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Did I steal his job?

A letter writer filled in for a colleague, and now he’s lost his job. What can she say to him next time they meet?

Just be sincere, advises our elder.

Dear EWC

This guy I work with just lost his job. He is a great guy to work with but is potentially not the best guy for the role he was in (he tends to make mistakes and there are holes in his communication). A few months ago he had a baby and went on parental leave. I acted in his role for the six weeks he was away. While in the position, I heard many people rag on him for not doing his job well, and at the same time compliment me on my work, even asking, “how do we get you in this role instead of him?“ I really enjoyed working in that position and if it was up for grabs I would love to apply for it. I have yet to see the guy after I found out but will see him after the weekend as my understanding is he will still be working until the end of the month. How am I supposed to react to this? Sad to lose a good work friend or happy for a potential opportunity for promotion in the future? And how do I talk to him next time we meet?

Barbara replies

It is always good to live in the present moment. That means not planning how you will feel or react to someone when you see him. It sounds like you are thinking straight about the situation, so just be sincere and open when you see him. One of the bad results of planning what you’re going to say ahead of time is that the other person doesn’t know his lines. This guy may be hostile or friendly; you don’t know which. Just remember that you have done nothing wrong and be present when you see him.

Reference 423586
Category: career

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