Learn how to comfort a coworker after they've been terminated.

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Q. A coworker of mine was recently fired. We were friendly in the past, and I want to send a note. But I’m not sure what to say. Any ideas?

B. F.

A. In this case, it really is the thought that counts—and rest assured, it is a lovely thought. Still, it can be awkward to console someone about a lost job when you haven’t lost yours.

Avoid dispensing platitudes like “I’m here if you need anything.” Instead offer concrete assistance: a reference, help with a résumé, a cup of coffee, or simply a bit of company during this trying time. Even if your former coworker doesn’t take you up on it, the kindness of your gesture should provide a measure of comfort.

Catherine Newman

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