Job Tips: How to Deal With A Personal Crisis at Work

Posted by The Editors on January 27, 2012
Job Tips: How to Deal With A Personal Crisis at Work

As much as we’d like it to be, life isn’t always perfect. People we love and care about get sick, our relationships can become strained, our kids misbehave, and our finances take a hit. Sometimes these personal crises are under our own control, but oftentimes they are not, which makes them especially hard to deal with when you have to get up and go to work every day.

If you’re going through a time of personal crises (and let’s face it, we all have them), there may be times when you have no idea how to get through the work day. Here are some tips for surviving and thriving in the midst of a personal crisis.

Don’t React
There’s nothing worse than getting the dreaded “bad news” phone call in the middle of the work day. If this happens to you, slow down and think for a minute before you react and start making necessary phone calls. Close your office door, or if you don’t have an office door, go someplace where you can get some privacy. Take a few deep breaths. Asses the situation and how bad it is. Is it the kind of crisis you can deal with when you get home, or do you need to leave right away?

If you do need to leave, make sure to notify HR and your boss of the issue. If there are any loose ends to tie up, see if one of your colleagues can help you out so your tasks for the day get completed. Cancel any meetings you have, let your team know you have to leave, and set your email autoresponder so clients or contacts know you’re out of the office for the day. Taking the time to attend to these small details will make your life that much easier when you return.

Tell Someone
With so much pressure to “keep it professional,” a lot of us shy away from talking about personal issues at work. We figure, heck, we can tough it out and keep it together. But if you’re going through some serious personal turmoil, you might be surprised how much support and help your colleagues can provide. And let’s be honest: if someone is struggling on a personal level, most of us can tell anyways.

So give your co-workers some credit, and then next time someone asks you if something is wrong, confide a little. You don’t have to spill every detail of your personal struggles; you can simply say “I have some issues I’m dealing with outside of the office.” Also, if it’s time kind of crisis that is going to require time off (if you have a sick or ailing spouse, for example), let HR and your boss know as soon as possible, so you’ll be able to file the appropriate paper work for an extended leave of absence.

Take the Time You Need
Another temptation may be to struggle through every day, and deal with these issues on the weekend. Dedication to your job is a respectable quality, but in this case, it may be a mistake. If you’ve got enough personal or vacation time, consider taking some time off. It may give you the time you need to address the issue, whether you need to be at the hospital or meet with your lawyer. And taking a few days to take care of your personal affairs may mean you can be back to work sooner and more focused than you would be otherwise.

Take Care of Yourself
In times of crisis, it’s natural to want to curl up on the couch with a soft blanket and a big tub of Ben & Jerry’s—and you should. But afterwards, you should also wake up the next morning, make yourself a healthy breakfast, and go for your every day run, walk, or workout. Taking care of yourself physically (by eating healthy, exercising, and getting 8 hours of sleep) during a crisis will give you the strength you need to endure, and also the energy to fulfill your obligations at the office.

About the Author: Noël Rozny is Web Editor & Content Manager at myFootpath, a career and education resource for students of all ages.Visit to find the bachelor’s degree, master’s degree or PhD program that’s right for you.

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