By | Nell Wulfhart | www.themuse.com
Whether you’re going through a breakup, grieving a lost pet, or dealing with something even more serious, personal problems don’t always go away when you’re at work. When you’ve got something on your mind, it can affect your mood, your attention span, and (unsurprisingly) your performance.
Should you share your personal issues with your boss, though?
There are plenty of factors to take into consideration before sharing something intimate with your manager—including whether the issue is taking a toll on your work, what kind of personality your boss has, and whether they can help you. Not all problems belong in the workplace, but there are times when being open can benefit you—and your boss.
Here’s what you should ask yourself to help you decide whether and when to tell them.
1. Is There Something You Need at Work?
Maybe you need a lighter workload or a more private workspace where you can avoid being around other people for a bit. It’s worth telling your manager about your personal problem if there’s something you need at work—but you have to know specifically what you’re asking for. So think through whatever accommodations or requests you need before you open up the conversation.
On the other hand, if there’s nothing tangible that would help you or you’re not clear on what that might be, hold back. You don’t want to treat them like a close friend you’re venting to—better to spill the beans only if you have a (realistic) end goal.
2. Is There Something Your Boss Can Do About It?
After deciding what you may need as a result of your personal issue, you have to figure out if it’s something your boss can actually help you with. Does your boss have the power to give you more time off, cut you some slack on a project, or temporarily reassign some of your work to someone else? If so, then bring up your dilemma to them.
But don’t waste capital on asking for something you know they can’t provide. If your boss doesn’t have the ability to make changes that would make things easier for you, there’s probably little point in telling them what’s going on.