Yi Guys! I just landed a new job at a very well-known local company. An hour after starting, the creepy Vice President looked me up on Facebook and placed a friend request. I feel trapped. If I accept the request I may be sending the wrong message and if I deny it I also may be sending the wrong signal. What are the pros and cons of accepting and denying? What should I do?
I've gone back and forth about this and ultimately, I don't know if I have the right answer, but I think she should accept the friend request. I don't think he's doing anything suspicious or trying to keep tabs on her and if that's the case, to me that's just wrong!
Facebook is a great way to connect with friends and acquaintances. It's also a great way to share information about yourself to anyone, anytime. The problem with "friending" someone at a new job is that chances are you don't know them, they don't know you, and for someone in a position of authority to do so to a new employee, across gender lines, could get both people fired.
People put a lot of information on Facebook, and speaking hypothetically, H.R. or managers who are not "friends" could find a lot of dirt about their staff. Those who are "friends" will find more.
If you have to ask yourself whether or not to accept a friend request from a co-worker, particularly a boss or a subordinate, the answer should be to say no, and find a tactful way to do it ("I only 'friend' my close friends" or similar). If you already consider this person you just met to be "creepy", then double-no, and maybe drop a screenshot of the 'friend' request into the H.R. mailbox if they press the issue (or even if they don't, and you feel threatened).
Bosses can be scary, but they have a lot to lose and are held to a higher standard. Subordinates on the other hand, have much less to lose and could be trying to find dirt on their boss by asking.
Bottom line, my suggestion is to 'friend' anyone you already see outside of work, or who you have a very casual business relationship with and is someone you wouldn't mind seeing whatever the scariest dirty laundry is on your private pages (because even if you don't intend to let them see everything, a software bug or mis-click might not be as picky, and accidents happen).