Doomsday has arrived, your best (work) friend has been asked to pack up their stuff and hit the road. It’s hard not to be selfish in these moments since any change to the work environment is dramatic when you value your job, especially losing one of your peers that makes going to the office bearable.
However, you must lend some empathy to the situation. Think of this person as a friend going through a tough time. You’re, unfortunately, not really allowed to take sides but you can still be an active part of the transition. Hopefully the firing is performance or circumstance based.
1. It’s better to say something to your fired co-worker (even if it’s difficult)
For your co-worker, their world is collapsing. They probably have a dangerous cocktail made of betrayal, hopelessness and rage sloshing around in their soul. The worst thing you can do is keep your head down and not say a word. Step up and say something amicable and assure them that this isn’t the end of the world.
2. Don’t turn on your employer
“Godfred suggests reminding yourself where your primary responsibility lies: with your employer. She goes on to say that the ‘best thing to do is avoid engaging in any speculating, gossiping, or general conversation,’ and that goes for both publicly and privately.”
3. Don’t start worrying about your job security
It’s natural to think that you’re next on the hit-list if the fired co-worker lost their position due to performance issues. However, every single person in the office is probably experiencing a similar anxiety. Trust in your abilities and keep on, keeping on.
4. Have a frank discussion with your manager about concerns
If the complex persists, have a sit down with your manager and lay your cards on the table. Explain if you thought the fired co-worker didn’t deserve it or whether you think a similar fate is in store for you. Honesty is the best policy.
5. Don’t stop being friends
Most importantly, do not alienate you work friend just because they’re out of the office now. If you were close enough, this could mark a whole new chapter in your friendship. The office shouldn’t just be an incubator for temporary friendships.