I called my friend this morning to ask for advice. He didn’t understand why he had sent an email to a person he met on Friday and it was returned. The person was fired without notice on Friday afternoon. Maybe she was a Bob (Bob Slydell or Bob Porter) at Office Space. We all have to say goodbye to work, no matter how sudden or long. These are some things to remember when you see your co-worker pack up. Don’t lie Some people are not pleasant to work with. If the person who is leaving is someone you don’t care about, the saying, “If you can’t think of anything kind to say, don’t say anything at all” is a good rule of thumb. Sometimes it’s easier to tell lies than truths. You don’t have to make up something if you have to say it. When asked to bless the Czar, the Rabbi replied in Fiddler on The Roof: “May God bless and keep him far from here!” It’s okay to be happy for someone who is leaving your life. Remember Successes This is an excellent opportunity to remember real project and task achievements that were made possible by the efforts of the person leaving. What are you most impressed by? What are you most impressed by? It’s a good idea to tell them in person and to give examples of what you’ve seen them do. It can be uncomfortable to say this out loud (guys, this is directed at you), but it’s much more effective to send a private email directly to the person. It is possible that such an email will be treasured for many years. People rarely give genuine and positive feedback out of the blue. Offer to be a Referee If you are able to give a glowing recommendation and you respect the person, why not? You can also send a paragraph to the person via email or on LinkedIn. If you feel like it, you can make a Clean Break. You don’t have to be in touch if you don’t intend on staying in touch. It’s a small world, but it’s also a very large one. If you don’t make an effort to see them again, they may never come back. Keep in Touch If you love the person and want them to stay in your life, make it a point to keep in touch.
- Set a date for lunch two weeks in advance – and remember it.
- Add them to your twitter or IM accounts. Make them a regular contact.
- Invite them to dinner and drinks in the next month.
It takes some effort to transition relationships from work into other areas of our lives. It won’t happen by itself. Goodbyes can be difficult for many of us. They remind us all of our vulnerability. What should you do when it’s time to say goodbye? This post was originally published as How to Say Goodbye to a Workmate When Your Workmate Leaves. (ccPhoto credit: ssssteve.o)