What to Say When Your Colleague Is Laid Off

Job Training

DO: Send an e-mail that reads, "I've really enjoyed working with you, and I wish you all the best," advises Lucinda Holdforth, author of Why Manners Matter: The Case for Civilized Behavior in a Barbarous World.

DON'T: Send an e-mail that reads, "Mind if I make a copy of your client list?"

DO: Offer to help pack up her office. "Just be discreet about it," says Holdforth.

DON'T: Offer to take that customized ergonomic chair off her hands before Eve from marketing gets her mitts on it.

DO: Pass along career contacts.

DON'T: Pass along a condolence card signed by everyone in your department.

DO: Respect her privacy. "It's totally inappropriate to ask about severance or the details of her layoff," says Holdforth.

DON'T: Wonder aloud, "Do you think it had anything to do with the time you expensed our martinis at Koi?"

DO: Call her to see how she's doing.

DON'T: Call her to bitch about your boss — her former employer — grousing, "You're so lucky not to have this problem anymore."