How do you deal with an ongoing personal crisis and work at the same time? I read a story of a young lady who separated from her husband and slept in her car with her baby for two nights because of the constant abuse from her husband. Unfortunately, this young lady had nowhere to go and still went to work despite all the personal issues she was dealing with.
But how do you deal with a crisis like that and still function at work without completely losing it? Jacquelyn Smith wrote a great article about how do you deal with a personal crisis at work, and I want to share with you some of the strategies Smith outlined in the article. The strategies are constructive and straightforward, and it can help to bring some stability to your life if you are dealing with anything similar to what the young lady I mention above experienced.
Tell Your Employer.
For some people, this will sound crazy, “tell my manager, he/she will never understand.” Nancy Collamer, a career coach at MyLifestyleCareer.com, says it depends on the crisis. In the case of a sudden, severe and dramatic turmoil, you should definitely tell your employer, she says. “People tend to be highly sympathetic in these types of situations and are often eager to help. Don’t shut them out.”
“Most crises take up time and energy, and therefore will have an impact on your work,” Terry says. “Whenever you anticipate your work being affected, you need to inform your boss or employer.”
The question of whether or not to tell your employer in other types of crises is a bit more challenging to answer, she says.
A couple of questions to consider: Is your employer supportive and someone whom you can trust? Is this a situation you feel comfortable discussing? Can you realistically handle this situation during non-work hours?
If you at a crisis level and it is affecting your work, you have no choice but if it’s something you can handle and you don’t feel comfortable talking about your issues with your employer, don’t share, deal with it.
Don’t share too much or too little.
If you do decide to share, or if the problem is so disruptive that there is simply no choice but to share, choose your words carefully, Collamer says. “Explain the situation clearly without going overboard on the details--particularly when describing situations that might leave the other party feeling uneasy.”
There is a fine line between providing not enough and too much information. “You don’t want to be a soap opera, but you don’t want to be so private that people don’t have the opportunity to support you,” says Melissa Hopp, vice president of administrative services at the Community College of Baltimore County, Maryland.
Tell co-workers on a need-to-know basis.
Everyone affected by your performance needs to understand, but they don’t need every detail, Mistal says. Think about the people you work with and how any changes in your work or schedule, as a result of the crisis, are going to affect them. “I would only tell co-workers whom you know well, and you have that kind of trusting relationship with,” Shane adds, “Having a small support team at work is very helpful during crisis times.” But she says to take extreme caution, as co-workers may betray your confidence. Having your personal business aired around the office will add unnecessary stress
Stay positive and keep your emotions in check.
“Keep your poise and positive attitude and act as best you can daily,” Shane says. Try to keep your emotions under control, Collamer adds. “If possible, wait to speak with your employer until you’ve had a chance to settle your nerves and reflect on the situation. The last thing you want to do is dissolve into a puddle of tears in your Leader's office. It can be helpful to rehearse the conversation ahead of time with a trusted friend.”
Another way to stay positive at work: surround yourself with positive co-workers. “Limit the time you spend with negative people,” Stearns says. “Maximize your time with hopeful, positive, kind, empathetic, unselfish people who care about you and live their own lives optimistically.
Say thank you.
Once the crisis passes, don’t forget to express your gratitude, Collamer says. It doesn’t have to be a grand gesture; something as simple as writing a thank you note can be a very powerful gesture.
Dealing with any crisis will have its stressful moments, and if you are lucky enough to work in an environment that is very supportive, hats off to you, at least you can get some support from your employer. However, and unfortunately, not all organizations are made equal; In many companies, a personal crisis means nothing because management treats their people more like commodities as opposed to human beings.
When Sheryl Sandberg’s husband died unexpectedly in Mexico, she struggled to recover her footing at home and work. Sandberg began to write about her pain and authored an extended essay about her suffering and sense of isolation and posted it on Facebook, where she serves as Chief Operating Officer (and has nearly 2 million followers). The piece set off a global conversation about how people can cope with a tragedy.
From that experience, Sheryl learned that “It’s important for all our companies to give everyone the time off they need to grieve and heal. And once people come back to work, it’s important to help them realize that they can still contribute and not to write them off because they’re sick or grieving.”
The young lady I mentioned above got some help and worked through the situation with her employer; thank God. I don’t know the extent of her employer involvement, but she got some support at work.
But you know what, life will always pitch you a curve-ball along the way. You don’t know what hand you will be dealt, but if you at a point where the situation is too much for you to handle, seek help, seek genuine people who want to help, pray, never doubt yourself, keep the faith and believe with all your heart that everything will work out because every challenge comes to take you towards your next level of self and professional development.
About Gifford Thomas
I am the founder of Leadership First and the author of The Inspirational Leader, Inspire Your Team To Believe In The Impossible. At Leadership First, we are committed to publishing the very best inspirational leadership quotes and articles to inspire our 190,000+ community of leaders to believe in the impossible, while creating an environment free from toxic, fearful and intimidating leadership. We believe everyone can and should enjoy their work, but it must start with the leadership leading by example. Follow our community of leaders HERE, and let's change the leadership status quo to help inspire and motivate our leaders to make a difference and create an organization their people will love.
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