DEAR HARRIETTE: A professional friend called me to ask my advice about working for a company I worked for a few years ago. I had a horrible experience working with management, even though I liked the job I did. It’s weird -- on one hand, it could be awful, but it was good, too. My friend was asked to assume a leadership role. It could be a good opportunity for him. I don’t want to dash his hopes.
My biggest concern is that when I worked with these people, they did not pay their bills. It hurt my professional reputation. I would hate for my friend to have the same thing happen to him. He is so excited. Do I dare tell him details of what happened when I worked there? -- Professional Advice, Chicago
DEAR PROFESSIONAL ADVICE: Your friend contacted you as a reference, believing that you would share your professional insights with him. Do that. Too often, people go into new opportunities without getting perspective. Find out from your friend what is being offered to him, what responsibilities he will have and what promises have been made regarding hiring. Suggest that he ask directly about the questionable debt practicies.
Then tell him your pros and cons. Be specific about what you appreciated about the job and how you benefited. Conversely, describe the areas that concerned you. Do not attempt to make a decision for your friend. Instead, paint a clear picture of the company from your perspective, and then leave him to make his own decision.