As thousands lose their jobs, survivors can struggle with the guilt of carrying onIt's like--no, it's worse than--the Holocaust!
When Jennifer Fielding describes work nowadays it sounds more like a scene from a supernatural thriller than a typical day at the office. “You call people's phone extensions but it just rings out because they've left the company. People just disappear. You don't know what's happened, they just vanish.”
Everyone knows the story of the worker who has been “let go”. Less familiar, though, is the story of the people left behind. The survivors. People such as Fielding, who are still coming in to work, worrying if it's them who will be next to go and how long they've got. And growing inside many of these remaining employees is a creeping sense of guilt. They survived and their colleague did not. Next to them is an empty desk, or, worse, a for-the-chop colleague working out his or her notice. . . .
Maintaining a friendship, supporting a friend, is all the more difficult if we are burdened by guilt, but understanding this emotion is the first step to managing it. “Survivor guilt is a defence mechanism against the deeper fear: it could have been you. That's a very selfish perspective, so we have to hide it,” [psychotherapist Lucy] Beresford explains.Crap. What you really have to hide is the thought Solzehnitsyn repeatedly noted as occurring when one Gulagian contemplated the imminent death of another: "Better you than me." (Followed, of course, by the equally wise, "You today, me next week.")
No survivor guilt there. Just one more line:
That's not to say people aren't genuinely feeling guilt. In evolutionary terms it's useful because it makes you more cautious and aware of your mortality.” . . .Update: Bet that vid took you back--to hell!