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fullofhope

Performance at work suffering

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2018 was a very difficult year for me and my family.   My father was diagnosed with a terminal illness in late 2017 and passed 7 months later in Spring 2018. The day he died my mother-in-law was hospitalized and a few days later we found out she had stage 4 cancer and had a few months. She died 2 months later in Summer 2018. I took 1 month compassionate care leave to look after my father, 2 bereavements leaves and most of the year I was in a fog. it was very difficult to watch him suffer over several months before he passed away at home.  

 

I have a demanding career in a very large department, at work I put on a brave face for my staff and teams. My boss told me all year things were going well but towards the end of year he got feedback from people that I wasn't myself, to the point where my staff were getting away with bad behaviors and people didn't want to work with me nor my team. As a result my performance rating was the lowest performance rating that can be given to an employee. It is quite rare for such a low rating so this is very serious. I wasn't aware of these bad behaviors of my staff until end of year - and yes perhaps I missed this. A lot of people didn't know what I had been through as I am a private person. This is the first time I have received a low rating in my 20+ years of working, I usually get the highest rating. I know it is due to taking Compassionate care leave, 2 bereavement leaves due to the deaths of my father and mother-in-law and subsequent grieving.

I am now expected in 2019 to have an improvement by the end of Q1 2019. These things are work are making me even more depressed and anxious than my grieving is. I have no idea how I can improve my performance, become my old self within a few months.

Should I expect some compassion in the workplace? When I did ask my boss about compassion in the workplace for someone going through a life event, he didn't really answer, he said that I needed to open up more to co-workers, I should go to them and talk to them, ask for advice and help. That way people would have know what was going on with me, he was implying that maybe they would not have complained or would have offered to help me. I am really hurt and embarrassed that my boss and leadership team didn't support me and put my rating so low when they know what I have been through. Clearly based on my review, you have to perform not matter what you are dealing with. I love my job and company, I have been there almost 9 years and I don't want to leave. I am going to see my doctor, maybe this is depression or anxiety. Would do you recommend I do next at my job? Just try to do better? Ask my boss for some accommodations? I feel so lost and worried I am going to loss my job.

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51 minutes ago, fullofhope said:

When I did ask my boss about compassion in the workplace for someone going through a life event, he didn't really answer, he said that I needed to open up more to co-workers, I should go to them and talk to them, ask for advice and help. That way people would have know what was going on with me, he was implying that maybe they would not have complained or would have offered to help me.

My dear, I am so sorry for the significant losses you've endured, and my heart reaches out to you in your pain. I don't know what policies are in place at your work place regarding support for bereaved employees, but given your boss's response to your query about compassion, I do believe that he gave you some good advice. As you have discovered, it is difficult, if not impossible, for us to hide our grief, because if we don't acknowledge it and find healthy ways to manage it, it can come out in every which-way but straight, and oftentimes in ways that we cannot control. Far better to let your co-workers know what you're going through and work with them to find ways they can help. In that sense, I must agree with what your boss told you: that you need to open up more to your co-workers and ask for their support and help. You can explain that you know you are not at your best right now, but that you are doing all you can to take care of yourself and to find healthy ways to get through this difficult time so that you'll be back up to speed at work, as soon as possible. (You might ask to have one of your co-workers assigned to monitor your work for a time, just to make sure nothing falls through the cracks.) Your boss is responsible to the company, or to whomever he reports, to see that the work gets done, and (however clumsily he may have conveyed it to you) he is relying on you to figure out how to make that happen. He recognizes that it is your co-workers who are in the best position to help you get done whatever work has been assigned to you.

I invite you to read some articles listed on this page, as I hope they will give you some ideas: Grief at Work.

See especially 

How to Manage Grief At Work (Article by Lisa Evans)

I'm Grieving And I'm At Work (Article from The Last Post Blog)

3 Important Tips for Grieving at Work

When Bereavement Leave Runs Out: going back to work after a death

On this page you'll also find some articles that you may want to print out for your boss and co-workers to read. See, for example, How to Handle and Help With Workplace Grief -
A guide for managers and coworkers on navigating the tough transitions stemming from loss by Sloane Davidson.

Again, I'm so sorry for your losses, and I'm so sorry for the reasons that brought you here ~ but I am pleased that you've found your way to us. ❤️

 

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I agree with the advice given by Marty.  Your boss did make a good point.  People can't help what they don't know about, it's important to communicate with them what is going on and ask for help, most people will respond to that positively.  However, I grew up in the era, and indeed was trained to think that personal and business are kept separate.  And that is good to a point, we don't want our personal life to interfere with our work life, however, when it comes to grief, we can't pigeonhole it that well.  At least I sure can't.  Grief affects everything, including job performance.  When I lost my husband, I had an honest talk with my boss before coming back to work, I told him I was concerned about making mistakes because my brain wasn't as usual, and I asked him to double check my work for a while.  He was very agreeable and helpful and did so in a non-intrusive way.  He even had someone who had suffered a loss years before speak to the other employees about what to expect and how to respond.  They were all wonderful!  Unfortunately it was the beginning of the recession and that job went down in the ensuing months.  :(  My next place was horrible and I ended up retiring seven years later.

I hope as your brain begins to settle in a little closer to its previous state that your ratings will come back up but if it continues to affect your performance, you might want to consider a less stressful job until you feel you can manage it.  This is such a hard thing to go through and I'm very sorry you find yourself in this situation.  It's one of the by-products of grief but if we can lessen its effects by letting people know what they can do to help us, it can be a win-win for all.  God luck to you!

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