The 8 Stages of Turmoil After A Close Colleague Resigns ????

By September 4, 2017For Talent

Work relationships can be odd. You’re thrust together with a group of people you might have nothing at all in common with. You would probably never be friends in the outside world and yet you end up spending more time with them than some of your family. Between daily lunches, team meetings, work outings and coffee breaks, you learn a lot about each other’s lives and even form genuine friendships. So, when a colleague resigns you don’t just feel it on a professional level, you feel it on a personal one too.

If you’ve ever endured the heartache of losing your work bestie, you’ll recognise the following stages…

Stage 1: Disbelief

After your colleague resigns, your initial reaction will be one of shock. You may have talked about their departure at length but a small part of you secretly thought it was just that, talk. Even when you discussed searching different companies, interview prep and actual job offers you still didn’t quite believe it.


Soon reality sets in, you begin to think of your work life without them and it stings. Which leads you to the next stage.

Stage 2: Avoidance

You refuse to engage in the chatter around the office about your friend resigning but not because you’re against office gossip because you can’t bear to talk about it. You go about your day as normal and immediately change the subject whenever it rears its ugly head. I mean can everyone not see how busy you are?

Stage 3: Anger

They may be leaving for an exciting promotion, a higher salary or a completely new adventure but does that really justify abandoning all you’ve built together? Who’ll make the tea and discuss the work occurrences of the week? It’s all so unjust.

Not only are you annoyed at your work BFF for leaving, you’re also pissed off with your other colleagues for saying they’ll miss him/her so much. They don’t understand the full weight of such a loss and so don’t really deserve to comment. You feel oddly territorial and wish everyone would stop encroaching on the precious time you have left with your friend.

YOUR friend.

Stage 4: Guilt

You scold yourself for having such selfish thoughts and remind yourself that it’s not all about you. You force yourself to be the positive and supportive friend your colleague deserves. You allow yourself to be genuinely happy for them and join in the excitement for this new chapter of their life.

You vow to give them the best send off the company has ever seen! (For less than 80 quid.)

Stage 5: Self-reflection

The next inevitable step on this emotional rollercoaster is to evaluate your own professional achievements. You ask yourself have you become complacent in your career? Should you be looking for new opportunities? Are you being ambitious enough? Will you be left behind by your peers and friends? There’s just so many questions.


Stage 6: Panic

Once the soul searching is done, you begin to panic about how your BFF’s departure will affect the organisation as a whole. Even the most junior member of staff can have a massive impact on the company’s culture. What if your colleague’s replacement doesn’t have the same values, technical skill or love of donuts? What if in their rush to leave they don’t provide an adequate handover? What if you get stuck picking up the unfinished projects they leave behind?

Stage 7: Positivity 

After a close colleague resigns, the penultimate step in this emotional journey is to accept their departure and look to all the positives it brings. You make them promise their new colleagues will never hold a candle to your wit, and plan to meet up very soon.

Stage 8: Moving on

When you do meet up, you end up talking about all the important things that happen in your respective lives outside of work. You also use the absence of your work bestie as an opportunity to get to know some of your other coworkers a little better and start developing new friendships. When one door closes…

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Author Aoife Geary

Aoife Geary is the Content Editor at Jobbio specialising in the areas of Workplace Culture, Diversity, Startups and Digital Trends. She's partial to a burrito, a bad pun and living way beyond her means.

More posts by Aoife Geary

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