DEAR SOMEONE ELSE’S MOM: I work at a family-owned and operated company. This summer the boss’s daughter started working in my department. She had had an internship lined up in New York City, and that didn’t work out so well, so she was given an entry level job here in her parents’ company.
She is just a couple years younger than me, and we have been hitting it off at work. We have lunch together two or three times a week, and it turns out we have a lot in common. Her boyfriend even went to school with my boyfriend, and although they weren’t close, they know a lot of the same people.
I would like to be friends with her, but there are stories circulating that she goes to her parents with stories about the people who work for them. I have no first-hand knowledge of that happening, and I am suspicious that some people are just resentful and paranoid about having one of the owners’ kids around.
Personally, I get a good vibe from her, but do I risk hanging around with her more, in case something slips out about work, the kind of thing you would talk about to a coworker, but not the boss’s daughter? --- WORKING WITH THE BOSS’S DAUGHTER
DEAR WORKING WITH THE BOSS’S DAUGHTER: In any work situation, it’s a good policy to think first, speak second. You never want something that reflects ill on you getting back to the boss. This would most certainly be the case if there’s any truth to the rumors that what happens in the office is carried back to the owners via their daughter.
Another possible complication with making friends with a family member of the owners is that coworkers could see you as a protected pet, which might raise issues for you beyond having to always monitor what you say.
This feels like a case where it’s best to keep some distance on a personal front until you get to know her better in the context of work. It’s entirely possible she has no interest in tattling on coworkers, and in time, everything you have in common may well be a good foundation for a friendship.