts before, any contract can expire and get taken over by another company, so there's no reason to think that the job listings she gave him had anything permanent on it.

I think what's really bugging you is the fact that your boyfriend is going to be reporting directly to Sandi. If he was offered a gov't job in another area, would it bother you? If he ended up as Sandi's supervisor, would that bother you? Or, is it the fact that Drew will be working closely with Sandi? There may be some underlying issues here.

Now, I can only guess, but I will throw out some possible situations that may be affecting your opinion about the whole deal. Is Sandi or Drew a flirt? Has Sandi or Drew ever cheated on someone with whom they have been in a committed relationship?

It's possible that if you express to Drew that you don't like the thought of him taking the job, then it might seem more attractive to him. He might take it as a challenge to assert his power in the relationship. Since your relationship is so young, I don't think you should be too concerned about Drew's career path. He may really hate his current job so much that he's willing to take anything to get out of it, and this temporary job probably sounds good because he knows it won't be a forever career move. Nowadays, people change jobs a lot more frequently than they did in the past. He may even pick up some experience that would be valuable in the future. And he's probably looking for something more exciting than his current job. Clinical psych will certainly offer a change of pace.

The web of friendship you guys have is very interesting. The fact that Brett doesn't like having to share Sandi and Drew with you is a red flag. Not so much in respect to Sandi, but definitely in respect to Drew. If Brett has Sandi, he should be happy that Drew has someone like you in his life. It seems like widening out in your friendships would be good for all concerned. It doesn't have to be like sit down and say anything about it to Brett and Sandi, but just find other things to do with Drew that don't always include Brett and Sandi.

I think your reaction to Sandi calling Drew first is a sign of a little jealousy. That's because your relationship is still young with Drew, but pretty set with Sandi. It probably didn't occur to her to call you first. I think it's just some insecurities that are popping up and making you nervous.

So, here is my conclusion: Since you have only been dating Drew for 5 months, don't take such a big part in his future career plans. Certainly have discussions with him about what he would like to do, but refrain from telling him what to do. You can say something like, "I think such and such would be a good idea, but it's up to you to make the decision Drew." If you pressure him not to take the job, it could be the end of your relationship. Or, it could have the opposite effect and make him want the job even if he really doesn't want to take it. This decision has to be his.

I hope things work out for all of you. If Drew does take the job, be happy for him. If he takes the job and it doesn't work out, don't say, "I told you so" cuz that would be like rubbing salt into the wound, but tell him not to worry about it, he'll find something else. If he sees you as a supportive person, instead of a jealous one, he's much more likely to want to keep you in his life. Take care.

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