How to Stop Your Personal Life Getting In the Way of Your Professional Life


No matter how dedicated you are to your career or how good you are at what you do, there are some stressful life events that can carry over and affect your professional performance. While some, such as a serious illness or death in the family, are quite easy to communicate with your coworkers and management about, others, like divorce, can be more private and may not be things you want everyone at your place of work knowing about. Nonetheless, a divorce creates both emotional and logistical problems that may take up your time or play on your mind and, if you don't have strategies to prevent it, could cause your professional life to suffer.

However, because divorce is a major life change, it can be really important to keep your work life stable, so that you don't feel worse because more than one area of your life is undergoing change or difficulty.

Here are some ways you can work to stop your divorce impacting too heavily on your work:

Talk Privately to Your Boss

When you first become aware that you will be going through divorce proceedings, arrange a private meeting with your line manager or head of department to explain what is going on. Be honest about how difficult the divorce is likely to be. If it is an amicable divorce where there will really only be some legal formalities, let them know that there shouldn't be any major problems but you may need to book some leave to meet with your divorce attorney, or to find a new home and move if you won't be staying in your current house. 

If the divorce is more acrimonious and you foresee problems like custody battles or difficulties in dividing assets, or you are very emotionally upset by the divorce, it is worth admitting this so you can manage your manager's expectations. Underplaying the seriousness of the situation will not pay off should you need to ask for a long leave of absence.  Your manager may be able to change your workload temporarily to stop you experiencing too much stress if you already have a high pressure job, and your company may also have occupational health services which could arrange for counseling for you if you think that would be beneficial, which your manager should be aware of.

Whether you talk to other people you work closely with about it is up to you and how well you know them, however making your manager aware of things is very important.

Get Help If You Need It

It is normal to feel all kinds of things when going through a divorce, whether it is sadness and anger, or simply the stress of having to find a new place to live and go through the legal side of things. If you feel depressed, stressed or anxious, this will show in your work, so it is important to talk to a doctor as soon as you start to feel that things are becoming too much for you in one way or another. For some people, just talking to their friends can be enough, and asking for help with the logistical side of things is always a good idea when your free time to do things like move is restricted by long working hours, however if you feel very depressed, anxious or stressed out, it is worth seeing a doctor as you may be able to get through this period better with medication or therapy.

Look for Positives in Your Work

Some people find that during difficult times, it is their work that keeps them going, and so if you like your job or have ambitions within it, then it can be good to really focus on the positives you get out of it and actually use your work as a way to keep your life on track and feel good about the future. If your work has a good social culture, make the most of it, and try to be more productive and focused by using your work as a distraction from the situation you are embroiled in. If you can do this, you will not only find yourself feeling happier and more motivated in general, but you will also actually do better at work than usual!

Divorces are all different, and how much risk there is of it impacting your work depends on your situation and personality. However, by managing your boss' expectations and getting help as soon as you need it, you can get through this period without your professional life suffering.


Boris Dzhingarov is a freelance branding & marketing consultant, advising companies and businesses on all aspects of internet marketing, SEO, web design, graphic design, and PPC (pay Per Click). He is the founder of , , , and

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