Divorce and the workplace: how to manage
Yes, divorce rates have climbed everywhere around the world. The official numbers leave no doubt: many of us will not be spared from its occurrence in our lives.
Although the increased incidence of divorce may lead us to trivialize its existence, the impact on one’s functioning can be brutal, significantly affecting our personal and, of course, our professional life.
Every woman is different as her personality, her upbringing and her culture will naturally affect the way she will manage the implication of her separation for her working environment.
This said, there are a few steps that one can take in order to safely guard the integrity of her professional occupation while facing such a challenge.
Assess your state
Separating, divorcing, conscious uncoupling, as some have now started to call it, can be somewhat traumatic, affecting the quality of your sleep, curbing your appetite, sending your thought pattern into a negative loop.
In the immediate aftermath following the realization that your relationship is now over, it might be a good idea to take some time off – a few days or more, depending on your options- and decant, surrounded by family and friends.
It is the time to be gentle to yourself, to take time to breathe and let go in a safe a secure environment.
Informing (or not) your organization
It is very likely that your performance at work will be negatively affected by your separation or divorce. Should you decide not to inform your employer, be aware that observable decline in productivity, quality of presence and decision making might be noted.
The organizational environment is an ecosystem that, in itself, aims to keep an equilibrium, an equilibrium that may be destabilized by someone dealing with unusual stressors.
Acting as if nothing happened may work in the short term, but may have long-term consequences if no collaboration from the employer is solicited.
Consider how consulting your human resources department might be able to help you ease into this transitional phase of your life. They will guide you as how to approach your boss; they may direct you to appropriate resources, whether financial, legal or therapeutic.
In the absence of such a department, consider informing your employer directly. Prepare your meeting, be upfront, and bring solutions.
Explain how you think this situation will impact your work.
What is the plan you are proposing?
How best delegate your work, to whom and for how long?
How can the flow of communication between you and your employer be maintained as to benefit both you and the company?
How often will you be absent from work in order to attend legal, financial or therapeutic meetings?
Establish a schedule if need be.
Is a leave of absence relevant? If so, how should you go about it? For how long?
If you are considering hiring a coach, tell your employer and see how they can help you. Have a few options on hand if possible.
Informing your employer, while maybe uncomfortable, will allow expectations to be managed thereby creating an environment that won’t exacerbate the stress already present.
Sharing with colleagues
We spend much time at the work place; we have developed relationships, bonds and in some instances, friendships have been formed. It is therefore tempting and very convenient to share and keep our working environment abreast of every development in our life story.
Be mindful of the delicate balance we all strive to maintain at the workplace between colleagues. Choose carefully whom you decide to share your personal information with for colleagues are not therapists.
Navigating a separation or a divorce while working can provoke an onslaught of emotions that you may feel ill equipped to tackle on your own: vulnerabilities, new ones, old ones, emerge, sharpening the edges of a fragility you feel the urge to minimize.
Whether to prepare and plan a separation/divorce or in response to an event that has precipitated the dissolution of your union, hiring a coach will help you travel through the steps and emotions that are part of the inevitable process of moving forward.
With a coach, you will safely work on regaining your confidence, your self-esteem and your ability to concentrate, thereby helping you create a calming perspective.
More importantly, a coach will help you regain a feeling of control over your life at a time when chaos might be threatening to become your new normal.
By seeking the assistance of a coach at this pivotal time of your life, you invest in your professional life, minimizing the impact your divorce/separation will have on the integrity of your work.