Friends in the workplace are rarely your friend. Too many relationships with coworkers can do more harm than good. These colleagues are rarely true networking opportunities. For career purposes, you need to keep them at enough distance to view them objectively. Consider this list of ways colleagues can hinder your career advancements as you look over your current group of workplace friendships.
You can become less productive.
Too much conversation that does not involve work-related topics takes away from your productivity. Colleagues who are not great workers frequently seek out others who will waste work time with them. They tend to have the latest office gossip and news. If these people can find a topic that you cannot resist, it will be brought up often to distract you.
Colleagues can use you to do their work.
In the name of friendship, a coworker may feign overwork to unload an undesirable task onto you. Before long, the task becomes yours. Unfortunately, your supervisor may not write that into your job description. When you fail to perform as expected, you will be unable to point toward this job as a reason to fall short on your prescribed duties.
Colleagues may directly work against you.
The bad news really is that people exist who pretend to be friends to get an upper hand on you. Colleagues can use you as a rung on their ladder of success. By making you continually look like a weak link, it will turn eyes from his or her work toward yours. If you have any weakness, it will start to shine.
You may be judged by your colleague’s inferior work and attitudes.
People judge you by the company that you keep. If you only associate with great employees, it can work in your favor. The new kid on the block is most often absorbed into the weakest group available. This means that you are far more likely to associate with the wrong people before you figure out who the right people are. Superiors will judge you by the performance of the these lesser workers. First impressions on a new job are important.
A coworker can fail to give you proper training.
This can happen intentionally. Most of the time, it is not. Either way, the outcome can be negative for your career advancement. You may be trained by someone who does not know everything to tell you about your job. Try to learn a new position by using everyone around you as a resource. Question any conflicting instructions until you are sure that you have it right.
During a problem, your colleague may blame you to stay out of trouble.
When someone feels that their position is threatened, he or she will look for whatever salvation that can be found. If this means tossing a colleague under the bus, it will happen. Because colleagues are almost never true friends, there will be little thought given to the ramifications that might come your way. It is seldom good news when your name is cast about during difficulties experienced by a coworker.
Colleagues compete with you for advancement opportunities.
In most business situations, you and your colleagues are competitors in the race up the corporate food chain. The phrases “dog-eat-dog” and “rat race” highlight the less than friendly nature of the competition. Idea and credit stealing are common methods of using coworkers for personal advancement. It is very difficult to reclaim credit for an idea or solved problem once a colleague has stepped in front of you to get it.