5 Tips for Dealing With a Friend Leaving Work

Published: Apr 01, 2011

 Workplace Issues       

In the daily grind, it helps to have someone at work that you're close to—whether it's someone you can cut loose and joke with, or an office spouse. But it's also inevitable that, one day, one of you is going to move on: for more money, a better opportunity, or even as the result of a downsizing. So what happens when that close bond you shared with a colleague comes to an end—and how do you deal with the fallout if you're the one left behind? Here are five tips on how to move on at work when your friends move out of the office:

1. Expand your inter-office network

Lunch gets pretty boring, and entirely awkward, when you’re sitting at the diner talking to yourself because you kept your office network to just one person … and that person is gone. Become more social at work. Try to go to lunch with different co-workers. Whittle them down like a reality show (don’t tell them you’re doing that … they might find it rude!) and find the right mix of co-workers who are fun and those who are influential. You never know how those friends might impact your professional life. And don't wait until your BFF leaves—there's no time like the present for branching out

2. Open new doors

Your friend left for a new company. Keep in contact, because now you have an opportunity to network elsewhere. If your old buddy is going out with some new friends after work, he or she might invite you along. Now, you have an opportunity to meet new people who might be able to advance your career. Maybe one day you can reunite with your buddy, but more importantly, your professional network could exponentially increase. Those people know people who know even more people. It’s like LinkedIn, only a little more real.

3. Take advantage

Let's assume you and your BFF work in IT. You’re the only two people who understand program XYZ. Now, your friend is gone and they are looking to hire someone in the future. However, you’re still there working your tail off and possibly doing more than you were required to do prior to your friend’s departure. It might be the perfect time to take on extra responsibility and even ask for a raise. Your loyalty should be worth something.

4. Reassess your life

If your friend’s departure suddenly left you miserable at work, you need to start asking some important questions. What do you like about your job? Sometimes, people think they enjoy their work only to discover that the social ties were the only thing keeping them there. If the only part of work you enjoyed each day involved goofing off with one of your colleagues, then it might be time to start looking elsewhere for work.

5. Be proactive

Those 20-minute coffee breaks you guys take or those moments where you spread gossip over gchat despite sitting in the same pod might now be better served by being proactive with your day. Your friend moved on for success, but you’re still at the same company and if you plan on getting ahead, take the extra time to achieve new goals. Friends at work are great, but success in your job might be more rewarding in the long run.