When Your Work Best Friend Leaves For A New Job

I know there’s some professional advice out there that says: Don’t get too close to your coworkers or keep your personal and professional life private. 

And although I agree with the sentiment, I think having (at least) one close friend at work is actually crucial to your career. 

This is not a friendship you can force and it may not come quickly when you start a new job. But TRUST me, your work BFF is just as important as your mentor, your manager, your CEO, etc (ESPECIALLY if you are a person of color or a woman). 

In this blog post, I’ll share with you some of the ways my work best friend helped me grow, how I coped when she left the company, and how our friendship still thrived. 

The Backstory

Taylor and I started our jobs as video editors on the same day so we had orientation together. I had chit-chatted with her a couple of times in the past at group brunches (the journalism community is small) but I didn’t know much about her. We were on the same team but I worked over nights 9 pm-5 am and she worked the early morning shift 6 am-2 pm. So I would “hand-off” my work to her and I would talk to her in the newsroom at the end of my shift. 

Now I’m not going to lie, trauma bonded us initially. We shared a challenging boss and being able to vent to someone who knew exactly what I was going through, was relieving. Taylor and I began sharing our dreams with each other and what we wanted our next steps to be. So we did things to support one another. We made vision boards in my studio apartment, she spoke about my work in morning meetings, I reviewed her resume, etc. 

Then one evening about a year after we started working together, I got a phone call around 4 am on a weekend. She was in the process of moving and her new place had bugs and maintenance issues and her friend flaked on her. Since I worked overnights, I was naturally awake to answer the phone call. She stayed on my very small couch for a couple of nights, we went to my church services, ate brunch, and went apartment hunting together. After she signed a new lease, she gave me a candle and the sweetest card about how I was there for her in her time of need. After that, Taylor and I officially became work BFFs. 

Work Support

I recently said on my Instagram story that I wouldn’t have survived my first three years of work without Taylor. There were many days I would wake up crying and drag myself to work. I loved the work I was producing but I was miserable in the beginning. Taylor was a positive, listening, and compassionate person that I needed. We were two young Black women trying to keep our heads above water. I didn’t have to sugarcoat my feelings or censor myself and that was incredibly freeing. 

Beyond the emotional support, we tangibly looked out for one another. When there was a new opportunity like a job opening or professional conference coming up, we sent it to each other. In meetings, we highlighted each other’s work in front of others. 

Encouragement and positive reinforcement

Your work friends should be your biggest cheerleaders. They should hype you up but also give you tough love when you need it. Taylor would come by my desk and really listen to me when I had a problem and gave me her heartfelt advice. You should feel a safe space with your work BFF. 

Improved mental health 

Dealing with micromanagement is the absolute worst. There were times I despised going to work even though I actually enjoyed my job. Having a work best friend helped me focus and shut out the noise and negativity around me. She encouraged me to start seeing a therapist and to put my mental health first. We also would go out to happy hour after work which made things better too lol

When Taylor told me she got a new job and would be leaving, I was heartbroken. I was extremely proud and happy for her but sad for me. What I did was support her during her transition. I helped her look for apartments in New York and helped her organize a goodbye celebration. To be honest, I thought our friendship would change when she moved. But the opposite happened. She was still there when I needed her most, we still see each other several times a year, and we talk often. This weekend she’s in town and we’re going to a pool party together. And now I get to hear all the gossip going on in her workplace lol. 

I wrote this post to hopefully encourage you to get closer to someone at work. Never force a friendship but be open to the possibility.

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