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What Will You Do When Your Favorite Co-Worker Decides to Move On?
Workplace friendships play a big part in your job satisfaction. You’re bound to feel a little blue when you learn that a favorite co-worker has decided that it’s time to move on. You may also be concerned about how their departure will affect your workload.
At the same time, this could be an opportunity to restructure your relationship and your career. Take a look at how you can benefit from the transition.
Steps to Take for Your Relationship
- Acknowledge your feelings. You may have conflicting emotions. You want to be happy for your friend, but you’re also struggling with jealousy or anxiety. Be honest with yourself so you can make rational decisions. Focus on your own path instead of making comparisons.
- Expect change. Your personal relationship will be different when you stop working side by side. You may drift apart or you may discover other mutual interests.
- Offer support. Your friend is dealing with a major event, whether she’s been fired or landed her dream job. Show you care by helping her to pack up her office or giving her a LinkedIn recommendation.
- Honor your friend’s contribution. Let your friend know that he will be missed. Throw a surprise party with the whole department or schedule a lunch for just the two of you. Prepare a few remarks that highlight his accomplishments.
- Stay in touch. If you want your connection to thrive now that you no longer share the same employer, you’ll need to schedule time together. Set up a regular breakfast date or weekend tennis game.
- Reach out to other coworkers. This is an ideal moment to become better acquainted with the rest of the team. Invite a new hire out for drinks. Volunteer for a group project.
- Expand your network. Do you socialize mostly with coworkers? Branch out by joining a club related to your hobby or welcoming a new neighbor. Meanwhile, maybe your friend can introduce you to her new colleagues.
Steps to Take for Your Career
- Manage stress. If you relied on your old friend for blowing off steam, find alternative approaches. Take a walk or sip a cup of tea when you feel pressured.
- Transfer knowledge. Was your office buddy the only one who knew what certain clients really wanted or how to set up a conference call? Ask for information you’ll need to keep the office running.
- Take on new responsibilities. Maybe you want to take on a single project your friend was spearheading, or maybe the whole department will be revising their job descriptions. Consider what you want to do and what you’re good at. Ask for training if you’re taking on fresh challenges.
- Cope with the increased workload. Be proactive if you find yourself taking on your colleague’s tasks as well as your own. Present your boss with a proposal for how to meet the increased demands without burning out.
- Join the search committee. On the other hand, maybe your company will be looking to fill the vacant position. Offering your input can help you find a candidate who you’ll enjoy working with in the future.
- Evaluate your career. Saying goodbye to a colleague can motivate you to take a closer look at your own status. Are you content with your current position or longing to move into a new field? Create some new goals along with a concrete action plan for attaining them.
Staff turnover is inevitable, but there may be a silver lining even when it’s your closest friend heading out the door. Plan ahead so you can stay on track in your personal and professional lives.