So what could they have possibly done to deserve such a fate? Perhaps take on the job... And when they come back, perhaps they will not choose a profession so close to the flame.
Karma is about the choices a person makes and the effects those choices have. We like to romanticize karma as having some semblance of cosmic justice according to moral codes we devise. It is the boomerang that returns to us all that we send out. But obviously it's more than that, it's the throwing of the boomerang.