When Your Office Buddy Becomes Your Boss

(BEVERLY HILLS) – You have lunch together every day, grab an occasional drink after work, and have gotten each other through work-related crises. So wouldn’t it be strange if your office buddy became your new boss?

It’s more likely to happen in the current economic environment as hiring freezes force companies to promote from within, says Stephen Viscusi, a New York-based author and career consultant.
Meanwhile, employees are more willing to accept a new title even if it means doing two jobs for the price of one.

Becoming your friend’s subordinate may not be easy, but chances are he or she will be counting on your loyalty, Viscusi said. Still, the dynamic of your friendship at work will inevitably change.
“You may not want peers in the same department to even know you have a personal relationship,” Viscusi said. “It can get very sticky.”
Viscusi gives these rules for dealing with a friend you are now reporting to:

— Remember this is now your boss, and he has his own job on the line. Don’t flaunt your friendship or ask for special favors.

— Congratulate him or her first, then ask what you can do to make the job easier and transition faster.

— Let your friend, now your superior, take the lead on what his priorities are: your friendship, or the role of being boss.

— Hand over a copy of your resume. This would, of course, apply if the person is not your friend. But, often we are at a company for a long time, and even friends may not remember our experience. Having an up-to-date resume at all times helps people understand how you have grown. In this case, your friend may know your children’s birthdays and that your mother-in-law is a pain, but he or she may not know you have two master’s degrees and experience managing a team.

— If you notice a change in your friendship and still need and like your job, accept the change. New friends are far easier to come by today than new jobs.

Sitting Straight is Bad for Backs

Sitting up straight is not the best position for office workers, a study has suggested.

Scottish and Canadian researchers used a new form of magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to show it places an unnecessary strain on your back.
They told the Radiological Society of North America that the best position in which to sit at your desk is leaning back, at about 135 degrees.

Experts said sitting was known to contribute to lower back pain.

Data from the British Chiropractic Association says 32% of the population spends more than 10 hours a day seated.

Half do not leave their desks, even to have lunch. Two thirds of people also sit down at home when they get home from work.

Spinal angles

The research was carried out at Woodend Hospital in Aberdeen.
Twenty two volunteers with healthy backs were scanned using a positional MRI machine, which allows patients the freedom to move – so they can sit or stand – during the test.
Traditional scanners mean patients have to lie flat, which may mask causes of pain that stem from different movements or postures.
In this study, the patients assumed three different sitting positions: a slouching position, in which the body is hunched forward as if they were leaning over a desk or a video game console, an upright 90-degree sitting position; and a “relaxed” position where they leaned back at 135 degrees while their feet remained on the floor.

The researchers then took measurements of spinal angles and spinal disk height and movement across the different positions.
Spinal disk movement occurs when weight-bearing strain is placed on the spine, causing the disk to move out of place.

Disk movement was found to be most pronounced with a 90-degree upright sitting posture.
It was least pronounced with the 135-degree posture, suggesting less strain is placed on the spinal disks and associated muscles and tendons in a more relaxed sitting position.

The “slouch” position revealed a reduction in spinal disk height, signifying a high rate of wear and tear on the lowest two spinal levels.
When they looked at all test results, the researchers said the 135-degree position was the best for backs, and say this is how people should sit.

‘Tendency to slide’

Dr Waseem Bashir of the Department of Radiology and Diagnostic Imaging at the University of Alberta Hospital, Canada, who led the study, said: “Sitting in a sound anatomic position is essential, since the strain put on the spine and its associated ligaments over time can lead to pain, deformity and chronic illness.”

Rishi Loatey of the British Chiropractic Association said: “One in three people suffer from lower back pain and to sit for long periods of time certainly contributes to this, as our bodies are not designed to be so sedentary.”

Levent Caglar from the charity BackCare, added: “In general, opening up the angle between the trunk and the thighs in a seated posture is a good idea and it will improve the shape of the spine, making it more like the natural S-shape in a standing posture.

“As to what is the best angle between thigh and torso when seated, reclining at 135 degrees can make sitting more difficult as there is a tendency to slide off the seat: 120 degrees or less may be better.”