Why A Co-Worker Leaving is Like a Death

It may be a bit hyperbolic — but that’s what it feels like.

A teammate of mine announced that he’s leaving the company in a few weeks. It sucks — and that’s putting it mildly. This reaction isn’t based on any empirical evidence aside from the fact that I really enjoy working with this individual.

He’s a great guy, has fantastic skills, and is a joy to work with. I also agree with his decision to leave as I have seen his morale steadily degrade over the last few months.

Our company is at a cross-roads. We’re rapidly moving away from being a small business and more towards a mid size one. That’s a challenging transition for anyone. For my friend, I don’t think it’s been the most comfortable change. He started as a developer and moved his way up to a relatively senior position. And now I don’t know that we’re a 100% fit with his skillset and temperament. My wife (a very smart lady) noted that sometimes that’s the case and that it sucks.

That’s why I’m saying that it feels like a death. We’ve built up a camaraderie over the last year and now it doesn’t feel like it quite works. We’re going to hire another two people to fill his spot + enlarge the leadership team. It’s an excellent step — but it’s also another sign that we’re transitioning and not everyone will be coming with us.

I have no hard feelings for my friend, I wish him the best, but it still sucks.

It’s also weird being in this position since so often I’ve been laid off and have never really had a chance to developer these feelings for my co-workers.

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