Never Quit Your Job during Divorce and More Career Advice
If you're going through a divorce, it's important to stay focused on setting your future up for the best possible success, especially if you have children. Money is a big part of that. Ensuring you begin your next chapter on the best foot forward includes maintaining your income and the ability to provide for your family and future. Read on for advice on how to secure your financial future.
Work-related things to avoid during divorce
Divorce is tough. At times, you may feel your life is spinning out of control. But there are some things you can control – and one of those is your job. Here are some work-related things to avoid during divorce.
Quitting your job
There are many reasons to keep your job right now, even if you feel overwhelmed and ready to run out the door.
Stability: During this time of upheaval, you need stability. Quitting right now would likely create more stress and uncertainty when you need to focus on moving forward.
Support: Your job is a source of financial support as well as a distraction from the stress of your personal life.
Security: Quitting your job could negatively impact your divorce proceedings. If you’re the primary breadwinner, it could place your spouse and children in a difficult position financially. It could also be seen as an act of abandonment or desperation, which could damage your case in court.
Failing to set boundaries between your work and personal life
Taking care of yourself and making time for personal concerns is essential right now, and it may require you to “compartmentalize” your divorce stress so you can work on healing from your divorce in your personal time and focus on work while you’re at work.
Avoid discussing your divorce with co-workers. It is not their business, and they may not understand what you’re going through, which could ultimately bias them against you.
Putting in too much overtime
Working too much (perhaps as a form of “escape”) could lead to burnout and make you less effective on the job. It’s always important to maintain a good work-life balance, but it’s even more important right now. Don’t clock in so many hours that you neglect your physical and mental health. Taking time away from work for yourself can actually help you be more productive at work.
Not reporting all sources of income in your disclosures
You must be truthful and transparent about all of your finances during divorce. Hiding or misrepresenting sources of income could lead to serious consequences, including fines. If you are caught hiding income, your divorce proceedings could be delayed or even canceled. You might even be ordered to pay your spouse's legal fees.
Beginning an office romance
You may feel tempted to start a relationship with someone at work during your divorce. This is usually not a good idea. Office romances can lead to complications and distractions on the job. If the relationship ends, it can be difficult to maintain a professional relationship with the other person. Dating before your divorce is finalized could also add fuel to the fire in your divorce negotiations.
Suggested reading: The Truth about Dating before Your Divorce is Final
Smart work-related things to do during your divorce
Just as there are things to avoid at work during your divorce, there are also some smart things you can do. Here are some ideas.
Update your resume
As your new life evolves, you may find yourself wanting or needing a new job. Thinking about your professional future is a great way to stay hopeful about the chapters of your life to come. Updating your resume is one way to stay on track and feel ready for change.
It’ll also help boost your confidence. A major life change such as divorce can be challenging, but your career is something you can control – and a little “bragging” about yourself on paper can help you feel good about yourself.
Learn new skills
Continue learning new skills. This gives your brain a break from stressing about the divorce while also making you more marketable. Maybe you’ll attend a work-related training. Maybe you’ll take salsa dancing lessons. Whatever you do to enhance yourself and your well-being can translate to positive career changes later.
Even if you’re not currently looking for a job, maintain any professional networks you have, whether they’re in-person relationships or virtual connections through websites like LinkedIn. These networks can be helpful if you need career advice or recommendations during or after your divorce.
Are you happy with your job? Will your current income be enough to support you and your children? If your job makes you unhappy or anxious about your financial future, now may be the time to look for something new.
Suggested reading: How Does Divorce Financial Planning Work?
FAQ about jobs and work during divorce
What if I get fired or laid off during my divorce?
First, try to stay positive and upbeat, even when things are tough. Find ways to do this, such as journaling, exercising, joining a support group, participating in therapy, or even just listening to some uplifting music. Positive energy and motivation can help carry you through this difficult time.
Second, carve out some time to ponder your next steps. Depending on your situation, it might be a good idea to meet with a career counselor, unemployment lawyer, or life coach to get some guidance.
Should I tell my boss I’m getting a divorce?
This is a personal decision. Some people feel the need to disclose this information to maintain trust and transparency in the workplace. Others worry that their boss would think less of them or see them as unstable. Ultimately, it’s up to you to judge what’s best for you and your career.
If you choose to tell your boss, be prepared for potential reactions. Your boss may be supportive and understanding, or they may be less sympathetic. If you decide not to tell your boss, take steps to protect yourself. First, make sure you have a solid support system at home and at work. Second, keep your personal life separate from your professional life as much as possible. Third, if the situation becomes too difficult to handle, consider talking to your boss about finding a more flexible work arrangement.
I was a homemaker. How can I get a job with no work experience after divorce?
Although you may not have any recent office experience, it’s likely that you would still bring skills to the table that employers would value.
- Focus on your strengths and experiences. Update your resume with these items, and highlight them in your job applications and interviews.
- Network with friends and family members who may be able to help you find a job.
What if my ex-spouse quits or loses their job during or immediately after our divorce?
Here are a few things to keep in mind:
- You are not responsible for your spouse's job status. You are only responsible for your own actions.
- Don't panic. Take care of yourself emotionally and physically.
- If appropriate, communicate with your spouse, and show support. Losing a job is a grueling experience.
- If you were relying on them for financial support, explore your options for employment or accessing other sources of income.