The Sufferings of Layoff Survivors

Are you breathing a sigh of relief because you survived the most recent round of layoffs?  CNN reports that there seems to be much more focus on the people getting laid off than on the “survivors”, as we call them.  Marc Detampel, senior manager with Arthur Anderson, says “For those being laid off, there are severance plans, outplacement, counseling, communication, and talk about a ‘soft landing.’  But for the rest of the corporate population, the survivors, there’s almost a philosophy that says, ‘Hey, they’ll be happy just because they still have the job.”

Now The Families and Work Institute reports that of workers who remain after downsizing, 54% feel I love my job
overworked, 55% feel overwhelmed by the workload, 59% lack time for reflection, 56% can’t complete their assigned tasks, and 45% must “multitask” too much.  This kind of pressure violates everything we have been hearing about life balance and valuing the employees.

So is keeping your job a blessing or a curse?  This is why so often 18 months after someone loses their job, we hear them say, “That was the best thing that could have happened to me!”  Be careful what you wish for. 

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  • Be careful what you wish for is right! I was laid off nine months ago and although I did receive a severance package and some executive outplacement services, those things only postpone the financial pain for a short period. Purely from a financial standpoint, I would choose to be a survivor vs. being laid off. In my case, I was a survivor for a while, but it wasn’t enough to wake me up and to do something about working in a job I hated. It took me getting laid off to finally wake up and realize I was not the person I wanted to be and I hadn’t been doing work that I wanted to do.

    Yes, getting laid off was the best thing that happened to me because it forced me to “wake up”, but I don’t wish the experience upon anyone. The emotional impact off being laid off cannot be understated. I had to go through this experience in order to figure out what I am purposeful and passionate about. Now I’m trying to inspire and empower others who have found themselves in a similar situation as well as encourage others to STOP the job hate before it’s too late.

    • Looking For A Blessing

      Tyler, what are you doing to inspire and empower people in the same situation? I was laid off almost 6 months ago and still haven’t found a position.

      • Great question, and I’m sorry to hear about your struggle. I try to inspire and empower others by sharing my own journey and the steps I’ve taken and continue to take to continue improving myself. Today I do this by writing on my own blog and sharing/commenting other online platforms.

        I’m trying to lead by example and show that by (1) taking 100% responsibility for everything that has happened, and (2) taking action on the knowledge I’ve learned from Dan and many others, that it is possible to find or create work that is meaningful and profitable (as Dan says). I’m working towards having multiple streams of income including a coaching, book, course and podcast.

        I hope that answers your question. If there is anything I can do to help you with your situation, let me know.

        • Looking For A Blessing

          Thank you, Tyler.

      • Brad McCullouch

        Looking for a blessing- I like that. You are indeed looking. Do you know how few people don’t look? They sit back and pity themselves and become despondent. While I’ve not been laid off, I am recovering from my own life changing personal event. Being a card carrying, proud, Dan Miller endorsed coach I can say with great confidence that landing on this site may be the best thing you ever did. I would encourage you to get involved at . Also, there is a great conference coming up that will be a barn burner. Check out Lastly, feel free to contact Dan Miller and he will help you himself or he just might you refer you to any number of great coaches. For now, do what you can, where you are, with what you have and don’t be satisfied until you make it. Success is right around the corner. I promise- you just need a little nudge in the right direction.

        • Looking For A Blessing

          Thank you, Brad.

  • Brad McCullouch

    Dan, I don’t know what I like best. The post or the picture that accompanies the post!

  • PaulVandermill

    Looking for a blessing,

    I have come to see the corporate workplace as an endurance test for those of us left behind after downsizing. The never ending increase in workload and expectations can be beyond reason. One of the biggest risks is becoming out of balance leaving us without reserve to draw upon and damaging other areas of our lives. Protect and nourish all the areas of life. Speaking from experience, It’s a long hard road to repair a life out of balance. Having options and ideally multiple streams of income reduce your vulnerability to one person walking into your office and changing your world by either laying you off or reducing your income or standing in the company. Again, speaking from experience that is a tough blow. Learn a new way of thinking, fearlessly examine who and what you are, be open minded, build your support system. You are in the right place at 48Days and wise to learn from Dan Miller and others.