There's no doubt that when your home life is less than ideal, your work life will suffer. While job coaches may advise you to try to keep your work separate from your home life, keeping them in separate "boxes" in your head, there are times when that's just not possible. When you're unable to concentrate at work, your bosses and co-workers will soon take notice. To cut down on the ill effects of the situation, be sure to keep the lines of communication open and look for resources that can help you make it better.
Talk to Your Boss
While it's a difficult thing to do, your first step is to talk to your boss and alert her to the situation. If you're dealing with a medical or legal situation, you may also want to get your company's human resources manager involved -- since you may be entitled to certain concessions because of your situation. You don't need to provide all the details; just provide enough so that your boss knows the gravity of the situation and also knows that you're aware it's affecting your performance. After your meeting, document what was said by writing it down and keep the notes in a safe place. If you are fired or experience some other type of fallout from the situation, you'll want to have a record of the process.
When you talk with your boss or human resources officer, ask what your options are for taking time off. Many companies offer personal time off for major personal issues -- and often, those days are paid. You may also be able to tap into your sick time to allow you more days to deal with the situation. If you do get time off, do what you can to remedy the situation during your time off, so that you can get back to work and leave the problem behind you. Your boss may also let you work part-time during the crisis; communicate openly and ask questions, so you know about the various possibilities.
Many workplaces also offer employee support for crisis through the employee benefits package. Some companies offer access to in-house counseling or may allow you to go to a few counseling sessions on the company dime. Also check with your company health plan -- it may also offer career or life path counseling that you could take advantage of during this time of crisis. Check your employee benefits handbook or speak with your human resources manager to get more information. Your city, county or state may also have crisis counseling and other services that you can take advantage of during this time; check with your local Department of Human Services or Department of Social Services for more information about what's available locally.
While it's not necessary to fill your co-workers in on all the details of your problem, there are advantages to giving them some kind of heads-up. Talk with the people with whom you work closely and let them know you're dealing with some serious personal issues, providing as much detail as you feel comfortable providing. Your co-workers may help you by picking up some of the slack. In any case, it will help reduce any resentment that they may have had toward you about your reduced performance.
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