Many employees do their best to keep their personal life separate from their work. Some are successful at it, while others are less so. No matter who you are, however, it is likely that the stress of going through divorce is going to affect your performance even when work seems to be the only area of your life where you feel in control. The trick is to try and minimize your divorce’s impact on your professional life and focus on staying on track in your career. Below are some helpful strategies for making the best of a difficult transition. According to a divorce coach, the general themes to remember are that communication and organization are key, but there are some specific strategies as well:
- Tell your immediate boss: As uncomfortable, or potentially embarrassing, that the discussion may be, it is important to tell your boss or supervisor about the situation and assure them that you will do everything in your power to prevent your personal situation from impacting your work. Also, assure them that you will limit the time away from work, but there may be time when you will need to leave to meet with your lawyer, the court, or other professionals involved in your divorce proceeding.
- Tell those whom you work closely with: Similar to the reasoning behind telling your boss, it will be important to share this information with co-workers with whom you work closely. There is no point in hiding it. They will likely be more patient when you step out to take calls or temporarily go off the grid during business hours. This will also give them context for your mood shifts and provide them with a better understanding of how to be a support for you during this time of transition.
- Avoid the temptation to check out: You will likely be struggling with accepting your new reality; however, get up and go to work if you can. Do your job and try not to leave too much work unfinished for colleagues to manage. Keep in mind that you do not need the extra complication of finding a new job during this time of transition. If you find yourself struggling, do not be afraid to seek help. Many larger companies provide Employee Assistance Programs (EAP), often at no charge for the first few sessions. It is better to seek help sooner than face potential job loss or disciplinary action.
- Keep divorce talk to a minimum: You can update people when they ask, but try not to make every conversation about your divorce. Also be prudent – telling some people can lead to workplace gossip, which can leave you feeling alienated.
- Keep it professional: We have touched on this, but it is best to keep your work life professional and your personal life personal. Avoid speaking negatively about your partner or spouse.
- Do not be too hard on yourself: Accept that you will not always be at your best. Ideally, you have good co-workers who can pick up the slack if you are having an off day.
- Take care of yourself: Do things that make you happy and energized. This enables you to be at your best when you are at work. This includes regular physical exercise.
- Seek help if you need it: Similar to the above, get some counseling. This is a time of great upheaval, so talking to someone can help you work through it. They can even prepare you for different milestones before they come.
- Do not seek legal advice from your co-workers: Even if they offer advice. Rely on a skilled family law attorney.
Ideally, you have earned enough respect and good will within your workplace that bosses and co-workers will be supportive. Many have likely gone through the process themselves and some may be able to provide insight or guidance that is specific to the workplace culture or in terms that are more general. The right divorce attorney can provide helpful guidance tailored to your needs as well.