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?
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