For any type of loss, including job loss, even if you feel a little awkward, I recommend you err on the side of kindness and connection, and send a condolence note or email. So often in business communication, we forget that it’s really human to human connection. Your colleague will feel acknowledged at a difficult time. You may forge a stronger relationship that will benefit you later. What to write when a colleague has lost a job?
When you work for the same company, and are still employed, and willing to recommend your colleague:
To a colleague from another company, with whom you had regular, but superficial contact:
If a colleague leaves under conflict or duress:
- Don’t mention the poor economy. The news is full of this, so you would only be underscoring an obvious worry.
- Two recently unemployed friends told me they were very annoyed when people told them, “I’m sure something will appear.” Be truthful. A new job doesn’t just appear. It’s a lot of work, and transition, to find new work. Don’t minimize their loss.
- Do offer to make connections or write a letter of recommendation, if you are willing.
- Do wish your colleague well.
- Job security is tenuous for everyone. Each of us can lose a job, so it’s a smart career move, as well as kind, to reach out when a colleague loses a job. Sadly, each of us can find ourselves in the same position. Stay connected.
- Don’t forget to thank those people who helped you find a new job, once you are hired.