With wave upon wave of layoffs hitting the workforce each week, these are brutal times on the employment front. If your own operation has suffered some casualties, you may be dealing with an outbreak of survivor's guilt among your remaining staffers. As irrational as it may be, it's not uncommon for those left behind to feel that they're somehow to blame for keeping their jobs when friends and coworkers have lost theirs.
It's something you should take seriously. It can be difficult to be one of the survivors. In addition to the guilt they may be feeling, there's a good chance they're worried about losing their own jobs. There's also the stress of added work. With fewer people around, they're probably shouldering a bigger workload, which can lead to resentment.
Making things harder, they might even be angry with you. It doesn't matter that you were forced to hand out pink slips by the executive board. It doesn't matter that you fought hard to keep the casualties to just five people instead of the 10 originally proposed by the director.
Whatever the case, your job is to keep survivor's guilt from dragging down morale and productivity—and doing so at a time when you yourself may be suffering from the same affliction. What can you do for your people and yourself? Here are some ideas.
You will get through this. We know this because many of us have lived through tough times, and we got through them. You can do it! As Gregory Peck said, "Tough times don't last ... Tough people do!"