Q: While sorting through some papers on my boss’s desk, I came across a friend’s employee evaluation. She’s getting a poor review and being put on probation. Should I tell her now so she can start looking elsewhere before she gets fired? After all, this is a terrible time to lose a job.
A: Your intentions were good, but your spying was not. The papers were private, so you shouldn’t have been reading them anyway. Your friend’s job performance is between her and the boss. Furthermore, you might be jumping the gun. Being put on probation isn’t the same as being fired. Supervisors often give employees time to improve their performance, with specifics on how to do it. Your only obligation is to be there for her as a friend after she gets critiqued.