I had to terminate friend and coworker last week.
This is the sort of thing that the workplace environment never really prepares you for - anywhere. Oh, they have all sorts of knowledge on how to do your job and how to not break the laws and possibly how to be a better manager. It is occasionally acknowledged that this might happen - but no, there is no formal training for it.
The reason, of course, falls into that general bucket of protected information that we are never allowed to discuss. Suffice it to say was no question about it.
But that does not make it any easier.
The experience, I can sadly say, was one of the single worst days of my approximately 3.5 year employment at my current company, or perhaps really in my entire 35+ years of working. I have had to terminate individuals before. But never friends.
After this sort of event, there is a twofold issue: on the one hand, dealing with your own emotions about everything - not just the event itself but your knowledge of the person, their family, their situation, the very really impact of what just happened on their life. The knowledge of the stress that is going on in their lives right now and that somehow, you contributed to all of that.
On the other hand is the very real fact that this sort of thing does not take place in a vacuum. There are direct reports to the person who left. There are coworkers, All of these are now unsettled about what has happened (and rightly so). Rumors fly faster than the truth which one cannot speak, made more potent by the fact that one cannot say much of anything at all. One tries to ensure people that this is not a company wide event or indicative of any insecurity in their own jobs. One works on salvaging the reputation of one's friend, who not there to comment or defend themselves.
One does a pretty lousy job of it.
Thankfully (if there is anything to be thankful for in this unfortunate event) the individual has work friend who looked in and are looking in even now. We have chatted via text a bit and somehow I am not held responsible for this event. We plan to have coffee or some such after vacation, when hopefully they and I are somewhat healed - the weight of the emotions are still a bit raw and I fear it would bleed into our conversation until a little time has passed.
I have held for many years now that 02 August is my failure day, the day in which I celebrate any and all of the ways I have gloriously failed. I can now add 20 December to the pantheon of self created holidays, that of Remembrance Day. For remembering the very real impact - good and ill - I have on the lives of others.