It’s no secret that going through a divorce affects job performance. Between long lunches to meet with your attorney, incessant phone calls to appraisers and accountants, and condensed work days to pick up and drop off the kids on time, your flux schedule alone will destroy any hopes of winning “Employee of the Month.” Add the emotional toil””the anger, the tears!””to that list of distractions, and it’s amazing you can pour yourself a “cup of ambition” at all.
Luckily, you can’t be fired just for getting divorced””unless you work in some kind of faith-based job that is. In 2011, the head honchos at Michigan’s Intervarsity Christian Fellowship reportedly terminated one of their spiritual directors solely because she was unable to reconcile with her estranged husband and had opted for divorce. The woman tried to sue the Christian Fellowship for wrongful termination and employment discrimination, but the courts ultimately defended the nonprofit’s actions under the First Amendment’s “ministerial exception”– a clause which allows religious organizations to decide what sort of people they employ without government interference. Who knew a wedding ring could still be a job requirement in this day and age?
While that’s an extreme case, a divorce will inevitably impact your work life. Since it’s important to maintain a steady stream of income during this unpredictable time, here are a few tips to protect your career while simultaneously ending a marriage:
1. Speak with your boss. You don’t need to involve him or her in the drama particulars of your situation, but it’s wise to give them a heads-up so they can manage expectations accordingly””and offer a shoulder to lean on when need be.
2. Thank your colleagues for picking up the slack””in advance. Don’t alienate your team with constant excuses and missed deadlines after the fact; be proactive by acknowledging your troubles and asking for help straightaway.
3. Bring treats! The way to everyone’s heart is through their stomach; keep people on your side with small gestures of appreciation.
4. Be honest with yourself, and determine whether you need to take a temporary leave of absence or forgo new clients and projects for the time being.
Divorce is stressful and overwhelming, but it’s truly amazing how many people are Googling ways to support their employees during these trying times. Your workmates want to be there for you, so don’t be afraid to ask for understanding when you need it.
P.S. The same is true of your Divorce Matters attorney. Let us know if you’re struggling with your commitments, and we’ll do our best to lighten your load!