We lost the tester, because for years they got to hear they are doing a bad job. How they are not needed. How they would only become valuable if they learned automation. And they were not interested. Not interested when the personal managers told it. Not interested when most conferences were full of it. Not interested when articles around the globe spouted that the work they were doing was meaningless.
They found the job meaningful. The team members found the results meaningful. And it was not like the manual exploratory testing they did had stayed the same over the years. As others in the team contributed more automation, their testing became deeper, more insightful, targeted on things where unexpected change was the only constant.
I reviewed their work long before they decided on leaving. I promoted the excellence of results, the silent way of delivering the information to make it visible. And when they decided it was time to let go of the continuous belittling, I was just as frustrated as anyone in the teams that lack of appreciation would lead to this.
Just as they were about to go, we we found them a new place. And I have a new tester for my own team. The very same tester who elsewhere in the organization wasn't supported is now my closest colleague. I got a second chance of helping non-testers and non-programmers see their value, for them to feel respected like I do.
And for that I feel grateful. I already knew my manager is a great match for me in my forward-thriving beliefs of building awesome software in collaboration with others, valuing everyone's contributions and expecting daily growth - in diverging directions. My good place - my own team - is again even better with a dedicated manual exploratory tester with decades of deep testing experience.