Should I discuss my personal problems at work?
by Jacquie Wise
There are some people who hold nothing back at work. Everyone knows all their woes and this can come back and bite them if the information gives a poor impression of how they are handling their work.
Sometimes job crises can result not from what you say, but from your decision to say nothing.
Jim’s partner was dying of cancer. His evenings and weekends were spent taking care of her and watching her wither away in front of him.
He chose to battle on silently. Although he thought he was behaving normally, his tensions were having an impact on his team. Sometimes he snapped for no reason and was unpleasant, sometimes he was over-critical of people. Some people in his team thought he was not happy with their performance and were losing confidence.
The unpleasant atmosphere caused a couple of people to resign. No one knew the nightmare he was going through until it came to the attention of management and he was questioned.
He had no idea his private pain was so visible. He agreed to confide in his team. You’ve never seen a bunch of people rally round to support him as much as they did. They were amazing, working double shifts to allow him to go home and spend time with his partner in her final hours.
Some major issues do need to be revealed.
• A divorce or separation: You don’t have to reveal all the gory details, but if people think you’re still married, it can make small talk and social relationships very difficult.
• A serious illness in the family: It can be dangerous not to say anything. People need to understand if there’s a shift in your ability to concentrate. You can’t expect colleagues to carry your workload if they don’t understand the reason. You may be surprised at how supportive people can be.
By informing your management and your colleagues of a difficult situation, you avoid the risk of ending up with two bigger problems, alienating people at work, and losing your professional reputation.
If you are struggling with personal problems and would like some guidance on ways to move forward, contact me directly to arrange a convenient appointment time.
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