Advice Column: Response to Muddled

Dear Hailey,

Recently, my friend had spoken of an Internship near us. We are both High School students, looking for a job. The Internship sounded cool, but I decided to apply to a few fast food places near me instead. Fast forward two months, and no luck. Not one place had called me back. In desperation for a job, I remembered the Internship. I checked the website: Still hiring. I filled out the application, and within 3 days heard back. I think they want me, as they informed me they had skipped phase one of the interview process, and wanted to go directly to phase two. The said company is a somewhat prestigious software company, and I feel that my working at this company could help me immensely in the future.

However, when I told my friend that they wanted to interview me, my friend become very jealous, understandably. He knows a guy who works in the company, and he and the guy have been trying to get my friend into an interview for a month now. And I just waltz in and immediately get asked to be interviewed? I’d be frustrated too. I fear that if I get the job, my friend and I will no longer be friends. We have been very close friends for almost 3 years now, and have been with each other through the good and the bad. I don’t want a mere job to ruin all that we’ve built.

Luckily, one of the local restaurants has emailed me, saying they’d be interested in hiring me. However, they are a small company, and pay minimum wage ($7.25) and according to other High School employees, they have poor hours, usually only scheduling you in once or twice a week, for 3-4 hours. Whereas the Software Company is very flexible with how YOU want to work, and is offering $11.00 an hour.





Dear Muddled,

I’m going to be very upfront with you. While it’s important to value friendship, a true friend wouldn’t want you to give up on an amazing opportunity simply because they are jealous. It sounds like you have already been putting yourself in your friend’s position to consider their feelings, and I want you to do it again. If the roles were swapped, would you want your friend to give up on this opportunity to spare your feelings? I would imagine you would likely want them to pursue this.

Also, it’s important to consider that you working there could quite possibly open up doors for your friend. Internal references, (especially from stellar employees) can carry a large amount of weight. The next time a spot opens up, their chances of receiving an offer for a position could be increased due to your positive reference for them. I saw that you wrote that they already know someone who works there, but more than one positive reference goes a long way. Two positive references might be the pull that your friend needs to get an interview.

You are absolutely right about this helping you with future employment. Working for a software company will definitely do more for your future opportunities than food service.

If you are worried about telling your friend of your decision, try something like this: “I know that you are upset that this job was not extended to you. I value your friendship, but this is a really great opportunity, and my working there could open up opportunities for you as well”. Phrase it in a way that you are comfortable with (I’ve been out of high school for about 10 years, so I’m definitely not an authority on how high school students talk), but the important aspects are to acknowledge their feelings, let them know how much you value their friendship, and also let them know of the future doors this could open for them.

Congrats on such an amazing opportunity. $11 an hour is an amazing pay rate for a high school student. I wish you luck with the interview, and with your friend.



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