If you think back to some of the best moments at your job, they usually involve either a promotion, career highpoint, or fun times spent with your work besties either in or out of the office. But what happens if the person you spend most of your days with and confide in ends up getting the ax?
Unlike a more traditional breakup, it can be hard to explain to the rest of the world just how deeply you’re impacted. It also might make you start to feel like the ground is shifting under you. Here are some tips to help get you through the loss of your boss, work wife or supervisor.
Set up boundaries
You’re a good friend, so act like one, but remember that as freaked out as your supervisor gets, it isn’t your drama. It’s fine to be shocked and even a bit outraged on his behalf, but as upsetting as it all is, it’s not your job to fix everything.
And if you can, don’t discuss any of this on work time, meet for coffee away from your work neighborhood and let your friend vent as much as needed.
Don’t take sides
It can be easy to want to automatically align yourself with your former boss, but the fact of the matter is that you probably aren’t in possession of all the facts. For all you know, your former boss mouthed off to the powers that be or shared sensitive secrets with a competitor.
While the temptation might be to remain loyal, you should first find out exactly what happened and why they’re leaving.
This one is even more tempting. In the course of doing your research, you’ll inevitably find people on all sides of the equation trying to bend your ear with some juicy gossip. The last thing you want to do is seem like you’re stirring the pot further — especially if you share some of the same work enemies.
Instead, wait to hear what your boss has to say and then wait a little longer to see if the company issues their own statement. And try not to challenge the version they choose to share unless you’re comfortable painting a potential target on your own back.
Remember business as usual
It can be tempting to fall into the drama game, but just because someone in your chain of command lost their gig doesn’t mean you will. Now’s the time more than ever to shine at whatever you do that got you hired in the first place.
Polish your resume
I know it’s not what you want to hear, but if there are people on their way out, it might portend a shift in your company overall. Also, in reviewing your CV, you might manage to accomplish a few things:
- Review: You’ll get a chance to review your successes to date and highlight them. This gives you a confidence boost just in case you think your own job might be on the line eventually.
- Add a skill or two: Your skill set has likely expanded since you took on this job and maybe you’ll now have a chance to segue into the position held by your former supervisor. Don’t wait for someone to come to you, but if you think you’re suited to the job vacancy, now is the time to submit your own name. I’d probably check first with your former friend and colleague to make sure that you won’t be considered a traitor or stepping on anyone’s toes.
- Edit heavily: If you do notice that your current job description seems less relevant than it once was, this would be a good time to consider updating your job description.
Plan regular meetups
If your relationship with your work bestie is one you hope to keep, make sure to not just say you’ll stay in touch, but plan it. To be a bit self-serving, she might end up with a fantastic new company and might be able to bring you along to her new company.
Stop confiding in them
I’m sorry to sound paranoid, but you don’t really know their motivations moving forward. The last thing you want is sensitive information being shared widely outside of the company and being blamed for being the one with loose lips.