No matter how great the workplace, how great the coworkers, it’s a natural part of work-life for people to move on. Whether they upgraded positions, decided to do something new, or just needed a change, people leave. And sometimes they leave people behind. I’ve left places before, left colleagues and work friends and family. It’s tough to leave a good place, and it’s tough to be left behind.
This isn’t my first work abandonment (I’m kidding and being extremely dramatic), so I am not totally ill-prepared. First you cry (everyone does that, right?), then you plan.
- Determine what needs to happen before they leave. Be it a knowledge dump, password list, tricks for how (s)he works with the most difficult person – learn what you can while you can. Take notes. Ask questions. And take advantage of their offer that “I’m only a phone call away!” just a few times before you let them off the hook.
- Strategize the future. Yesterday you imagined your work-future with this person alongside you; today, the future looks different. What plans did you have that should stay in place? What plans need changing? Think about the strategy behind the near future and make adjustments from who you might report to, who is going to help provide you feedback, and even what you might achieve now that you couldn’t before. Change is hard it almost always has perks if you can see them through the trees.
- Celebrate the past. A super impactful team is a formula you can’t easily [re]manufacture. The right people in the right places, timing, chemistry – sometimes it all aligns. The work you and your departing coworker have done cannot be matched. It is always worth reflecting on your collective accomplishments. Celebrate them and know that there will be more achievements in the future, now for two lucky organizations.
- Eventually, move forward. For me, this will involve carrying a torch. We made so many process improvements, templates, proactive strategies, and set really high expectations. I think I’d let my coworker down if I didn’t continue to hold myself and my team to those same standards going forward.
Writing this, I’m sad. I’m usually so amenable to change, but this is one I would just prefer not be the case. It hasn’t happened yet, but it’s soon. People come and go in all areas of our lives all the time – sometimes that relationship is so special though, it’s worth taking some time to write about. He might have another article or two (or guest articles!) that you’ll get to read, but please join me in thanking Ben, The Sales Cyclist, The Support Soigneur, The Disrupter for his service to REMAN U and beyond.