Can I do my friend’s job?

My friend got fired, and now I’ve been asked to apply for her old job. Would it be disloyal to go for it?

Absolutely not, says our elder. If she’s a true friend, she’ll want you to succeed.

Dear EWC

I have a dilemma that involves my best friend and a job. My best friend from college and I were hired as the head and assistant volleyball coaches for the high school in the town we both live in. I actually relocated across the country partly for this job and partly to live closer to her. We had a successful season and coached together with no issues at all. We had a lot of fun, were productive with the players and are both very passionate about the work we did.

Upon our end of the season reviews, the administration decided not to rehire my friend who was the head coach. When they told her, they were not specific as to why and just told her they wanted to go in a different direction. They then told me that they were going to renew my contract, but wanted me to apply for the head coaching position instead of remaining an assistant coach… essentially taking my best friend’s job. When I asked why they chose to go in a different direction with the head coach, they told me that my friend had been unprofessional and at times disrespectful and insubordinate to the administration. No one in the athletics department saw this coming.

My dilemma is, I absolutely love coaching and am still trying to establish myself in my new community. There have also been many of our players, parents and even coaches from the other sports the school offers that have encouraged me to apply. I really want to take the job; however, I also want to be loyal to my friend. She is very hurt by the administration’s decision and has expressed that she wants to just put this behind her and not talk about it. They are now accepting applications for the head coaching position and I want to talk to her about it before potentially applying but I am afraid of losing our friendship. How do I continue to do something I love for the community I am going to be a part of, without severing one of the only ties I have to my new home?

Dave-Scott replies

While I appreciate your loyalty and sympathy for your friend, I guess I look at your situation a little differently than you. To me it is just as important for your friend to express loyalty and concern for you.

Yes, your friend was let go by the administration for what they felt were justifiable reasons. Regardless of what the reasons were and whether they were correct and fair, you apparently had nothing to do with her release. Now that they need a replacement, they have encouraged you to apply, apparently because they liked the way you coached volleyball.

Rather than you declining to apply for the job to show support for your friend, maybe your friend should show support for you by encouraging you to apply. One of you has already been eliminated by the administration. What good would it do for you to eliminate yourself from something you very much want?

Since you both want to coach volleyball, and you are both just starting out, it seems to me that regardless of this development, sooner or later you both would have wanted to move into positions where you gained a degree of status and could further your careers. Would you object if your friend moved into a different coaching position that would advance her goals. If she is your friend, I would think you would be happy to see her succeed. Doesn’t the same go for you?

I think the best solution with your hesitation to apply for this job (you wouldn’t have asked for advice unless you wanted to) is to sit down with your friend and honestly discuss your feelings. You said you wanted to talk to your friend so let her know you need her help to make this difficult decision. True friends have to be honest about how they feel about each other.

After this, only you can decide what your next step should be. To make a decision like this, you consider both the facts and feelings. You are the only one who can (and should) decide what is most important for you.

Would love to know what your final decision was. Best of luck.

Letter #: 436063
Category: Friendship

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