After nearly a decade with Rosanna Scotto on ‘Good Day New York,’ Greg Kelly has departed
Goodbye’s the saddest word to say.
After almost a decade as a co-anchor on “Good Day New York,” a long running morning news show on the WNYW channel, Greg Kelly has left the program. The 48-year-old Marine Corp reserve officer was one part of a duo that many New Yorkers wake up to each weekday, and has spent much of his “Good Day” tenure with co-host Rosanna Scotto at the same table. While Kelly was coy about his future plans, Scotto didn’t hide her emotions.
“My tv partner is moving on!” she wrote in an Instagram post which featured a photo of her looking at him with a nostalgic expression. (WNYW’s parent company is 21st Century Fox, which shares common ownership with Moneyish publisher Dow Jones.)
Scotto’s partnership with Kelly was unusually public, but the anxiety at having a longstanding close colleague, or so-called “work spouse,” leave is a common one. According to work psychologists Good & Co., 53% of workers claim they would be sad if their work spouse leaves their job, while another 23% would consider jumping ship with them.
“The benefits are similar to those of any close relationship—you enjoy spending time with the person, feel understood and have fun while in the same boat together,” says Eden Abrahams, managing partner at Clear Path Executive Coaching. “It’s normal to go through a period of mourning when the person is no longer in the trenches with you. It’s a hole left behind from someone you had lunch and coffee with thousands of times.”
Feeling isolated upon a person leaving is likely to become a pressing professional issue in Corporate America. According to a 2014 Gallup poll, the average full-time American employee works 46.7 hours a week. That’s up from the 44.9 hours that U.S. workers say they spent on the job a decade ago. And as increasing amounts of Americans report not having any close friends, the collaborative workplace is becoming a key social arena. That said, there are ways to minimize the sense of loss you feel when your work husband or wife leaves their job.
The first step is to develop a large network of colleagues you feel comfortable working with. “There’s an opportunity that arises with any loss, so you should spend time thinking about colleagues you can tap on or learn from, that you want to get closer to,” says Abrahams. “Don’t put all your eggs in one basket. In order to be effective and impactful at work, you should be well-networked throughout the organization.”
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But going out and searching for a new work spouse quickly isn’t necessarily a good idea. “If people know that you two were like Batman and Robin, others will not appreciate that they’re a replacement,” says Roy Cohen, a New York management coach. “They’re not going to be responsive and it’s going to be awkward. Take some time and figure out who you work well with.”
It’s also a bad idea for it to be super evident that you’re mourning a professional partner’s passage, even though organizations often give allowances when you face other personal problems. For one, it looks indulgent if your work spouse is going off to a better job. “You should do the right thing by acknowledging their departure but also celebrating it,” says Cohen, author of “The Wall Street Professional’s Survival Guide.” “Act responsibly.”
Second, an overwhelming sense of grief could make your bosses think you had an inappropriate relationship—or that you’re not able to be productive without this person. Instead of chatting with your manager, Cohen thinks it might be better to bring it up with your company’s Employee Assistance Program if one is offered. The professionals there are meant to support your emotional well-being in the office and your conversations are often confidential.
As with all things, moderation is key. “Leaders who have empathy and emotional intelligence are cognizant that losing a work spouse can feel like a blow,” says Abrahams “But you should try being constructive first.”
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