Dear Maria,

I’m with a small start-up company in a growing industry. We’ve had our ups and downs, and recently had to lay off several employees. This is the third layoff in as many years, and so far, I’ve survived the cuts. This last layoff was really hard on me. I feel lucky to still have a job, but sad about my coworkers and friends who lost theirs. I don’t mean to sound ungrateful, it’s just hard some days. I miss them, and wish I could do more to help.

Still Employed

Dear Still Employed,

You’re not alone in this situation. The economic ups and downs leave people hurting on all sides. Sure, you are grateful to still have your job, but there’s always the lingering insecurity that you may be included in the next round of layoffs, if and when it comes. You may not feel you have the right to be sad when your friends are suddenly looking for work. It’s still tough on you, though. There’s real grief in seeing empty desks, or losing a lunch buddy. Plus, your work load has probably increased to pick up the slack. Project deadlines still loom, even if the staff has shrunk.


You’re in crisis management mode right now, and that takes a toll on your physically, mentally, and emotionally. Be especially careful to eat well, get enough sleep, exercise, and spend time with people you love doing things you enjoy doing. Work is demanding a lot from you, so take good care of yourself so you have something to give when you show up every day. As for the colleagues who’ve been laid off, keep your eyes open for job opportunities and pass along any leads you have. They may not be open to staying in contact at first, as I’m sure the layoff really stings. Though it sounds harsh, your first priority is to take care of yourself and stay healthy. Radical self-care is in order, including honoring your feelings. Both employment and unemployment are stressful. Be good to yourself.