When a friend is fired from your company

Layoffs are always tough. Last week, the publishing company where I work fired nine employees from our rather small department. Many of the employees had worked at our company for more than a decade. Some where the type that always made sure their co-workers received cards on their birthdays or brought in muffins on Friday mornings.

They were nice people. And they were considered friends by many in the office.

Like I said, layoffs are rough. And when the people laid off are your friends? That’s even worse.

The skilled writers at the Wall Street Journal’s CareerJournal section addressed this very issue in one of their recent editions. One of the best pieces of advice in the story? When you see a well-liked co-worker packing up his or her desk, act like a normal human being. This means go over and say goodbye. Tell the co-worker how sorry you are. Tell the co-worker that it stinks that so many talented people are losing their jobs in this economy.

But do not pretend that nothing is happening. Don’t scuttle away while the co-worker is packing up. Don’t pretend you’re so immersed at whatever’s on your computer screen that you can’t see what’s going on. That, according to the Wall Street Journal, is the worst thing you can do.