Time to say 'goodbye' to a work colleague who became a best friend as she spreads her wings in a new career / Sue Plunkett column

I have felt quite sad since one of my closest colleagues announced she was leaving for pastures new.

Reporter Sue Plunkett is sad that a colleague who became a best friend is leaving for pastures new
Reporter Sue Plunkett is sad that a colleague who became a best friend is leaving for pastures new

While I am delighted for her starting a new job, one which she is made for, I was crestfallen when it hit me that we won't be working together anymore after almost two decades.

Over the years our friendship has grown and we have worked side by side and laughed and cried together as we have shared stories of events in our life. We have sought each other out for advice on many occasions, and even though I am older, my colleague has a very wise head on her shoulders.

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She never fails to give me some really sage advice and a kind word, always. And she makes time for people despite being a busy working mum with two children and a home to run.

I did want to include her name in this but I know she would be horrified so I have resisted.

An integral part of our friendship is the fun we have together, always laughing and giggling at some daft joke or situation and my colleague found my impressions of Coronation Street characters a hoot!

I have watched her blossom from quite a shy young reporter into a journalist of the highest integrity who is one of the most professional and dedicated people I have ever worked with.

Tasked with organising a collection for my colleague, the response from everyone was the same... genuine sadness that she is leaving.

The card I have bought for her says 'it won't be the same without you' and I couldn't have put it better myself.

It is always hard when a trusted co worker leaves and I have experienced it several times over the years. But I have kept in touch with all my colleagues who became friends as our lives move on in different directions.

I was once chatting to someone and discovered he worked with someone I used to to work with years ago but I didn't know that well. I asked him something about where she was living now and he hadn't a clue.

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He knew nothing about her family or her background and I found that staggering. To be honest he wasn't really interested so perhaps he is the exception. But how could you work with someone week in and week out and not know anything at all about them?

We probably spend more time with our colleagues than we do with some of our relatives, quite a scary thought.

I feel lucky that I would consider most of the people I work with as friends.

But my friend who left this week really was on the level of being 'a best friend.'

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I would like to wish her all the very best in her new job because I just know she is going to be a great success and she more than deserves it.

And we are already planning our first get together when I can roll out my 'Corrie' character impressions with a few from 'Neighbours' thrown in for good measure.