My short answer: no. Never.
In my opinion, nothing good can come of being friends with coworkers on Facebook.
Perhaps my view is based on the kinds of people I’ve had the pleasure of working with. I don’t mind when people I know stalk me online but when some random lady from Accounting walks by me in the break room and says, “Hey, where’d you get that black dress you wore this weekend, it was sooo cute!” I feel like that might be a slight infringement on my privacy. (Especially when the only reason she saw the pic is because we have a mutual friend who liked or commented on the picture. Creepy.)
Call me old fashioned but I believe that work should be work and not social hour. That’s not to say that you should be anti-social (unless you’ve worked with some of the people I have) but the things you share on Facebook are probably not the best topics to discuss at the water cooler.
For example, my supervisor invited me and a few coworkers to a professional baseball game. Of course I said yes because I had to root root root for the home team. Went online, bought my ticket, and waited for game time. The game was that night and they were selling tickets for dirt cheap as a last-minute promo. A group of us carpooled from her house to the game and we “turned up” as they say.
About 30 minutes into the snack foods and drinks at the stadium, my boss walks in which was cool because she was tons of fun and was a funny drunk. (Remind me to tell you about Cinco de Mayo ’09 one day lol). She bought everyone a round and a few extra snacks to share. Only problem was the game was on a Wednesday night…and she had called in sick earlier that day. She “didn’t want to go to the weekly Wednesday meeting” as she later told me. Ok whatever I thought; we continued to have fun and I didn’t think anything else about it until the next day when I came in to work and she was in her office looking as if she had been crying.
Apparently my supervisor (who secretly wanted my boss’s job) had posted pictures on Facebook of the night’s festivities and tagged her in all of them, knowing that she was supposed to be home “sick”. The president of the company, my boss’s boss, saw the pictures and wrote her up and threatened to fire her for misuse of the company’s sick policy. She ended up leaving a few months later but she learned the hard way about being friends with everyone from the job because we all saw the pictures. And they were a little less than flattering.
Then there was the time when one of my coworkers took one of our clients out on a date. Of course the client’s boss found out and was furious. We lost the client after the boss called our boss to, uh,
yell at him discuss the goings on.
I then decided that I wouldn’t befriend coworkers until after I left the company. Not as risky and you can still keep in touch. And I know you have read all the stories about people who lose their jobs due to social media conduct. Just think about this before you send or accept the request:
1. Do you work with a bunch of nosey scoundrels?
2. Do people openly gossip about other people’s lives (non-celebrities)?
3. Would you be upset if you became the topic of discussion by posting something that might be juicy?
4. Do you ever complain about your job or boss on Facebook?
If you answered yes to any of these, then you should consider avoiding adding any coworkers on Facebook.
Besides, for professional networking, there’s always LinkedIn.