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How can I cope with losing my ‘best-boss-ever’?

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Question: "My boss and I have had a great working relationship these past three years. She just informed me that she is moving to a different position. I am devastated and an emotional wreck! I pictured working with her for so much longer; it didn't even occur to me that she might go someplace else. How do you cope when your favorite boss is leaving you? How do you pick up the emotional pieces and move on?" —Barb

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{ 17 comments… read them below or add one }

DeeCee July 28, 2011 at 11:18 am

The best thing you can do to honor your boss is to take all you’ve learned and use it to assist your new boss. Be the “best assistant EVER”!

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Jean July 23, 2011 at 12:46 am

First off, yes, it's hard losing your favorite boss. You might even compare many future managers to that one. And that can be a good thing. I have a happier note for you. Several years after being laid off from a job w my favorite boss, comparing every job to that favorite job and boss, etc, I received a phone call… Low and behold, it was my favorite boss. We have continued being friends and have kept in contact so it wasn't so unusual. He called to tell me he actually got a new CFO position and needed a new office manager. His first thought was me! I am now working for my favorite boss again and loving every day knowing I have an empowering and fun boss. Good luck!

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deanna July 18, 2011 at 8:48 am

I’ve been through this several times now in our company. I’m going through it right now! My fave boss is in another state. We still stay in contact; and to be honest, I never really do well at first. I do freak out, I am an emotional wreck when it happens. It’s a little like grieving. Daily life takes over & you realize you have to go with the flow. And then I find myself enjoying the new boss. It WILL work out for you. It’s just life.

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Pat July 18, 2011 at 8:43 am

The best boss EVER? Might be true up until this point. I have been in the same position for nearly 22 years and have been through 13 bosses during that time. A couple of them were the best boss EVER. It is not easy to adjust when your boss leaves, especially if they were a good boss. I have kept in touch with most of my bosses from the past. I know where they went to work and I call them once in a while, send Christmas cards, etc. Sometimes, they still need me for things while they are adjusting to their new job, and I’ll help them over the phone or by e-mail. I know that if I am ever in need of another job, there are a lot of bosses out there who would help me. As for the new boss coming in, it just takes time to get to know them and develop a new relationship. Keep an open mind, and try not to tell them what the old boss used to do. Most new bosses don’t like to hear that. You just might end up having a new best boss ever! Best of luck with your new adventure.

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Getoutgirl50 July 15, 2011 at 4:34 pm

I had a wonderful boss for six years and when he took another position across the country, I never thought I would that kind of a working relationship again with another boss….but I was wrong. His replacement was a great guy and I was the one who had to make the changes. The best assistant out there should always operate under, “My job is to make my boss look good all the time” so once he was in place, learning his working styles and figuring out how I could support him became my professional growth as well. 4 years later…we are peaches and cream.

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Anita July 15, 2011 at 3:57 pm

Hi Barb, I too had an awesome boss that moved on but I didn’t want to give up my position because of the flexibility I had and the close proximity to my home. I have to agree with Deborah because the next boss I had was awesome too and we used to laugh a lot. He had a way of making very tense projects more relaxing for everyone in our department because of his demeanor and concern for us. So, give this change an opportunity. If it does not work out, you may want to consider that things happen for a reason and maybe a better position is waiting for you.

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Rebecca July 15, 2011 at 3:56 pm

I concur with Deborah. I lost two off my best Boss’s (even though I still reach out to them & vice versa, but I met some other good bosses along the way. People will always come in & out of your life. No one or nothing is meant to stay with us forever. If they were, I’d see if I could get half of my hair that fell out (LOL) Just trying to cheer you up. (smile)

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Cathy July 15, 2011 at 3:51 pm

Your situation resonates with my own! I was extremely upset when my beloved boss was promoted and while I missed her so much, I learned from and was thankful for her replacement. So be thankful for everyone who comes into your life, if only for a season and keep in contact with your former boss via lunches or dinner.

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Debra July 15, 2011 at 3:45 pm

Make sure you always keep in touch. You never know when the opportunity may arise for the two of you to work together again. I have been asked more than once to return to a company and/or boss that I worked for in the past. Plus, you never know . . . you may end up liking your “new” boss even better.

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Admin123 July 15, 2011 at 3:26 pm

That is very common in today’s world, bosses get promoted, transferred, retire, the whole nine yards. It’s very uncommon for one to stick around, especially the higher their position. I’ve had a few bosses and learned that you become resilent by working for different personalities. You end up realizing that if you survived so and so, this one’s not as bad….

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Brenda July 15, 2011 at 3:25 pm

I recommend you get a letter of recommendation from your boss to keep in your file and to assist with any opportunities that may come your way in the future.

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Kalita July 15, 2011 at 3:23 pm

I experienced this. I was exactly in the place you state—shocked and saddened! Give the new boss (you’ll get) a chance and see if your knowledge and skill-base doesn’t assist you through the emotional transition of a new boss. If you don’t feel it’s in concert, and a fresh start elsewhere seems progressive, then start looking. Be sure to get a letter of reference from you “favorite” boss, and ask if she can also be a personal reference. Find a special friend unrelated to your work and discuss your the past and present—it will help you organize your emotions.

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Denise July 15, 2011 at 3:22 pm

The same thing happened to me five years ago. When I came to my current company I was put in a position I knew little about and the person I replaced had been gone for months. My boss was a terrific person and took the time to teach and guide me at this new position. Needless to say I was devastated when he left and afraid of who I would get as a new boss. Well my new boss turned out to be as great as the first one and we have a wonderful working relationship. We are always afraid of the unknown but you just have to go into it with a good attitude and things usually turn out better than expected. Hope for the best instead of worrying about it. As they say things usually happen for a reason, we just don’t know what the reason is. Good Luck

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Evelyn July 15, 2011 at 3:22 pm

I think both Marcia and Deborah are right — this recently happened to me. My first thought was “will you need an assistant in your new position?” As it turns out, this was not an option for me. The only thing left is to think of your new manager as someone that can teach you the world. Get your office in order, prepare for the unexpected and above all — keep an open mind. Chances are, your new supervisor will need lots of care too and is already wanting to rely on your skills and knowledge to help him/her succeed in his/her new position — give that person your best shot. That’s what is known as being a “team player”.

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Kris July 15, 2011 at 3:14 pm

My ‘favorite boss ever’ was laid-off after we had worked together for about three years. It was devasting and very emotional event for me – and I still had MY job!! I allowed myself time to ‘grieve’ at home (keep your chin and productivity up at work) but soon realized that I was only losing my ‘boss’ – I never lost my mentor and my friend. We haven’t worked together nor seen each other for nearly 10 years (we live in different states) but we still email regularly and I still seek him out for career advice and we share stories and photos of our families. You’ll want to give yourself time to begin a new working relationship with her replacement. You may just get lucky and find another boss that is equally as wonderful to work with! Keep in touch with your former boss and, if appropriate, let her know that you would entertain the possibility of working together again in the future. Who knows, perhaps a position that would fit your skills and interests would open up in her new area and you’ll, once again, be working with your favorite boss ever. Best of luck to you!

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Deborah July 15, 2011 at 3:08 pm

I would ask her if she will be needing an assistant. If so, I would apply for the position. If not, ask her to keep you in mind if something comes available. Other than that, I would make the most of who my next boss will be and you never know, you might like them best.

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Marcia July 15, 2011 at 3:07 pm

You have to be thankful for the time that you had with her and for the things you learned through that working relationship. I just lost my boss of 17 years and the thought of getting used to someone else’s personality and work ethic scared me at first but I now see it as a new opportunity. Make the best of the changes to come.

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