Feeling empathy

I spent hours talking to a colleague, thinking about what is happening to her, discussing it with husband about it yesterday. The colleague is on the job market, just like me, needing to move on and find the next posting. I thought she’s a strong candidate, perfect match to replace me. But then I learned from her that she didn’t get any of the 3 jobs she was interviewed for. Now she has no place to go and needs to apply again in the second round.

I was in shock when she told me. My first reaction was: this could be me, how stressed out I’d be in her shoes. My second reaction was: how can I help her? Nothing in term of finding a job, but at least I could offer my ears as I’m sure she’s super frustrated and probably wants to vent it out with someone. Although we are not friends, we never worked together, we only chatted few times when we both got into this year’s job market. Yet, she was comfortable enough to discuss her frustration with me and showed her vulnerabilities. I did as much as I can to “comfort” her for something un-comfortable, the least I can do.

It got me thinking about friendship, either in life or at work. When we open up and show vulnerabilities or ask for help, it’s when new friendship forms or existing one consolidates. My relationship with her has reached to a new level now that we share the pain of this process. I know I will feel comfortable to discuss “embarrassing issues” with her because she already showed hers. On the other hand, I know few colleagues that struggled during the pandemic but they didn’t ask for anybody’s help. It’s part of their culture, I understand, but also closed the door for new friendships.

I am getting a bit more anxious these days because I know some decisions about my future (job) have been made, and I’ll be informed very soon. I keep reminding myself that WE WILL BE FINE in any of the 4 possible locations.

2 thoughts on “Feeling empathy

  1. I totally agree with you- I think sometimes talking to someone you actually don’t know as well can be better. It’s like you can be a little more open and free, maybe because you feel like it’s a “safe space”/ no-judgment, since the person doesn’t really know you, anyway! When it’s someone you know really well in real life, I think sometimes it can be oddly more difficult to open up, about some things. Depends on the person, I guess.


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