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Feeling sad after person working under me quit

  • 13-09-2021 5:39pm
    Registered Users Posts: 223 ✭✭

    I feel a bit silly typing this, but I just need to get this off my chest. I don't think I could say it to anyone in real life or they might think I'm strange!

    I work in a team in my office, but it pretty much only consists of me and a guy who worked under me for 4 years. He handed in his notice last month and then eventually left a couple of weeks ago. I've worked with a lot of people in my 15+ years so have seen plenty of them come and go over that period. But for some reason this one has hit me much harder.

    The two of us worked side by side for these 4 years, well, except until covid hit. Even then we would always be on Zoom calls every day. It was completely a working relationship and didn't socialise outside of a work setting, but I did get on well with him and we had good banter.

    His reason for leaving was genuine - he decided to move abroad with his girlfriend to try something new. Despite knowing that this was just a working relationship and he wasn't my "friend" in the true sense of the word, I have this feeling of sadness about him going. I think it's just knowing that it's very likely I'll never see him ever again (having moved abroad) after having spent every working day of the past four years chatting to him continually.

    It's probably because we had such a small team that I built up this closeness with him. It's just weird knowing that someone you know so well has gone for good, almost like a death!

    I'm not in tears or anything of the sort, but I just felt the need to express myself to someone and get my thoughts on a page. I think as a man it's more difficult to talk about these things without people thinking you're a bit odd! Thanks for reading.


  • Registered Users Posts: 223 ✭✭eaglach

    Thanks for the reply. I don't think I'm looking for help or some way to deal with this, it was more to just talk about how I'm feeling. It's nice to just express yourself. I think it helps me get to grips with my own emotions.

    Him leaving is not something I'm worried about or that's keeping me awake at night. These are just fleeting thoughts of this nice person I worked with every day for 4 years that is no longer in my life, and likely will never re-enter it. It's just very strange.

  • Registered Users Posts: 10,000 ✭✭✭✭Caranica

    Has he been replaced? It's always hard when someone with experience is replaced by a new person, leaves you longing for the person who knew already and didn't need to be told how to do something.

    I'm fascinated by the "working under you", you use it several times but also say you worked "side by side". I've only ever had colleagues as far as referring to them goes, no matter what the seniority level was. Does it matter that he reported to you, you seem to be missing him as a person?

  • Registered Users Posts: 24,800 ✭✭✭✭Strumms

    There is always too a bit of a worry that the nice guy / girl whom you enjoyed working with and had stuff in common with might be replaced by someone not that you dislike per say but just don’t have the same personal report with, stuff in common with...

  • Registered Users Posts: 223 ✭✭eaglach

    No, he hasn't been replaced yet.

    Funny you should mention about my phrasing. I never really knew how to refer to him when talking to others. Yes, I was more senior to him so he would have reported to me. But it's a lot more relaxed than it sounds so that's why I also say working side by side. Oh and yes it very much as a person. There's always someone else that can do the work.

    That's true. There are other teams in my office and I sometimes wonder how the people on them work together. I figure there must be absolutely no casual conversation and it's all work, work, work. Or maybe I need to be less friendly with people that technically work under me.

  • Registered Users Posts: 2,926 ✭✭✭mikemac2

    I can't say I had this in the working world but I had a handful of school teachers who I looked up to and admired. I could go over a year or more not thinking of them and then for some reason I'd remember them

    So yeah it can happen between men (though I suppose I was a teen) and you will miss them.

    No OP you don't need to be less friendly, nobody did anything wrong here. I know people talk about 300 social media "friends" who are not friends at all but the guy is going on a new experience abroad. Check in with the guy in a few months time, he will be happy to hear from you.

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  • Registered Users Posts: 6,034 ✭✭✭Jequ0n

    If he is moving abroad he is losing a lot more stability than you are. He will undoubtedly be less reachable at times, but also “needy” of old interactions.

    You will be fine once you realise that you are not forgotten, but you will have to invest different types of effort.

    If I were you I’d assess my outlets to see if this chance caused a vacuum as you might have to replace it.

    Best of luck, OP.

  • Registered Users Posts: 223 ✭✭SunnySundays

    I don't think what your feeling is all that strange.

    Sometimes we click with work colleagues, working with them is easy, they have your back, make your life easier and you have a laugh along the way. It's always the best working environment when you have a team like this.

    I understand it & can relate to it. Not sure there's anything strange about how you are feeling.

  • Registered Users Posts: 646 ✭✭✭farmerval

    It's definitely normal to miss someone that you "click" with. In my last job a small team of us 4-5 got on great, just enjoyed each others company at work. A new guy started and suddenly the atmosphere was different, he was a bit awkward, definitely not as friendly. Working with a person/people you like or get on well with is great.

    Best of luck with whoever replaces your colleague. I think it's one of the least appreciated things in modern society is nice people, the social media age obsession with relationships doesn't seem to recognise that there's people that you just like being around, there's no romantic implications just a happy space to be in that makes the days go better. When you see the work problems threads here you recognise how lucky you are if you can walk into work with a smile on your face.

  • Registered Users Posts: 2,387 ✭✭✭Hamachi

    Agree with this. I’ve worked with quite a few people over the years with whom I’ve developed friendships. In some instances, it never went beyond the office; with others it translated into drinking or sports buddies.

    OP, I can relate to your experience. It’s always a slight wrench when a close colleague moves on. Unfortunately, the reality is that you almost always lose touch, but that’s just life. You’ll always have fond memories of them and you never know when you might cross paths again.

  • Registered Users Posts: 8,810 ✭✭✭Hector Savage

    OP the exact same thing happened to me a few years ago, it was a colleague and we got on really well, I didn't tell anyone not even my wife, but I would have tears in my eyes in the office for the next few days after he left seeing his empty chair !!

    It was strange that I have worked with people I get along with before and wasn't that bothered when they left ...but no point trying to rationalize it, emotions are what they are, he was a great friend.

    Like people say, time is a great healer ... you can keep in touch via email etc ?

    This colleague has also moved abroad, and we keep in touch ...

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  • Registered Users Posts: 3,258 ✭✭✭Tork

    I don't see anything silly about what you've written. In pre-covid times, many of us spent nearly more time with colleagues than with our own partners or families. Unless you're from the "I only come here to work" brigade, it's only natural that you'll form work friendships. For many of us, they're something that makes the working day a bit nicer. I've felt sad when colleagues have left and it's perfectly natural. I might not have been friends with them outside of the office but they were a nice part of the average day in there. And you're also facing into uncertainty because you're looking at rebooting with a new person on your team. It's natural you'll feel a bit down. I'm sure you know these feelings are temporary. We've all learned through experience that we very quickly forget about colleagues who've left. Hopefully this guy's replacement will be somebody you work well with too.

    Post edited by Tork on