Divorce or relationship breakdown can lead to emotional meltdown. Most of us try to hold it together in the workplace but that isn't always possible. But if you proudly feel that you are really, really under control, just use this check-list to see if divorce is affecting your life in the workplace (and with it your prospects of promotion).
1. Changes in attendance at work
Are you arriving late, leaving early, leaving in the middle of the day for unexplained meetings? You may have to reorganise your life to pick up children from school, go to lawyer meetings, be at home to get the house valued and so on. Divorce can take up huge quantities of time and it overlaps with working hours. Be aware of how this can be perceived at work and at least be seen to be productive when you are there. Some organisations, though, are more focused on hours attended than work produced and they get ratty if they see you cutting down hours, especially for unexplained absences.
2. Eating seriously junk foods
Some people respond to stress by losing their appetite, a natural reaction when the body is being prepared for a physical emergency. Others eat more when under stress and tuck into the cakes, biscuits and chocolate bars. There is something about that sugar rush that equates to a hug, when actual physical hugs may be non-existent, so it's no surprise that food is often the drug of choice for getting thorough divorce.
Sometimes once energy is regained the excess weight is lost as part of the post divorce transformation. But while you are divorcing, just be careful that all that carbohydrate does not leave you foggy-brained or crazily hyperactive. Also, if some your colleagues see that your eating is out of control they will think that you are out of control and may make judgements based on that.
3. Drinking too much
Alcohol consumption is a common response to stress in the western world. It's easy, in a society that sees drinking as a convivial, social activity, to drink too much. It's difficult, at a time of your life when you are trying to control everything else that is going on, to be controlled over alcohol. But don't let if affect your work, or the significant divorce decisions that you have to make outside work. If you've been a mild social drinker don't slide into alcohol dependence (and if you suspect you are alcohol dependent, get help).
4. Becoming exhausted
As you are dealing with so much new stuff that you have to do on an emotional, practical and mental level it will be easy to become exhausted. In order to have some energy at work you need to do all the obvious self help measures ( trying to get enough sleep, eating reasonably well etc.) and compartmentalise you life. At work it's work that you focus on and this can become a relief and a release from the emotional pain in your personal life.
5. Turning into Godzilla
As your life turns upside down, your finances melt and all of past certainties dissolve it's not surprising that you get unusually moody, irritable or distracted. Major temper tantrums or meltdowns have their place but probably not in the workplace. Make sure you have a group of buddies outside work who can help you work through this.
Watch out, also, for getting tetchy with individuals who are the same sex as your ex-Significant Other. Whatever he/she did, they are not all like that. And your work colleagues are there to work, not take the flak as you work out your emotional dramas.
Work can be a really stabilising influence on your life during divorce. It may be one of the major life structures that does not change. So don't let divorce derail your work!