Wednesday, April 30, 2014

What to Say (and Not Say) to a Fired Coworker

When a coworker you consider a friend is fired, it can be very tricky knowing the right thing to say to him or her. Here are a few suggestions:
  • As when trying to comfort someone in most difficult situations, it's best to empathize with the person, expressing how sorry you are and how difficult the situation is for the fired coworker.  Acknowledge his or her feelings and the situation. See if they'd like to go out and have a chat over coffee or lunch.
  • Don't try to make the person feel better by suggesting how the situation "isn't that bad". The person may have a supportive spouse he or she can count on or other job opportunities on the horizon, but in the moment, it sucks to be the person that just got canned.
  • If you aren't that close with the fired coworker (or even if you are), now is the time to determine how supportive you want to be and whether or not you want to have any sort of non-work related relationship with this person. It's great if you chose to offer support and friendship in this person's time of need, but only do it if you mean it. Don’t  be making promises of support you can’t keep, such as if you feel uncomfortable about writing a letter of recommendation for future jobs.
  • You may need to give the fired coworker a little bit of space before offering empathy or help. If he or she just got the news, give the person a little bit of time to process this significant life change before you swoop in to offer condolences, that is unless he or she comes to you directly looking for support.
  • If you aren't at all close with the fired coworker, it might just be best to leave him or her alone.

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(Photo credit: david_shankbone / Foter / Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC BY 2.0))

1 comment:

  1. Sympathy is the golden key that unlocks the
    hearts of others. See the link below for more info.