How can you possibly focus on work when you’re having a personal crisis? Whether it’s a divorce, a family illness, or financial issues, here’s how to handle life’s catastrophes while you’re on the clock – and maintain the appearance of calm professionalism. We got these tips from Self magazine:
- You just split from your partner. Basically, your self-esteem has hit rock bottom, and all you want to do is cry. The smart career move: Tell only 1 or 2 close colleagues about your breakup. Why? Psychology professor Susan Hoeksema says you don’t want to add grist to the rumor mill, or make your personal drama the focus at work. If it gets to the boss, she may think you’re too wrapped up in your own problems to give your work the attention it deserves. As a result, you may get passed over for promotions or cool assignments. So, throw yourself into your projects and use your job to rebuild your confidence. When self-critical thoughts start to creep in, remind yourself of something good you accomplished that day. It’ll boost your confidence and make the raw emotions easier to handle.
- A serious illness in the family. The smart move: Tell your supervisor what’s going on, since you’ll need more flexibility with your schedule. Also, get a game plan together and present it to your boss. That way, if you need to go to a doctor’s appointment or help out in some other way, your work is covered.
- Your spouse is laid off – or you have other money problems and worrying about the bills is killing your focus. The smart move: Don’t bring your financial woes to work! Experts point out that – unfair or not – financial problems can cause your colleagues to question your judgment. Why? Because many financial problems are due to overspending and living beyond your means. So, try to compartmentalize and deal with your financial problems when you’re not at work. That way, you can concentrate on what you need to do most: earn your next paycheck. Also, don’t ask for a raise because you really need the money. Raises are a given for accomplishments – not financial need.