How Work Performance & Divorce Are Related

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Divorce is one of the top three stressors in our society, and this makes work performance and divorce be closely related.

People going through a divorce are often experiencing a blend of anger, loss, and grief. This emotional cocktail shows up as being late to work, being distracted on the job, and clouded judgment.

The melange of anxiety, loneliness, anger, and fatigue is hard to cut through, especially given the ongoing nature of the divorce process itself.

Work performance and divorce

The Facts

The fact is that employee productivity goes down by as much as 40 percent during the divorce as well as the year and a half before and after your divorce.

This trend can continue for several years post-divorce as well.   

In the beginning, bosses and co-workers are sympathetic and supportive, but in the end, the end, the downgrade in work quality, the periodic loss of focus, the omnipresent sense of despair is out of sync with the mission of the organization.

Businesses are created for a purpose. Anything or anyone that impedes that purpose will be dealt with over time.

It is challenging to balance work, life, and children when getting divorced. It’s going to feel like you walking a tightrope, juggling flaming sticks while someone is poking at you with a stick.

Let’s face it, like any major loss, divorce is going to take away from everything and could possibly lead to a slowing of advancement, or even the loss of your job if you’re not careful.

The Risks Of Poor Work Performance Due To Divorce

“Getting Divorced” is not grounds for termination with cause.

You can, however, be fired for showing up as short-tempered, with reduced performance, failure to meet deadlines, angry phone calls with your spouse during work hours, etc.

A recent British study found that nine p0ercent of employees in the divorce process end up leaving their jobs or knew a cop-worker who had done so.  

Some of these losses were due to people changing jobs to impact alimony or in reaction to criticism at work.

Changing jobs is another major life stressor, it may feel like the right idea, but don’t do it if you can help it.

Avoid further major changes while you are in the divorce process if at all possible.

What Can You Do?

Everyone who gets divorced feels it at work, there are limits to how much we can compartmentalize.

Take a long weekend and allow yourself to mourn the marriage.

Letting go of the old relationship will help you develop a sense of the future you want.

Take time at home to have the feelings so you don’t bring them to the rest of your life. 

Eight Steps You Can Take 

Here are eight things you can do to minimize the impact of divorce on the rest of your life: 

  1. Tell your immediate supervisor – in confidentiality-what is going on and strategize together on ways you can both maintain your productivity and have the space you will need for the divorce
  2. When it comes to your co-workers only share the news of your divorce with close and trusted friends- avoid starting a gossip mill.
  3. Look for more ways to work with others, in groups if possible to gain a sense of community and slough off the sense of being alone that can come in the divorce process.
  4. Keep a personal boundary between your work and your divorce. Focus on work when you’re at work, don’t go through divorce-related emails, calls, or texts. If there is no avoiding it, then save personal texts and emails for your break time.
  5. Do not argue with your spouse on the phone, especially at work but if you can just don’t do it. It’s an argument you will never win (neither will they) and the fight never really makes you feel better.
  6. Watch your triggers. If you sense yourself getting angry at work excuse yourself and deal with the feeling privately. If that does not work get some help with trigger management.
  7. Connect with a divorce coach and/or therapist and/or spiritual leader. Talk to people who know what you are going through. This will give you a place to take the feelings and pick up some proven strategies.
  8. In general, save talk about your divorce to your immediate support network. Keep casual relationships casual at work and at home.

The key to minimizing the impact of the divorce on your life is to get help moving through the feelings and keep your eyes on the prize.

The prize is NOT to get the divorce over with.

The prize is the positive compelling future you are going to reach as you work through the divorce. Take some time