Career Advice

How To Handle A Personal Crisis At Work

posted on July 11, 2018 | by Michele Lando

How To Handle A Personal Crisis At Work

At some point or another, we’ve all dealt with a personal crisis, and there’s nothing worse than having something come up while you’re at work. Even if it doesn’t come up in office, navigating personal issues and balancing your job can be challenging to say the least. When it comes to handling a personal crisis at work, it all comes down to one simple thing: communication. Here’s exactly how to use communication when dealing with something major…

Be open and honest

Communicating your needs to your peers and/or managers ensures that you’re not leaving anybody hanging without an explanation, and that you’re covering your bases in case you unexpectedly need to take some time off. One thing I’ve learned is that you need to take personal time for yourself.

It’s easy to feel overwhelmed and like nothing else (i.e. work) matters when you’re dealing with a personal life struggle such as death, illness, family issues, etc. It’s important to acknowledge this while putting yourself first. Communication is key, and though you do not owe anyone at the office details, you do owe them some sort of explanation as to why your head is not there.

The explanation may be as simple as: “I’m not comfortable discussing the details, but I’m dealing with some personal problems/a personal situation, so I just wanted to let you know that I may have to take some time off.” OR “…I may not be as mentally available for you.”

Understand that you do not owe anyone details

While you do owe your boss and or coworkers an explanation of why you are taking time off or where your focus is (loved ones and health always comes first), you do not owe anyone details. Determine what you’re comfortable sharing and go from there. Maybe you feel comfortable laying everything out on the table and giving details, but if you’re not, that’s perfectly fine. If someone does push for details, have an answer ready.

A great way to phrase it is something like this: “Thanks for your concern. I’m not comfortable discussing the details, but I just wanted you to be aware that I have some other priorities at the moment.”

Know your limit

Going to work and getting out of the house may be helpful to get your mind off whatever personal struggles you’re dealing with, but it’s important that you know your limit to what you can take on. Don’t take on responsibilities you can’t properly fulfill. One of the worse things you can do, especially when you’re in the middle of a personal crisis, is to over-promise and under deliver. If you over commit yourself before you’re ready, your work probably won’t be adequate anyway, so you might as well take the time you require, get your head clear, and then come back strong.

If you’re willing and able to take on a big project, go for it; however, it’s much wiser to politely decline a leading role than to accept it and not come through with a great end result.

Everyone (including your crazy boss) is human and has seen or dealt with some sort of hardship. The only thing you can do is be honest, be clear, communicate your needs, and don’t over commit yourself before you’re ready. People will always understand if you help them see your perspective.

Do you have tips for surviving a personal crisis at work that you’d like to share?? Would love to hear!