Thursday, July 18, 2013

survivor guilt

I recently got a new job, which meant I was able to quit my last job. Without giving too many details (and opening myself up to defamation charges), my last job was hell on earth. Oh sure, there were good points. There was a group of people in the office who I liked and am still friends with. It offered me a stepping stone to my current position. It gave me a (small) paycheck. I believed in the mission of the organization. The good points pretty much end there though.

The office was overcrowded and filled with mediocre employees. Anyone who was competent always got the lion's share of the work dumped on them and then were punished for not doing 4 people's work fast enough. People who created drama were rewarded, and my boss was... reactionary (we'll keep it clean). It was exhausting and stressful. I worked there for 13 months; I started looking for new jobs in earnest after 4.

Some of the friends that I made there got out while I still worked there. I was so happy for them, and it caused me to redouble my efforts to find something else. A couple of them told me that they felt guilty after leaving. I would scoff at them and say "Don't feel guilty! You got out! That's wonderful!" I truly meant it too.

When I left, there was only one person on my team (out of 4). His wife was about to have their first baby, and he was SO excited. He had been planning his paternity leave since she found out she was pregnant. Unfortunately for him the timing was such that she had her baby 2 days after I left the office. The heckling from the boss began in earnest at that point-- the boss was unable to comprehend why a DAD would need to take leave with a new baby. [Don't even get me started.] Instead of taking a month off as planned, I think he was back to work after a week. Back into more drama and turmoil than ever.

I now understand what my friends were saying about feeling guilty. I feel survivor guilt like CRAZY when I talk to him. Part of it is just the timing of when I left, but most of it is just that he's still there and I got out. I not only got out, but I got out to somewhere great. My new job is awesome; it's like a night and day difference from my old job. I feel guilty because he has to go back there every day. I especially feel guilty because he has to go back there every day and he has a super cute baby at home who he's supposed to be spending time with.


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