Set Expectations When Returning To Work After A Personal Crisis

Set Expectations With Coworkers When Returning to Work After a Tragedy

Your job will gives you leave to grieve after a personal crisis, like a divorce or death of a loved one, but you might return to work still feeling emotional. Be upfront with your boss and colleagues about whether you can handle talking about your situation.

Photo by Phil and Pam Gradwell

Your coworkers and superiors may want to offer their condolences when you return to work after a tragedy. While the support can be helpful and uplifting, it can also be distracting and trigger emotions when you're trying to get back into the groove at work. Sara McCord, columnist at The Muse, explains:

When colleagues acknowledge your situation, it shows that you work in a thoughtful environment. But it can also throw you when you're trying to get your work done and a colleague stops by and asks you about your tough time.

So, while you're talking through your preferred workload, let your boss know your comfort level with discussing your feelings in the office. For instance, tell your boss that it's too hard for you to talk about, so it would be a great help if colleagues treated you per business as usual (and let you be the one to bring it up). If you do this, it can also be helpful to provide another outlet -- mention how much you appreciate condolence cards sent to your home, or ask people to reach out via email. That way, you can decide if you want to continue the conversation in person or wait for another time.

If colleagues interrupting your work to give you some thoughtful support is too much, let your boss know, and offer up some alternatives. Sara makes some other great suggestions at the link below.

How to Make it Through at Work While Dealing With a Tragedy [The Muse via Forbes]

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