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How to Minimize the Effects of Divorce in Your Career

Divorce is one of the most stressful experiences one can go through due to the changes it brings to your everyday life and the range of emotions you experience.  Not only can divorce affect your personal life, but it can also affect your career. While many adopt the ‘leave it at the door’ method, not everyone has the same experience or perspective. They can find it challenging to juggle both their personal and professional lives. The good news is that for those days when keeping it together at work feels like a chore, there are a few strategies you can take to help minimize the effects of your divorce while excelling in your career at the same time.

Leaving a marriage is a huge change, and you must put many things in perspective, including how it will affect your career. For example, if you are a parent and working full-time, you may now have to reduce your hours at work to adjust to a new role as a single parent. Whatever the circumstances, the effects of divorce on work performance can put your career advancement or even your job at risk. Unprofessional behavior can result in you being placed on probation, demoted, or even fired.

You’re probably feeling a range of powerful emotions that are overwhelming and sometimes distracting. As a result, the emotional impact it has in terms of both stress and grief can cause you to lose focus and concentration on the job. Work tasks may take longer to accomplish or may require the assistance of other colleagues. In some cases, it may cause you to forget important meetings or important calls, which in turn can harm professional relationships and your company’s reputation. It is best to get ahead of the game and inform your boss that you are going through a divorce.  While this might seem too personal to bring up in the workplace, there is a professional way to handle it without oversharing. You can also talk to your boss about your situation to see how much flexibility you have. Don’t be scared to express yourself but be practical in combining work and personal life.

An article by Fast Company detailed how it is vital to avoid making sudden changes in your career. Although it may seem like the stress is overwhelming, never quit your job or turn down a big promotion. Trying to limit your income to lower your alimony or child support payments or qualify for additional alimony or child support usually never works in court. Not only may this be used against you in a divorce, but it could also have far-reaching consequences for your future professional growth and income. It’s also not advisable to take out large loans or cash out retirement accounts or pension or life insurance plans until you finalize your divorce.

Here are some more steps outlined by Dad’s Divorce that you can take to help minimize work-related stress while you are going through a divorce:

  • Get more involved in group projects so that you’re not working alone and have time to think about coping with the stress of the divorce.
  • Don’t read divorce-related emails while at work.
  • Don’t talk on the phone about your divorce during the workday.
  • Do not get into a phone fight with your former spouse while at the workplace.
  • Try to control of your emotions while on the job.
  • If you’re interviewing for a job, do not bring up your divorce.

Divorce is a traumatic and emotional event that can affect every aspect of a person’s life. Understandably, it can be challenging to put your emotions aside for the day and act like everything is normal. But allowing personal issues like divorce to damage unrelated aspects of your life can severely affect your career and overall well-being. Therefore, it’s essential to learn to separate your personal life from your professional life if you want to get through this challenging time.

by Debra Schoenberg