Dear Jewish Fairy Godmother:

My best friend at work is talking about leaving. We’ve worked
together for more than twenty years and I cannot imagine surviving
this rat race without her. We’ve protected one another’s back from
maniacal bosses and nutzy deadlines. I know she’s leaving in part
because of things I have told her about my own work life. Should I
keep quieter and try to convince her to stay?


Dear Buddy(less):

Some people are lucky enough to have careers they love and value.
Most folks work for the money. Very few young people grow up
dreaming of desk jobs and cubicles. But life takes over and we do what
we need to in order to pay for homes and families. If we’re really lucky
we find a buddy who makes the whole process more palatable and
sane. You should be grateful you’ve had two decades of professional
partnership. Many marriages don’t last that long.

Be as good a listener as you can be. Help your friend be clear about
her priorities and process. Offer to help edit her resume and cover
letters if she’s looking for a new job, or host her retirement party if
she’s leaving the rat race for good. Make sure you connect for regular
lunch or beer meetings after she goes, which might be longer than she
thinks or wants in this job market, if she’s not actually retiring. Focus
on what you have in common, beyond the folks you’ve worked for and
with. If the friendship truly has enough bandwidth, you’ll be able to
sustain access even without the daily gripe sessions. And start to look
for a new buddy. Bonding will take time, but as an emotional life
preserver M-F there’s nothing better.