When a work buddy moves on

Last week one of my co-workers put in his two weeks notice and made the announcement that he would be moving onto a new opportunity.  I can’t say I was surprised by this news, but I can say I was pretty saddened by it.  I know the new opportunity means great things for my co-worker, and I’m really happy for him, but I am sad I am losing my work buddy, and for anyone out there who has a “work buddy,” you can totally sympathize.

A “work buddy” is a confidant.  Someone you trust with your work secrets.  Someone you practically see more than your spouse/family/friends during the work week.  You talk to them about what you did last night, what you’re planning to do tonight, what’s going on in your relationship, your diet, your weird dreams, the funny thing your pet did.  You ask their opinion on things.  You talk about your tasks at work, you vent about your boss (the good, the bad and the ugly).  And after you’ve had a work buddy for awhile, they really get to know you.  They know your friends by name (even though they’ve never met any of them), they know your pet peeves, the minute you get to the office they can tell if you’re going to have a good day or a bad day, they know when you get a haircut, they know when you wear a new outfit.  For those of you who don’t have a “work buddy” this concept might seem creepy?  Maybe even stalkerish?  But it’s not.  It’s really not at all.  It’s really just completely circumstantial that because you were both hired by the same company and they decided to put you in cubicles next to each other (and no one can quietly stare at a computer monitor for eight straight hours a day), you’ve gotten to know this person inside and out.  Sure, there are always parts of our lives that don’t come to work with us, work buddy or not, but there are a lot of other parts that most definitely do come to work with us.

Now back to the part where I’m losing my work buddy, and I’m bummed.  This isn’t the first work buddy I’ve lost, though, so I know how it goes.  The close friendship with a work buddy (like I said before) is circumstantial.  So when one of the work buddies leaves (whether to a new position within the company or to leave the company), the work buddy relationship changes.  It’s nothing either of the people in the relationship did, it’s just reality.  You are friends due to proximity – and sure, along the way you’ve become friends because you’re both humans and have all those normal things in common (families, relationships, friends, drinking, food, pets, etc.), but once someone leaves, you won’t keep in touch at the same level ever again (unless you become work buddies again).  I’ve found some people struggle with this reality (to the point of even being upset that one ex-work buddy doesn’t attempt to keep up the relationship to the same standard it was when it was in full work buddy mode), but it’s really almost impossible to keep up a work buddy relationship when the proximity is no longer there.  Sure, you can always stay friends.  You can always keep in touch and come back to one another and relate over the days when you were work buddies.  But you have to face the facts that you’re losing the intimate knowledge you once had about that person.  You won’t know the day-by-day plays of your work buddy’s life anymore, so you won’t have that same bond anymore.  Sure, this is sad, but it’s a reality and it’s really okay, new work buddies will always evolve.

So for me, now it’s just time to give my work buddy a heartfelt farewell and wish him the best in his new adventure and cross my fingers that whoever replaces him is good work buddy material.

  1. I called mine my “work spouse.” Yeah, we were to the point where I could tell him where to find things that he had lost in his classroom. Sound familiar? Like umm, maybe husband-ish? Yeah. “Work spouse!” I miss working with him, too… and it’s never the same once the proximity is gone. I hope that YOU have luck finding a new work buddy.

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