A little over a year and a half ago, one of my closest friends started interning in my office. We needed an intern and she had the right education and was looking for experience: a match made in heaven.
I didn't think about whether it would be awkward to supervise a friend or see someone you've only known in friend settings in a work setting. I didn't think about whether I'd get tired of seeing her. I didn't think about how my reputation would be tarnished if she screwed up (which she did, like 600 times*). I only thought about how the timing and situation was perfect for everyone - win, win, win.
Over the past 18 months, Ericka has done an outstanding job. She did a lot of grunt work, but I think she got to do - and enjoyed doing - a lot of fun, real projects, too. Her portfolio is pretty impressive if you ask me.
Not only did Ericka do a great job, she fit in extremely well. People like her. She likes them. I'm the hero!**
If I have to talk about the downside, it's that I miss her. Odd, since I see her everyday.
We don't party at work (usually), but we do chat and gossip and complain and tease each other (man, she LOVES herself some sad news stories ... and Good Morning, America ... and she's great with details). We just don't ever see each other outside of work anymore. :-(
Part of the reason is that I'm in grad school and I bought a new house last year and my dad is really sick and her daughters are in softball like 8 nights a week, but it's also because I see her every day. It's not that I see her too much, it's just that I don't think 'I should make plans with Ericka this weekend', mostly because I'll see her in a few days.
I think we'll get back on track in a few weeks, though. Ericka's last day is May 31. :-(
I've learned a lot about hiring and working with friends through this. Mainly, you gotta communicate. You gotta find a way to keep it professional. You gotta have fun. But the biggest lesson:
You gotta keep the outside-the-office friendship going.
So, farewell, Ericka. You've been a gigantic help. And I hope you learned a lot. You are great at hanging up posters. And finding bad logos. And managing projects. And dealing with crap. (Not real crap, but work crap.) Oh, and your van comes in really handy.
I'm going to miss you. But not, because I think I'll be seeing you more now that you're leaving. At least I hope so! (I also hope that she still likes me. I can be kind of opinionated and grumpy at work. I am also easily stressed and I tend to take that out on the wrong people from time to time. And here you were thinking I was perfect.)
* Kidding. Kidding.
** Kidding. Kidding.