Balancing A Divorce & Work
A divorce is the 2nd most traumatic event after the loss of a loved one and it affects every aspect of your life. It drains your energy, challenges your focus, and makes simple tasks feel overwhelming. While you may think that getting up to go to work is the last thing you want to do, it’s actually a really good thing right now. Your work gives you a stable routine, keeps you busy, let’s you be social and helps you focus on other things. Below is a list of tips and things to consider about divorce and work.
Get ahold of HR early
HR will help you plan wisely as you go through your divorce process and they may even help give you pointers on how to talk to your boss. They’ll guide you through things like tax information, health insurance, retirement, life and disability insurance.
Tell your boss the facts
You’d tell your boss about other life changing events like your parent, or child’s illness, and a divorce should be no different. When you have this conversation, share how your work might be impacted and remember to stick to the facts and keep your professionalism. By talking with your boss, your conversation will be confidential and now you can expect them to be empathetic and make reasonable accommodations for you. It’s important to communicate clearly and be proactive if you need to take time off for appointments, especially if your company culture is about the bottom line.
Talking to colleagues
Depending on your workplace situation, you should be selective about who you tell, and you might even want to create a “divorce free” zone at work by not telling any coworkers. Consider whether your colleagues WANT to know and be mindful of what you share. Don’t distract your co-workers from doing their own job, and remember they aren’t your therapist so don’t share anything that could feel awkward in a future work relationship. It’s also a good idea to have a response ready to say if a colleague realizes that something seems off, like “I’m currently going through a rough time (or something personal) but I’ll be fine, and I really appreciate your concern.”
Avoid Making Sudden Moves
Your current work decisions may negatively impact you if your case goes to court so don’t try to deliberately minimize or maximize your income to reduce or increase alimony or child support payments. At work, don’t quit your job or turn down a promotion, and don’t cash out your retirement account or take large loans. Keep showing up to work and remember that right now, work is a really good thing in your life.
Focus on your Mental Health
Your mental health is so important right now and just trying to “push through” will likely lead to failure and you don’t want to jeopardize your job. Think about quick mood boosters you can implement at work like listening to music, taking a quick walk, or enjoying a cup of coffee or tea. Sleep is also really important during traumatic events and is necessary to function. Eliminate divorce related texts, tasks, emails and calls while at work, and just focus on your job because that can increase your sense of accomplishment and confidence.
Let work be your free haven from divorce. Think about the tips mentioned above when dealing with work and divorce, and remember not to take calls with attorneys during work. Your job can be a source of stability and distraction right now.