A reader writes…
I used to feel like I was part of a “group” with my co-workers, but ever since I got promoted to a management position; people are starting to act differently. My role has changed, but it’s not like I suddenly oversee these particular people. What do you suppose happened, and what can I do? I thought these were my friends. Any suggestions?
In reading your question, the first thought that comes to mind is… avoid making friends at work.
You’re there to get a job done – not to socialize.
Then, I stopped myself and considered the fact that some of my closest friends are people I met at the office, not to mention the fact that we typically spend more time with these people than the people in our personal lives. So, in essence, it’s important to get along with your co-workers, and it certainly creates a much more pleasant atmosphere.
I can understand your concern and would think that you could simply address your feelings with this group by asking them, point blank, what’s going on. Seems simple enough to me!
Without knowing you or any of the people involved, it’s a little hard to tell what may REALLY be going on. For instance:
- Are you flaunting your promotion and driving everyone nuts with your success?
- Are your friends jealous?
- Do they feel they can’t socialize with you due to your new title – and the fact that you now work more closely with others at your level?
- Is all of this in your head?
Remember though that there always is a bit of a separation between management and the worker bees. You’re now part of the “establishment” that dictates the company culture. Especially if there are things about the company that have been pet peeves to your co-workers (e.g., no flex time, benefits could be better, etc .), those pet peeves are likely now associated with you. If you want to continue your climb up the corporate ladder, you’ve got to understand that it’s going to be tough to keep some friendships with those not climbing as fast as you.
I think your best bet is to remain professional and set aside some time after work (like a dinner or fun outing) with this group to reinitiate yourself. By openly communicating (about your feelings, making sure not to disrespect any of your co-workers’ privacy or feelings), you’re sure to set things straight.