Layoffs feel bad to almost everyone, even those who aren't laid off. True, the financial problems survivors face aren't anywhere near as serious as those faced by the people laid off, but even those who do keep their jobs feel hurt and face problems and traps. What are those problems and what can we do about them?
- Survivor guilt is real
- It's not unusual to feel guilty about keeping your job while people more senior or more able or more astute lost theirs. Not unusual, but not really appropriate either. Feeling responsible for a decision in which you had so little role is unrealistic.
- That sense of responsibility might be connected to an overestimate of your own importance. The layoff was not about you. Injustice might have been a part of the layoff, but you didn't carry it out.
- You can't personally save the company
- Some of those who do keep their jobs feel an overwhelming urge to pick up the burdens that others used to carry. They try to carry too much load, and their personal lives suffer.
- Now that the company has fewer people to do the work, less work will get done. It might take some time for the company to figure out what it has to drop, but it will. Some of what you now do will be dropped, and some (but not all) of what other people did will be redistributed. In the meantime, guard your personal life. Step forward when called upon, up to a reasonable limit.
- Rebuild your support network
- If some of your best friends are no longer your co-workers, your support network has probably been somewhat disrupted. You might feel alone and lonely. Your lunch crowd might be smaller and wounded.
- Rebuild your network. Reach out to others, repairing wounded relationships Treat those who are laid off
not as you would wish to be treated,
but as they wish to be treatedif necessary. Recognize that others have feelings very much like your own, and they will probably be happy to join you in a new set of friendships.
- Keep in touch with your friends who were laid off
- They are no longer your co-workers, but they can still be your friends. They might require some time alone to recover, or they might require immediate attention. Everyone is a little different.
- Treat those who are laid off not as you would wish to be treated, but as they wish to be treated. If you aren't sure, and your relationship is close enough, ask. These friendships can sometimes last beyond one job, or two or three. You might need their support sometime soon.
These suggestions seem so reasonable, but it wouldn't be enough for me, because I need a good laugh once in a while, and this list is way too serious. You probably have your own coping strategies, too. What are they? Top Next Issue
Is every other day a tense, anxious, angry misery as you watch people around you, who couldn't even think their way through a game of Jacks, win at workplace politics and steal the credit and glory for just about everyone's best work including yours? Read 303 Secrets of Workplace Politics, filled with tips and techniques for succeeding in workplace politics. More info
Your comments are welcomeWould you like to see your comments posted here? rbreniTyMMwLkdSKKCugkner@ChacBNhbDtiYrsZHLVDnoCanyon.comSend me your comments by email, or by Web form.
About Point Lookout
Thank you for reading this article. I hope you enjoyed it and found it useful, and that you'll consider recommending it to a friend.
Support Point Lookout by joining the Friends of Point Lookout, as an individual or as an organization.
Do you face a complex interpersonal situation? Send it in, anonymously if you like, and I'll give you my two cents.
More articles on Personal, Team, and Organizational Effectiveness:
- Working Lunches
- To save time, or to find a time everyone has free, we sometimes meet during lunch. It seems like a good
idea, but there are some hidden costs.
- Towards More Gracious Disagreement
- We spend a sizable chunk of time correcting each other. Some believe that we win points by being right,
or lose points by being wrong, but nobody seems to know who keeps the official score. Here are some
thoughts to help you kick the habit.
- The Ups and Downs of American Handshakes: II
- Where the handshake is a customary business greeting, it's possible to offend accidentally. Here's Part
II of a set of guidelines for handshakes in the USA.
- Fill in the Blanks
- When we conceal information about ourselves and our areas of responsibility, we make room for others
to speculate. Speculation is rarely helpful. It's wise to fill in the blanks.
- Guidelines for Sharing "Resources"
- Often, team members belong to several different teams. The leaders of teams whose members have divided
responsibilities must sometimes contend with each other for the efforts and energies of the people they
share. Here are some suggestions for sharing people effectively.
Forthcoming issues of Point Lookout
- Coming February 20: Brainstorming and Speedstorming: I
- Recent research suggests that brainstorming might not be as effective as we would like to believe it is. An alternative, speedstorming, might have some advantages for some teams solving some problems. Available here and by RSS on February 20.
- And on February 27: Brainstorming and Speedstorming: II
- Recent research into the effectiveness of brainstorming has raised some questions. Motivated to examine alternatives, I ran into speedstorming. Here's Part II of an exploration of the properties of speedstorming. Available here and by RSS on February 27.
I offer email and telephone coaching at both corporate and individual rates. Contact Rick for details at rbrentTPySitbTjwLsxRvner@ChacDMiMQINxFUcaODBYoCanyon.com or (650) 787-6475, or toll-free in the continental US at (866) 378-5470.
Get the ebook!
Past issues of Point Lookout are available in six ebooks:
- Get 2001-2 in Geese Don't Land on Twigs (PDF, USD 11.95)
- Get 2003-4 in Why Dogs Wag (PDF, USD 11.95)
- Get 2005-6 in Loopy Things We Do (PDF, USD 11.95)
- Get 2007-8 in Things We Believe That Maybe Aren't So True (PDF, USD 11.95)
- Get 2009-10 in The Questions Not Asked (PDF, USD 11.95)
- Get all of the first twelve years (2001-2012) in The Collected Issues of Point Lookout (PDF, USD 28.99)
Are you a writer, editor or publisher on deadline? Are you looking for an article that will get people talking and get compliments flying your way? You can have 500 words in your inbox in one hour. License any article from this Web site. More info
- The Power Affect: How We Express Our Personal Power
- Many people who possess real organizational power have a characteristic demeanor. It's the way they project their presence. I call this the power affect. Some people — call them power pretenders — adopt the power affect well before they attain significant organizational power. Unfortunately for their colleagues, and for their organizations, power pretenders can attain organizational power out of proportion to their merit or abilities. Understanding the power affect is therefore important for anyone who aims to attain power, or anyone who works with power pretenders. Read more about this program.