How To Survive The Stress After Your Colleague Quits To Start A New Job

career stress How To Survive The Career Stress After Your Colleague Quits To Start A New Job

By Donovan Grant

When you are in mid-life and one of your colleagues leaves to get a new job it can be a very emotional time for you. It’s almost like one of your family leaving home to live in another country.

Just think, someone who you have spent 7-8 hours a day with for 2, 5 or maybe over 7 years simply walks away leaving you behind. We all get affected in different ways. Some people describe it as “feeling abandoned”, others say “confused about the future” and some get “worried about the extra work they will be overwhelmed with.”

If you’ve worked in corporate world for more than 5 years you will have experienced this on more than one occasion. How did it make you feel?

I remember one occasion in my career when one of my buddies left. It was literally like my brother leaving us. I was happy for my friend of course, BUT, I tell you what… I was sad for me! The moment did get me to take a good look at my own career though. Soul searching questions like:

Do I feel inspired or insecure about him leaving?

Is it time for me to make a move too?

What do I do next?

The emotional storm stirred me enough to look at my career in a way that I never had for a long time. Mostly, it was good stuff and the one thing that I didn’t like was that I was not managing my career plan. And neither was my company! For me it turned out to be the trigger for a 120 day exit plan that I created and worked through diligently step by step with my coach. By day 121, I had moved on too.

"The only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven't found it yet, don't settle. Keep looking." ~ Steve Jobs, Co-Founder of Apple

What do you do when one of your colleagues leaves to make a fresh start in their career?

One thing for sure is that it is okay to feel unsettled. Hey let’s face it we are emotional beings and the best bit is we can use our emotions alert us to danger, change and even opportunity.

What if you were to use the departure of a colleague as a trigger to get your own career back on track or even take it to the next level? What would success look like for you?

The truth is there is more than one way to look at any situation. Yes, it will be normal to feel sad and acknowledge the discomfort of your friend leaving and then the question becomes “how can I transition to doing my own career re-branding?”

If you are in mid-life like me, you may hear colleagues talking about the obstacles of changing career path or jobs. They say “I’m too old to change”, “I don’t have the skill-set” or a real popular one “won’t I have to take a pay cut?” In some cases, yes these things may happen. On the other hand, what if you could prove the myths wrong? What if you took a different approach to career re-branding and management in a way that recognises the true value you bring to the market place?

Managing your career on a day to day basis is your ‘secret sauce’ for remaining resilient when a colleague leaves for a new job. In fact if you look around your office today, you’ll notice the people who are succeeding and keep moving forward in the tough times are managing their careers in some way.

Here’s a simple test you can do to see how well you are managing your career brand – Brand You.

Please score each question 1, 2, 3 or 4 base based on the following:

1 = Not sure
2 = Needs work
3 = Yes, I think so
4 = Yes, definitely.

  1. Are you clear what success in your current role for the next 12 month is?
  2. Does your line manager define success for you in the same way?
  3. Do you know what your manager’s professional and personal aspirations are?
  4. Can you absolutely state the value that you uniquely bring to your company?

Now total the scores up.

How did you do? If you scored 14 or more you are doing well. If you scored less that 14, then it’s time to start looking after number one. Brand You.

"I am not a product of circumstances. I am a product of my decisions." ~ Stephen Covey, Author.

Do you want to get started on managing your career right now? Here’s a simple yet effective 5-step system:

  1. Be brave and assess your current career brand by asking others for feedback
  2. Be clear on what your values and mission both personally and professionally
  3. Be definite by determining the specialist value that you bring to the market place
  4. Be distinguished by collating all your marketable talents and unique skills you have
  5. Be consistent in managing you career and sharing it with others

Taking a deeper look at your career reveals the value that you don't see on an everyday basis. It is not an easy task to do but, it is worth it. You put in a bit of effort up front and you end up with a clear plan, so you can get working on it step by step. It gets a whole lot easier!

If you let your emotions control your tough career days, then you’ll become the victim of whatever comes your way. If you use your emotions like an advance warning system, then you’ll become the owner of a fulfilling and rewarding career.

So, the next time a colleague leaves your company ask yourself, am I going to be the victim or the owner?

I believe in you and your dreams.


What do you think? Has one of your colleagues left you feeling abandoned? Do you even care when someone leaves to pursue a different career path What advice do you have for others? Please share your thoughts in the comments.

AboutDonovangrant 150x150 How To Survive The Career Stress After Your Colleague Quits To Start A New Job

Donovan Grant is a Career Strategist, mentor, author and speaker who helps professionals in mid-life to express their brand that is unique, genuine and memorable. He is a passionate and committed leader who believes that when we look at our talents and value proposition on a deeper level it becomes easier to attract the recognition and opportunities we deserve. 
For more information about getting shaping and growing your career on your terms please click here. 


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