Dealing with Divorce in the Florida Workplace
If you’re going through a divorce, you might not have given a lot of thought to how this will affect you at work. Assuming you have a full-time job, you spend more of your waking hours at work during the week than anywhere else. It shouldn’t come as a surprise that your problems at home may affect your work performance, attendance, and relationships with those around you.
Debbie Martinez, a Miami divorce coach, recommends that you at least let your immediate supervisor and your close office mates know what is going on at home. This will help them understand why you might need to occasionally take a personal call or leave early without them feeling like you’re taking advantage of them. However, you should strive to keep both these things to a minimum. It can also alert them to the fact that your moods might be a bit off for a while and that they shouldn’t take it personally.
Stay Professional and Don’t Share Too Many Personal Details
Martinez advises those going through a divorce not to bring the administrative side of divorce to the office to complete on company time. Do not work on forms or complete documents, do not make calls to your attorney or counselors. Not only is that taking time away from your job, your co-workers could potentially see or hear highly confidential information such as your salary, address, and information about your minor children. If co-workers offer their support, graciously accept it, but don’t use it as a time to unload about your ex or make every conversation about going through a divorce. It’s important to maintain a balance between work and your personal life, not to mention the possibility of damaging your standing in your divorce case.
Don’t Forget to Take Care of Yourself
A divorce can be one of life’s most stressful circumstances. You will make things worse for yourself by skipping meals, forgoing a social life, and putting pressure on yourself to be as productive as you normally are when not in the midst of a life-altering situation. While you shouldn’t use it as an opportunity to slack off at work, remind yourself that you’re doing the best you can and that you will be back at your peak soon. As long as you don’t take advantage of your boss and immediate co-workers, they should understand that as well.
If you find that your sad or angry emotions make it difficult for you to complete your work at all, don’t hesitate to seek assistance from a counselor or divorce coach. Contrary to the message society sometimes sends, it’s a sign of strength to admit you need help and not an indication of personal weakness.
How to Support an Employee Going Through a Divorce
In many ways, your challenges can be even more difficult than those of the employee. Your role obligates you to look out for the company’s best interests while mentoring your peers or direct reports. If you start to notice more mistakes or that your co-worker seems distracted or emotional, speak to him or her about it in private. Let the person know what you have noticed and ask what you or others can do to support him or her on the job without taking over any responsibilities. You can ask if he or she would like to share anything but certainly keep things professional and don’t demand it.
One thing to keep in mind, even the most confident person can have feelings of worthlessness during a divorce that spill over into work. If you notice anything this person has recently done very well, be sure to compliment them. Lack of confidence can spiral and ultimately have a long-term effect on job performance.
This is also a time you need to show leadership around the office. If you hear gossip about the divorcing employee, put a stop to it immediately. Let other employees know that type of behavior has consequences and you won’t tolerate it.
Need Additional Advice About Divorce in Florida?
Crystal Collins Spencer, Attorney at Law, is a skilled Florida divorce attorney and has more than three decades of experience representing the interests of divorcing clients in the Fort Walton Beach, Pensacola, and Sandestin areas of Florida as well as the surrounding communities. Please contact our Fort Walton Beach office (850) 200-4652, our Pensacola office (850) 912-8080, or our Sandestin office (850) 424-6683 to request your free initial case evaluation or by using our website contact form.