As much as we’d like to pretend that we’re all robots focused solely on our jobs and career goals, unfortunately this isn’t always the case. Whether it’s marital issues, financial concerns, or other difficulties, personal problems have a way of seeping into your professional life. If you’re dealing with an issue at home and need to find a way to keep your professional life on track as you cope, consider these tips:
Be honest with your supervisor
If your personal problems may impact your ability to perform, it’s important to be upfront with your supervisor as soon as possible, rather than trying to do damage control after the situation has started to become a concern. For instance, if a child is sick and needs to be taken to medical appointments, explain the circumstances. Don’t come right out and ask for special treatment or more personal days than other employees, but it’s likely that your employer will be open to creating a way for you to manage your responsibilities at home and at the office too. Perhaps you can work from home on days when your child needs to see the doctor, or maybe you can come in earlier and leave earlier.
Understand the consequences of disclosing your circumstances
While it may feel like a huge relief to disclose your personal problems to your co-workers so that they can understand why you seem stressed, understand that doing so may yield unexpected consequences. If, for example, you’re revealing that you have a chronic illness, you may find that co-workers and managers treat you differently, often without realizing it. You may be given less work or less important projects. In some cases this is helpful, as it allows you to attend to your health. However, it can change the way you’re perceived within your company. Only disclose personal information if you’re absolutely positive that it’s necessary.
Know that word gets around
You probably have one or two very close friends within your company, and you may feel comfortable confiding in these individuals. However, don’t be shocked if these people end up revealing your situation to others, possibly by accident. This type of information tends to travel within an office. Therefore, you shouldn’t tell personal details unless you’re okay with everyone at work knowing.
Lastly, it’s important to be objective and know when it’s time to step back from work for a little while. If you’re really sick and missing a lot of time in the office you’re not giving yourself a fair shot at healing. You’re also doing your co-workers a disservice, as they’re expected to pick up your slack. You may love your job, but sometimes it’s necessary to take some time off so you can fully recover or tend to the issues happening at home.