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Man of colour standing at the far side of an office with his back to the camera defeated.

What's workplace survivor syndrome?

There are many words that we could use to describe the current situation that has unfolded around us. Unprecedented is definitely in our top five.

The number of people who have been affected by the Covid-19 pandemic is astronomical. Not just those who have contracted or fallen victim to the virus, but others who have lost their job as a result. We have seen a significant increase in the number of LinkedIn messages and connection requests received from recruiters who are now out of work. This is a stark contrast to what is usually a real candidate short market.

With a number of businesses (including many recruitment agencies) making redundancies it’s important that we don’t forget about the staff that have remained. They might be fortunate enough to have kept their job, but they have still gone through a rollercoaster of emotions including stress, anxiety, sadness and anger. They may also feel guilt, and question why they have been saved and others haven’t. Perhaps the worst feeling of all and the most damaging is questioning whether they are next. All of these emotions are products of survivor syndrome, and they’re more common than you think.

Why does being lucky make you feel so bad? You’re not the only person who is thinking this. We are humans after all, and it’s completely normal to feel the pain that others are experiencing. But you should try not to let this impact you too much or disrupt your day-to-day life. There are a few things that you can do to help navigate through this tough time:

  • Don’t worry until it’s happened.

    Try to avoid wondering if there will be more redundancies or if you will be affected. This will drive you insane and is completely out of your control. Instead, concentrate on the things that you can control like productivity, attitude and keeping in touch with your colleagues.

  • Don’t bottle it up.

    The worst thing you can do in this situation is not communicate how you feel. A problem shared is a problem halved and talking it through with someone will make you feel better than you think. Talk to your manager, your friends and utilise your workplace employee assistance provider. If you’re not sure who this is or if you have one, contact your HR team who will point you in the right direction.

  • Focus on you.

    If you work in an industry affected by Covid-19, you may find yourself with a little more extra time than usual. Be proactive about your own personal development and think about where you want your career to go. It’s not disloyal to look after yourself and it could be the perfect time for you to learn new skills.

Concentrate on today and tomorrow and try not to worry about what next month will bring.

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