Dealing with Divorce at Work: How You Can Handle Going Through a Major Life Change

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couple signing divorce papers

Divorce is one of the most difficult experiences a person can have. Often, couples who decide to separate, regardless of whether the decision was made amicably or not, end up in a battle over child custody or property division.

Even couples who go through divorce mediation to peacefully separate rather than appear in court will find that the process has zapped their energies away, leaving them unable to fulfill their roles at work.

Divorce is tough. Employees are expected to leave their personal issues at home and focus on their tasks whenever they are at the office. However, it is easier said than done. Problems will always affect work performance in some way for most people.

However, there are steps you can take that will help you go through this major life change as smoothly as possible, especially at work.

Yes, You Should Tell Your Boss

Your boss needs to know if something will affect your productivity. Employees are expected to tell their boss if a family member is ill or has passed away, and if they or their spouse is expecting a child. The news of the divorce should be shared, too.

Do not worry. You would not have to tell your boss every gruesome detail about the separation unless both parties have agreed to talk about it. Otherwise, the boss only has to know that you are getting divorced and may need to miss work for a few days to attend attorney meetings, court proceedings, and other obligations.

Your boss should be one of the first people in the office to know.

Head to the HR Department Next

Your office’s human resource department should know, too. The HR professional would want to discuss some things with you, including your health insurance coverage, retirement and pension plans, and other paperwork.

Some things need to be changed after a divorce. The HR professional can guide you through it all.

Moreover, if needed, the HR professional might give you access to resources that will support people who are going through a personal crisis.

You Do Not Have to Let Your Co-Workers Know

coworkers in a meeting

If you do not feel like telling your co-workers about the divorce right now, you do not have to. You can ask your boss and the human resource department to keep it a secret in the meantime. Take all the time you need, and tell them when you are ready.

When you do decide to let your co-workers know, you should be discreet about it. Do not tell them more details than you have to. It might negatively impact your credibility at work.

While it might feel good to talk to people about the situation, especially if you have close friends at the office, it is best that you not do that during work hours. Instead, invite your close friends at home where you can share whatever you want without judgment.

If a colleague asks you how you are doing, tell them that you are grateful for their concern, but keep your answers short and generic. That way, you would not regret saying anything that might jeopardize your career.

Take a Few Days Off If You Have To

You are going through a really stressful and difficult situation. Burying yourself in work would not help you survive it.

Take time off of work. Use your vacation days to just sit down at home and then ponder on what happened. Let your emotions take over you. There is a grieving process after a divorce. You are, after all, separating from the person you once loved. You are also leaving behind old habits and routines. It is a major change, and you probably need time to process it.

Take Care of Yourself

The best thing that you can do for yourself and for your career is to take care of your mental health. Again, the process of legally separating from your spouse will be stressful. It will be tough. You will need to be strong to get through it.

Surround yourself with your family and friends, a.k.a. your support system. Contrary to what you probably think, the people you love care about you. They would not feel burdened by your problems by sharing them. They want you to lean on them, too.

You should also schedule an appointment with a mental health professional. A therapist can walk you through every emotion that you feel and parse your thoughts with you.

Do not forget to eat a balanced diet and exercise regularly.

Dealing with divorce at work would not be easy. You have responsibilities at the office, but you are also going through a major change in life. Remember that you are not alone. Even the people at work wants the best for you.

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