Divorce is a very personal issue, and most people who are going through one tend to keep the details quiet for the most part.
If you are going through a divorce, you will probably want to take care of things without the rest of the world knowing your business. But, there will come a time when you have to make your divorce public, and you will have to address it in the workplace. How can you do this without revealing too many personal details?
1) Decide How Much You Want to Reveal
Before going public with your divorce, you need to decide just how much you wish to reveal. No one really needs to know all of the personal details, even though many may rudely ask. Remember, your personal life and your work life should remain separate.
If you have a co-worker who is also a close friend, they may already know what is going on, and you likely will give them more details as you go public with the divorce. But, the rest of the office doesn’t really need to know why you divorced, only that you are now divorced.
2) Talk to Your Employer First
It is a good idea to let your employer know what is going on, because there are likely going to be days when you need some time off to take care of divorce-related details. There may be days when you have to be at divorce court, and you need to make sure that your employer knows this is only temporary. Tell them what is going on, without going into too much detail, and explain that while you don’t expect the divorce to affect your job, there may be times when you have to leave to take care of things that can only be done during regular business hours.
If you are looking for employment and are also in the process of a divorce, is it necessary to tell the interviewer? Unless it is going to affect your performance on the job, or you are looking for employment as a result of your divorce, there is really no reason to divulge this type of personal information. Questions about your personal life aren’t common job interview questions anyway, so unless you want to share this information, you probably don’t have to worry about being asked anything about your impending divorce.
3) Talk to HR Next
You might also want to make an appointment to speak with someone in HR about your impending divorce. When it comes to needing time off, this may be even more important than talking to your actual employer. Also, your company’s HR professional may be able to offer advice and resources that will help you get through this difficult time in your life.
If you know ahead of time when you are going to be needing time off for court hearings, visits with your lawyer, etc., you can request those days now to make sure you can get the time you need. When you know you have HR behind you, it can make the divorce process much easier, because you won’t be stressing about taking personal time when you need it.
4) Address the Gossip
In any workplace, there are going to be gossip hounds. Once the news is out that you are getting divorced, these people are going to start talking, whether they know the facts or not. It is best to nip this problem in the bud as soon as possible. Let them know this is your private business, and when you want to discuss any details, you will do it in your own time. Be polite, but let them know that basically, your divorce is none of their business. If they want to talk, let them talk, unless of course they are telling lies that could affect your reputation in the workplace. Then, you may need to take the matter to HR or your employer.
5) Always be Professional
Just because you are getting a divorce, it doesn’t give you an excuse to slack off. If anything, you may want to work even harder now, because you are going from a two-income household to a single income. More than ever, you need to make sure you will be able to hang onto your job. So always be professional in every aspect of your work. The one thing you should never do is use your divorce as an excuse to not do your job properly. You might be able to get away with that once or twice, but if it becomes habit, you could end up looking for a new job. Try your best to keep your personal issues at home where they belong.
About the Author: Jane Hurst is a content manager from San Francisco. She is a business writer and writing coach. Find Jane on Twitter.