When Bad Things Happen to Good People…

One of the things I’ve struggled with, and am struggling with now, is how to handle when great things happen to me while bad things are happening to others. When unemployment was at its highest and people were looking for work for six months or more, I found a job in a month. While others were suffering pay freezes, I was getting raises. While I got a new position, many people got let go. All of which leaves me with a bit of survivor’s guilt.

Someone who really helped me through some difficult times in my own life recently lost his job. Knowing the type of person he is, I was shocked to hear this. He is a good person, someone who strives to get along with everyone, is almost never angry, doesn’t have anything bad to say about anyone, and is always lending a helping hand. I don’t know why he lost his job, but I do know he has a wife and children to support. Meanwhile, here I am, single and childless, advancing and doing better.

I know it’s not that simple, that just because he’s a good person doesn’t mean he was doing a good job, and just because he doesn’t have a job doesn’t mean I should feel ashamed or “bad” for finally seeing some career success, but I just can’t seem to shake the feeling. I know seven people who have been let go from their jobs in the last six months, and many more who have been looking for longer than that. It’s a struggle not to feel bad about your own success in such a situation.

Have you ever had to live with survivor’s guilt? How did you handle it? What do you do when bad things happen to good people?

3 Comments

  1. I have watched my mom suffer with illness my whole life, its hard. She is such a good person why her? I feel guilty every time she ends up in the hospital. I also had a lot of guilt around my husbands drinking. I was given something by a lady in my Al-Anon group. Its a little sticker that I use for a book mark. It says “screw guilt” You have to remember, your success is because of your own achievements. You can not control or change what happens in their lives. Let go of the guilt.

    • 2blu2btru

      This is so true! I spoke with my mom the day I found out that this person lost their job. She said “well, yes he was nice, but maybe he just didn’t do a good job.” It’s hard to think of someone apart from how you know them. It would be hard for me to concentrate on the type of worker he is versus what a good person he is, but that’s not the case when it’s a company and it’s about the bottom line. All I can do is pray he finds a position he can shine in and be able to provide for his family in. The rest is out of my hands.

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