If you haven’t been through a divorce or a painful separation, then count your blessings and hope it never happens to you!
For some of us who have, it can be the most painful and difficult time in your life. Personally, I found it crippling, all-consuming and, for the best part of a year, I was a zombie.
So how on earth do you go to work, put on a brave face of make-up, and concentrate on the job-at-hand without having a nervous breakdown?
We have all heard people say “leave it at the door” when it comes to bringing your personal baggage to work. This is easier said than done when your life is falling spectacularly apart - and eating and sleeping becomes a thing of the past. So here are my best tips for navigating a horrendous time in your life.
1. Understand the importance of keeping your job!
When emotions are running high and nothing in the world makes sense, it is handy to have a job that is predictable and secure. If you are lucky enough to have this don’t do anything stupid to sabotage it. Peel yourself out of the spare bed, get yourself to work (on time) and put in a hard day of work. That alone will make you feel better.
2. Tell your boss
Even though you might be a very private person this is something they need to know. There may be times when it does affect your work and your boss is far more likely to cut you some slack if they are aware. But keep it professional! Your boss doesn’t need to know your husband has been having it off with the babysitter. Less is usually more in this situation.
3. Be discreet
Similarly, it’s okay to let your team know about your significant life change. However, unless you wish to become the next hot topic around the lunchroom keep it discreet. It is tempting to want to divulge every little detail or have a shoulder to cry on, just don’t involve people at work! If you heavily lean on co-workers for emotional support, it will affect your credibility, or worse jeopardize future opportunities, over time. Look outside the workplace for your support network. In this situation family and friends are best.
4. No calls at work!
That goes for emails and texts too! Nothing will ruin your day like a call from the ex at 10am on a Tuesday morning. Firstly, you don’t want your conversation overheard and, let’s face it, raised voices are likely. Secondly, if you are prone to tears (like me) this is a situation you need to avoid. Thirdly, apart from an urgent matter regarding the children everything else can wait until after 5pm. Make this clear from the beginning with your ex - boundaries are vital! Make work your sanctuary and use the time as a ceasefire.
5. Eat something!
If you are anything like me, just doing basic tasks were difficult. I stopped eating and sleeping and when I came to work, I would stare at my computer screen thinking how can I do this when my chest is hurting and my stomach is in knots. It will get easier. This phase will pass. But if you don’t eat then its hard to think/concentrate and they’re important skills to have when it comes to keeping long-term employment. Be kind to yourself - and take care of the bread winner! EAT THE BREAD!
A divorce will certainly put the whole world into perspective. A good job / career can help you get through this, if you can keep your cool. Throw yourself into your work, it won’t hurt! Eventually it may lead to a career change or a promotion if you can handle yourself with dignity. But for now, just take it day by day and breathe, get dressed, force a smile, get your work done then tomorrow - repeat. It gets easier, I promise!!!