How to Deal with Office Survivor’s Guilt

Photo from Service Employees International Union
If you’ve worked in an office lately, you know what I mean. There are many kinds of Office Guilt. The most prevalent is Survivor’s Guilt if the pink slips or ax managed to slip by your desk or survivors enthusiasm.

While layoffs might not be as common, they are still happening and Survivor’s Guilt is still relevant today. As the February 2009 Times article states, “watching colleagues pack their things and go — and dealing with guilt that it wasn’t you, anxiety that you might be next, exhaustion from the extra work you must take on and even envy of those who get to leave such a sullen environment — that’s not much cause for celebration.”

It’s hard to go from a department of eight to a department of four. To take on additional tasks and keep telling yourself you’re lucky to be employed and have a paycheck still. But that mentality doesn’t make it less stressful. If there’s not a renewed sense of camaraderie or team building to make those left feel important, feel wanted, then it can easily become a place of people biding their time until something better comes along.

The newest lines of advice indicate you should never stop looking for your next position. Even if you’re happy. In the uncertain world of careers, this could be a lifeline.

My best advice? Don’t let people around you bring you down. If they’re being really negative, let them know. If you want to love your job and your workplace, do it. No one but you can help you deal with being a layoff survivor. However, that being said, if you are feeling very stressed out or overwhelmed find someone you trust to talk about it.

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