How Divorce Affects Your Work

by James Walsh - Date: 2007-06-25 - Word Count: 670 Share This!

Behavioural psychologists and sociologists have attributed several reasons to this increase in broken marriages. Perhaps the greatest factor that has contributed to this increase is a steep reduction in the social stigma attached to a divorce. Followed by this factor is the fact that divorces are now fairly simple to obtain; experts observe that courts have no interest in forcing a couple desiring divorce to remain together, but instead place importance on a fair and clean separation, with careful attention paid to the needs of the couple's children, if any.
Most men going through divorce experience a change in their work routines, productivity and performance. Employers report that these effects are generally negative; however, there exist some men that seek recourse in their work and immerse themselves in it as a recourse to the emotional trauma they are experiencing. For those that experience negative effects, they are generally temporary, but can have a significant impact on an organisation's bottom line. In order to understand the reason behind this decline in performance and to examine the measures used to prevent or mitigate it, it is important to examine the common psychological effects of divorce on men.
It is fairly common for the parties involved in a divorce to seek counselling or therapy to help them through that difficult period in the lives. Thus, the psychological effects of divorce have been fairly well documented. For men, they may include some or all of the following: abnormal anger levels, a decreased feeling of self-worth, loneliness, a feeling of unfair persecution, mood swings, depression, intimacy issues, and sadness. In extreme cases, divorce may also lead to a dependency on narcotics or alcohol. If the depression developed due to the divorce is allowed to progress unchecked and untreated, it may lead to a catastrophic outcome such as a nervous breakdown or suicide.
While the psychological effects of divorce on men are well known, there exist several other tangible but less apparent effects that also impact on-the-job performance. A significant and increasing number of men are being granted custody of their children, particularly in cases in which the mother has psychological, drug or alcohol problems. In these cases, the man is suddenly transformed into the primary caregiver of the family in addition to his previous role of breadwinner; this can faze the most capable of men and prove to be too much of a burden. The manner in which assets are split between the couple and the amount of alimony that is granted to the woman can also have a significant effect on both the standard of living of the man as well as his on-the-job performance; if, for instance, alimony is granted as a fixed percentage of income, the man may subconsciously become averse to the idea of being promoted and earning more money because that would also mean a fatter alimony payment to his erstwhile spouse.
However, counsellors and psychotherapists report excellent results with a combination of medication, counselling and psychotherapy. As a result, several employers have begun offering employees undergoing divorce access to such resources in order to prevent the undesirable effect mentioned above manifesting in their employees' work. This function is usually triggered by ‘word of mouth', or after an intervention by a company's human resources department after a tangible and apparent reduction in an employee's performance. Some employers also report something as subtle as a ‘change in an employee's demeanour' as the triggering factor that leads to a gentle inquiry into any change in the employee's personal life; in several cases, divorce was mentioned as the underlying cause, and the employee was referred to mental health professionals to mitigate and reverse the negative effects the divorce was having on the employee's mental state.
Thus, while it is true that divorce has severe psychological effects on men that almost certainly spill over into the workplace, a divorce need not necessarily impact job performance, as there exist several measures, taken either by the employee or the organisation, that can be taken to mitigate these adverse effects.

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James Walsh is a freelance writer and copy editor. For more information on getting a Divorce see Your Article Search Directory : Find in Articles

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