Q: A co-worker that I am friendly with recently lost his job. The company is downsizing, but I am unsure about the reasons behind his specific termination. I don’t want to assume and most importantly I don’t want to offend him by saying the wrong thing. How do I approach this situation?
A: Be sympathetic, but don’t prolong the agony by talking it into the ground. Be a good listener. Accept your coworker’s official explanation for the firing, and don’t engage in speculation with him or anyone else about the cause. Avoid gossip and negative bashing of the boss or organization. If you can give practical assistance, do so – a recommendation, help with a resume update, job leads.