To tell my boss I'm having a hard time in my personal life?

(14 Posts)
NostalgicOne Tue 13-May-14 13:56:50

Just so she knows and can take this into account if ever needed. Does that sound like a bad idea to you? She is a very kind, supportive boss and I am definitely not looking for promotion in the foreseeable future so it couldn't jeopardise that.

pointythings Tue 13-May-14 14:03:32

It depends on your boss, on the team and on what kind of management relationship you have. Do you have monthly catch-up meetings with her where you discuss your work progress, what you have in the pipeline, your training and your wellbeing at work? If so, that's the forum to raise this.

If you don't have this kind of relationship it's a bit trickier and depends on how you think she will respond.

FWIW my boss knows about all the things in my home life because they might literally take me away overseas at a moment's notice (father ill with Parkinsons and dementia, mother sole carer, crisis very possible). We have agreed a crisis plan - perhaps this is a good track to take as in: 'this is what is happening in my life, this is the impact it may have, how can we plan to minimise the effects?'

Broadly speaking I think it is a good thing to be open with a trusted boss, it shows commitment, but you can never predict how someone will react.

I'm a manager, and I find it much better if my team have a quiet word to let me know things like that, rather than it to come along suddenly, or for me to wonder why they seem a bit distracted or have to take urgent phone calls. So, as long as you find her approachable normally, I would say yes, let her know.

NostalgicOne Tue 13-May-14 14:56:12

Two very thoughtful replies. Thank you.

Thurlow Tue 13-May-14 15:00:04

A lot depends on what the problem is and what your boss is like but I told mine when something very difficult was happening in my personal life. We had a good relationship and I wanted to be honest with her and give her some warning - but equally I trusted her and knew that she would then be understanding and cut me some slack if I needed it.

ManWithNoName Tue 13-May-14 15:02:47

Rather than just going in for a 'woe is me' sort of chat. I would think of the really practical things you might need some help with.

Is there likely to be times you may need to leave work early. arrive late, how often? Are you willing to work late or arrive early to compensate? Do you need to take holiday at short notice, have unpaid leave? If it is bereavement or taking care of a sick relative or if you are the parent of a young child you may have statutory rights.

Its more about asking for some flexibility and having an agreed plan that both sides are happy with.

My personal view is that you should ask for a meeting, take notes, explain the situation and then write a formal letter afterwards setting out what you said and what was agreed by you and your manager. Send a copy to HR for your personnel file. I say this as managers and HR have a nasty habit of forgetting informal agreements if circumstances change.

WipsGlitter Tue 13-May-14 15:03:35

I agree it depends on what the problem is and if you think it is likely to impact on (a) being able to come to work (b) the quality / level of your work (c) if it is a temporary problem or a long term one.

ManWithNoName Tue 13-May-14 15:06:29

Oh and keep a very careful record of time you take off, arrival and leaving times.

If it is likely your performance will dip say because of bereavement or an illness or a matter that is causing you severe stress I would ask for a review now of your performance to date and a new set of targets to be set taking account of the issue you are facing.

Again write all this down. Take careful notes, put everything in writing. If you get to work early/late or leave early/late switch your computer on/off as that will log you as being in the building.

Bue Tue 13-May-14 15:06:34

If she is kind and supportive, and you feel she should know, then yes. People pick up on things in the work environment. In my last job it was my boss going through a difficult time (separation and subsequent divorce) and I could tell something was wrong but didn't know what. I appreciated it when we went for a coffee and he used the opportunity to explain - I think it also helped him to not feel that he had to hide everything at work.

NostalgicOne Tue 13-May-14 15:10:39

Thanks. That's given me lots to think about actually. I don't need any time off or anything. It's purely about her having an explanation for me possibly seeming distracted. I wouldn't want her wondering and thinking it's lack of commitment to the job because it's definitely not that. Also, she has a very caring, compassionate side and I could really use some of that right now.

I absolutely absolutely advise against it.

I thought I had a nice relationship with my boss. Told her quite a bit, she told me stuff. Thought she was being really understanding yada yad.

It didn't turn out well.

redexpat Tue 13-May-14 15:24:07

Well I've had it both ways. I didn't tell my boss and she demanded to know what was wrong, and was fabulously supportive. At another job I told my boss and he turned into an unsupportive arse. Because of him I am now very very wary about telling superiors anythning.

Icelollycraving Tue 13-May-14 16:03:03

I think it's on a need to know basis. If you're suffering from dv,seriously ill etc then yes,rowing with your husband no.

Andro Tue 13-May-14 16:56:16

For something major then yes, as a boss I would appreciate knowing. Having prior warning means I can put support in place/prepare for a possible absence at short or no notice/preempt any automated reviews or disciplinary actions/refer to occ health etc. As a general rule it make it easier for everyone concerned when as much prep as possible is in place - for me because I'm not blindsided, for the person with problems because it's one stress factor that has been reduced/eliminated.

My staff make my division the brilliant place it is...I look after them!

Unfortunately not all bosses are the same so you'll need to make a judgement call.

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