When we go to work for an employer, we enter into a type of silent contract. You promise to show up for work when you are supposed to and to give your job 100% of your efforts. For that effort, your employer pays you a predetermined amount of money.
As time goes on, you begin to care about your company. You go the extra mile and you are proud to be associated with your brand. Your employer may not reward you financially, but his actions speak columns. He is quick to help you when there is a problem. He may pay you when he knows you had to leave early, or he may promote you when you have proven your deduction.
Expected employee problems
Your employer expects that there will be days when you or your child is sick and while it is inconvenient, he expects you to take care of your family first. There will be deaths in the family, there will be emergencies. All these things are expected in your silent agreement. But there is one life-changing event that your employer cannot predict and cannot ignore. That is divorce.
Divorce is a corporate problem
It is estimated that 50% of all marriages end in divorce. It is inevitable that divorce will affect every company at some level. When a person is going through a divorce, they are simply not able to perform at the top of their game. Emotions take over. It is not unusual to find someone crying, or at least dazed in their office. They get angry easily and take it out on others. They are apologetic, but they seem to be out of control. They are worried, absent often, physically, or mentally.
The employee sometimes feels that the silent contract should allow for this distraction. After all, this is life-changing. While the employer may overlook the extra time off work, and they may turn a blind eye to the slack in productivity for a while, a divorce is not allowed for in the employee handbook.
Other employees have to pick up your slack when you simply cannot think. But after a while, they resent the extra work without the extra pay. If your lack of attention causes them to lose other employees, or if your work is incorrect, or if someone gets hurt due to something you did or did not do. To put it simply, the employer cannot allow you to become a liability.
What can you do about it?
You may think there is nothing you can do, but actually you can help the situation. Below you will find some suggestions.
Take control of the situation
When you realize this is happening, you need to put on your “adult” shoes and take control of your situation. As with everything you do in business, grab a notebook (electronic or otherwise) and begin to gather your thoughts, your goals, and the tools available to get there.
First, even if it seems early, hire your attorney. This is your backbone. They are the experts and they know what you expect. They will advise you to start gathering the information you need. Time is on your side. This means you will be able to get your hands on financial records, birth records, credit card statements, and other important papers. This gives your lawyer a headstart on setting your claims.
- Take inventory of the money. Do you have enough money to get by? Many people feel forced into an unhealthy marriage because they do not think they can afford to leave. Consider paying off your credit cards, and getting cards that are in your name only. Change direct deposits if you need to. Have cash on you. Make sure you have titles to things you own.
- Check on your support system. Do not expect your mutual friends to remain your friend. Sometimes people just side for the other spouse. Make sure your friends have your back. Have a list of who you think will .always be your friend. Be sure they are loyal.
- See a therapist. Everyone who ever went through a divorce has felt their foundations shaken. Make an appointment to see a therapist. This is someone who will allow you to “let it all out” without judgment. They can also give you tools to help you cope.
- If you need it, see your doctor. You cannot get through this without sleep and health. Let your doctor do a check-up. If you are low on vitamins and minerals, this will make you behave ways you would normally behave.
- Eat, drink, and exercise. No matter how much you do not want to, now is the time that your body must operate at peak.
- Speak to your attorney about setting up a mediator. This third party will keep things calmer during the process.
Speak to your employer
Tell your supervisor about your situation. Let him know that you have it under control. Let him know that there will be times when you will not be at your best. Ask him if you can use vacation days or sick days for the days when you need to away.
Here are a few suggestions that might help:
- Is it possible to perform your duties remotely?
- If you are unable to get everything done during the week, would working weekends help?
- Is there another employee that you can train to do your job? Cross-training is a wise move for a business.
The final thing you need to approach with your boss is the point of no return. While most employers will see your efforts as a great effort and they will work with you. But, there are bosses that refuse to give an inch. This is not an easy thing to hear, but it is better to know going in. You then know you have no tolerance and you will have to decide how you can make that happen or if you need to look for another job. Do all you can do to stay ahead of the game, and that is all you can do. Sometimes you find some employers are just long-winded. But, their opinion soon changes when they realize how hard you would be to replace.
Divorce is hard. The struggle is real. But, as they say, sometimes the best defense is a great offense.