Working Through a Personal Crisis

Working Through a Personal Crisis

It happens to everyone: a death in the family, an illness, a loss of a significant other's job that devastates your standard of living, or some other personal crisis that just knocks you off course for a while. Sometimes for a long while. And meeting planning can be an unforgiving career when it comes to being able to take care of yourself during tough times, because those deadlines have to be met, those budgets have to be planned, those promotions have to be developed and deployed, the education has to be designed, and those people on site have to be taken care of and fed, regardless of what you're going through.

Do you try to keep it to yourself and just muddle through somehow, taking crying breaks in the bathroom when it gets overwhelming? Or do you reach out to your boss and/or colleagues for support? According to this Ask the Experts post from Fast Company, you're better off letting at least your boss know what's going on, and how it may be affecting your work. And maybe a few simpatico colleagues as well—they may not only be able to offer some moral support, but chances are, they have gone through something similar and may actually be able to offer some useful advice. Choose who you tell wisely, of course—there are always going to be those toxic people who, while pretending to console, may not have your best interests at heart. But surely there's at least one person you work with you can trust.

I'm a pretty private person, and it's not easy for me to share my personal issues with those I work for and with, but when I went through a health crisis a few years ago, I had no choice but to tell my boss and colleagues that I was going to be out for a while due to surgery, and after a bit of a struggle, shared what was going on in my personal life with you, too. Because it was affecting my work, and it changed who I am as a person in some fairly profound ways. And because it's OK to acknowledge that sometimes life just throws you for a loop, and your work is going to be affected no matter how hard you try.

Some things, like the miscarriage that prompted the letter-writer to ask Fast Company's experts for advice, are harder to talk about than others, but I think we owe it to ourselves, and our colleagues, to allow ourselves to be human, to hurt, to grieve, and to be supported. We may hate to show weakness, but in showing that weakness, we actually are revealing just how strong we are.


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