Ask Kari: How can I be a good neighbor & a good employee?

Dear Kari,

My neighbor interviewed at my company recently and I was actually in the interview process with her at one point. I felt so awkward during the meeting, and lately she has been asking me for insider information on the job opportunity. I feel stuck between neighborly kindness and professional guidelines. How can I be a good neighbor and a good employee?

Too Close For Comfort

Dear Too Close For Comfort,

I agree you are in a tough situation. I recommended that you politely wish your neighbor success in the process, yet maintain a level of professional discreetness that your job requires. It is possible to be polite to your neighbor upon her questioning while also maintaining the confidentiality that your employer would expect.  I suggest that you genuinely wish them good luck and then change the subject if she presses you for more insider information. If she continues to press you, gently remind her that you have professional standards to follow and cannot reveal any additional information to her. Remember, kindness and manners typically can placate difficult social situations. Good luck!


As published in the January 2014 issue of Connections.

About Kari:

Kari O’Neill, MSW, LICSW, is a licensed independent clinical social worker and a resident of Issaquah Highlands.

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