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Goals Career Planning Layoffs Communication

We had a round of layoffs a few weeks ago, and I survived. I obviously felt relieved and thankful, but I'm also feeling sort of guilty. I know I didn't cause any of my former associates to get laid off, but I'm not feeling very good. Can you offer any advice?

There are many employees who have a similarly mixed reaction when they survive this type of trauma. Your reaction shows that in addition to having a brain, you have a heart.

While there are some people who react to their own survival with cheers and high-fives, without ever being bothered by the suffering of their former associates, there are plenty of others who rejoice in their own survival but have sympathy and empathy for the plight of their departed peers. This is actually the more human and healthy reaction.

While many companies expend a great deal of effort figuring out who's, what's, where's, and when's of layoffs, they often overlook the need to do some planning to deal with the survivors.

At this point, your company would be well advised to have a few group sessions in which the employees can vent some of the feelings you describe. This would also be a good time for the company to provide you and your associates with more information on the direction and objectives from here. After all, many employees these days realize that a round of layoffs is often more accurately described as a first round of layoffs.

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