You need a job, and a friend needs some help. Perhaps it's a match made in heaven. Or, it's the beginning of a nightmare you wish you never began. Does working for a friend offer potential or pitfalls?
Is it a good idea to work for a friend? In certain circumstances, where the stars all align, it can be great. If you plan ahead and consider potential pitfalls, you'll have a better chance of thriving in this work situation.
Consider the worst-case scenario.
If things don't work out, how will you feel if you lose the friendship? If you're considering working for your very best friend, it may be too much of a risk.
What's your history with the friend?
One of the good things about working for a friend is that you may be able to rely on your knowledge to predict how she will be as a boss. Use what you know about your friend to decide if your relationship could overcome a professional disagreement or split. Does your friend hold grudges? Is he very dogmatic and only sees things his way? Have you experienced any difficulties or disagreements in your friendship in the past, and were you able to get past them? If your friendship has never been stressed and tested, it may not be the best idea to start now. However, if you know you can argue like cats and dogs and still "kiss and make up," perhaps it's worth the risk.
Make sure you are qualified.
Usually, it's up to the boss to decide if you're qualified for the job. However, when you're considering working for a friend, it's a good idea to be responsible for figuring out if you're a good match for the job. (Tweet this thought.) Your friend may give you a generous benefit of the doubt or assume you know certain things you really don't. Be clear about the job description and how you can help accomplish the goals. If you can't solve the organization's problems, don't take the job.
Get it in writing.
Nothing is worse than ruining a good friendship over a misunderstanding. If you don't already have one, ask for a definition of your job in writing. It's important for everyone to understand what you are hired to do, and having it in writing means there's no room for questions later.
It's not unusual for people who know each other well to eliminate professionally appropriate filters from conversation. Expect it will be tense at times. Conflict isn't always a bad thing, and you can always agree to disagree.
Communicating clearly will be important before you decide to take a job working for your friend, and it will be even more important once you are working for him or her.
Make a well-informed decision.
Without a crystal ball, you'll never know if working for a friend will work out or not until you try. Just be sure you don't go in blindly and overlook potential trouble spots and red flags.