What to Do When a Personal Crisis Is Hurting Your Professional Life
Read the full article at Harvard Business Review.
Jane Dutton, professor emerita of business administration and psychology, and Wayne Baker, professor of management and organizations, and of sociology, provided advice on ways to cope with a personal crisis that is hurting your professional life.
At some point, we all confront a stressful life event or personal crisis that threatens to distract us from work. Perhaps it’s tending to a sick family member, coping with your own illness, or dealing with a divorce. These are all incredibly tough situations to navigate personally — let alone professionally. Should you disclose what’s happening to your manager and colleagues? How do you ask for what you need, such as flexible hours or a reduced workload? And how do you know if you should take a leave of absence?
What the Experts Say
“This is life, and these things happen to everybody,” says Anne Kreamer, author of It’s Always Personal. But knowing you’re in good company is not necessarily a comfort, especially if you’re struggling to stay on top of your responsibilities at home and work. If you’ve reached the point where you say to yourself, “I can’t get my job done,” it may be time to ask for help, says Jane Dutton, a professor at the University of Michigan’s Ross School of Business and coauthor of Awakening Compassion at Work. Here’s some advice on how to navigate work when you’re having a personal crisis.
Decide what you need
First, take stock of the resources you have at hand “both inside and outside the organization” to help you through this crisis, Dutton says. Are there friends or family who might be able to pitch in? Do you have team members who might be able to cover some of your responsibilities in the short term? What you need may not be huge. “It might be as simple as leaving work early on Fridays for a month,” Dutton says. The key is to figure out what will help ease the pressure.