Well, here’s a new term for you. There is growing body of evidence that says survivors of layoffs often experience severe feelings of fear, grief, guilt and anger – and it’s called Post-Layoff Survivor Disorder (PLSD). Of course we need a name for any malady, probably a psychiatric category, a way to file an insurance claim – and basically an excuse for the negative feelings. Closely related to Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PSTD), Post-Layoff Survivor Disorder victims (meaning you still have your job) should try these tips:
- Talk to someone about your feelings. Don’t just bottle it up and keep it in – find a coach, counselor, co-worker or friend to share your guilt and fear. Try this before pills or medical claims.
- Connect with your recently departed colleagues. While you suspect they hate you for being allowed to stay, you may be surprised to find they are relieved and excited about all the possibilities. Hopefully their enthusiasm will be contagious and help you endure the stress of your ongoing position.
- Find ways to increase your contribution where you are. You may not be happy about having to do your own work and the work of three people who were let go, but show the company you are up to the challenge.
- Continue to clarify your highest areas of competence. Don’t assume you’ll be at the same place forever – make sure you know how to describe your marketable skills in three sentences.
- Don’t allow your fear and anger to sabotage your best work. Take a deep breath, take a brisk walk around the parking lot, release those negative emotions and get back to work.
- Make sure you have a life outside of your “work.” Remember, work is simply one tool for a successful life. Jobs come and go, but that should not change the direction or quality of your “life.”
And be confident that if your guilt and fear are not addressed, you are probably sabotaging your current position anyway and will soon join the ranks of the laid-off where you will no longer have to suffer from PLSD.