It can seem impossible to stop a personal crisis from negatively influencing your work life. Trying to concentrate on work will be nearly impossible. You just got the news that your grandmother died and you have to force yourself to deal with that crisis without allowing it to negatively affect your work life. The sad fact is that life does not revolve around you and your crisis. Your boss doesn’t really care that you caught your fiancé cheating on you and now you have to come to work prepared to give the presentation of your life to a big client. Tough luck for you! You need to find the courage to move on. If you can’t move through the crisis, you may find that your employment can be in jeopardy. It takes guts, but you can stop a personal crisis from influencing your work life.
1. Deal with Your Emotional Crisis
The truth hurts. You need to deal with your emotional crisis if you ever hope to stop it from negatively influencing your work life. Simply hoping the crisis will evaporate like steam on a mirror, is not going to make it so. You cannot turn back time, and use sheer willpower to force your fiancé to never cheat on you. Wishing and hoping will not change the past. Make a decision to deal with the emotional aspect of the crisis. Ok, so you won’t be hurrying out to enter a new serious relationship with a hot and sexy man after your fiancé cheats on you. Having a rebound relationship won’t hurt your emotional healing process, but it can help you get your mind off the crisis and focused more easily on work.
Depending on the crisis, you can stay overly emotional for a while. Dealing with your grandmother’s death is not going to be easy. You won’t be sad and crying your eyes out one day and then jumping for joy the next. Unless of course, you’re a raving lunatic—then you have more than just a crisis on your hands. However, to stop this crisis from influencing your work life, you need to kick the emotional healing process into high gear.
Check with your boss to review the company’s Family & Medical Leave Act Policy (FMLA). You may not get more time than simply being able to take off for the wake and funeral. The fact is that you may be in the middle of a huge work project and simply cannot take any extended leave other than having one day off for the funeral. If that’s the case, take the time to jump start that emotional healing process as soon as you get crapped on by the crisis. Practice mindfulness mediation exercises to help you stay focused on the moment and not the pain of the loss. You may not be best buddies with your boss or manager, but you will need to discuss your crisis to some degree. Who knows, you may find out that your manager isn’t such a grumpy old man. He may very well be a softy at heart and know how to help you manage the emotional crisis while trying to stay focused on work.
2. Get Out of the Office
Ok, so getting out of the office doesn’t necessarily mean you are avoiding your work. Simply by working from home for a few days, you are allowing yourself the opportunity to grieve over a loss or more effectively handle a crisis on the home front—while still working. Now, not everyone will have an accommodating boss who will allow them to work from home. If you can’t then it sucks to be you. Man up and force yourself to go to work. Try to get out of the office during your lunch break. Consider doing something that will take your mind off of work and the crisis. You may not be able to deal with too many social interactions without crying, so focus on ways to get out of the office by taking a walk or going to one of your favorite out-of-the-way cafes to drown your sorrows over a cappuccino and your favorite book.
Now, if you’re able to get out of the office by working from home, you’ve hit the jackpot. You have an understanding boss who realizes that sometimes life happens and people need a break. Don’t screw up this job because being able to work from home during a crisis situation is worth more than gold. You can work on your company laptop while in the comfort of your PJ’s and fluffy kitten slippers. Just don’t wimp out and succumb to the sadness, and then start binge watching reruns of Friends or the latest episodes of your favorite show.
Remember, you’re home for a few days to work and try to navigate through your crisis. Make sure that you take a few breaks during the day to focus on dealing with the crisis. Then quickly get back on track and finish all your assigned work for the day. If you mess up and take advantage of your boss’s generosity, you will have an even bigger crisis on your hands—possibly getting fired. Then you’ll be able to sit at home all day eating junk food, watching daytime TV and collecting unemployment. That’s not the way to stop a personal crisis from influencing your work life! So, stay focused and complete your work.
If you are permitted to take a few personal days, you definitely won the lottery! Go away to a bed and breakfast near the beach or up in the mountains. Even if it’s in the middle of the winter and you live in the Eastern US coast, listening to the sounds of the ocean can be soothing to your soul. Stay home for a few days. Forget about work. Try not to focus on the crisis and pamper yourself by taking a long soak in a bubble bath. Watch your favorite movies. Call your best girlfriends over to help you eat that pint of Ben & Jerry’s Hazed & Confused. Sounds like the perfect name for how you’re feeling in that moment! Just try to find your way out of that haze by the time your few days off are up. You need to get back to work in somewhat of a focused manner.
3. Know Your Story and Stick to it
Let’s face facts. At some point—whether you were at work when you found out about the crisis, you are permitted to work from home, or you have been granted time off—you’re going to need to figure out your story and stick to it. Ok, so no one is telling you to outright lie about the crisis. It’s not like you need to shout from the rooftops that your fiancé cheated on you either. That can be a tad embarrassing. Yet, you don’t want to have to explain yourself over and over to everyone in the office. You have to realize that someone is going to hear the news. Maybe they’ll overhear you crying in the restroom. You might have spoken too loud on the phone when taking a personal call in your cubicle. Your best work friend, who you thought you could trust, may have spilled the beans to the biggest gossip in the office and the rest is history.
Get your story straight and then become your own press secretary. Tell coworkers only what you want them to know. You don’t owe anyone an explanation, except for your boss—if the crisis negatively affects your work performance. You need to know what you’re going to say to people. Would you rather know what to say or end up sobbing hysterically while telling everyone in your department that your fiancé cheated on you? Remember, this crisis is going to pass. It may be difficult to pass. like a kidney stone, but you will get through it! Think about how you’ll feel several months down the road. Do you want to be known as the jilted girl who couldn’t get a handle on her situation and allowed it to negatively influence her work life? Most likely not. So, figure out your story and know who you are telling it to and why.
We’d all love to walk around with our rose-colored glasses on and think that we’ll never be touched by a crisis. You can either stay in la-la land or live in reality and accept the facts. Those who know how to accept the facts and deal with the harsh reality of a crisis situation will come out on top in the end.
Have you ever had to stop a personal crisis from derailing your work life?