Divorce can leave you feeling as if you got hit by a hurricane.
You can walk away from a marriage that was long or short feeling torn, scattered, depressed, hopeless, afraid and what have you. Although, don’t be surprised if you also walk away from divorce feeling great, hopeful and focused! You most likely will feel a mix of the two spectrums: elated and afraid. No matter where you fall, there is one area of your life that can really lift you up after divorce: your workplace and career. While your job can indeed suffer as you go through the divorce, it can also be the place where you can find solace and yourself again as you learn whom the “Ms.” is after marriage.
You can’t control how the cards played out in court necessarily. You can’t control a difficult and abusive ex. You can’t control everything—but you can control how you show up to work and get the job done. You can put in effort. You can focus. You can put your heart into your work and see results.
You have control, to an extent, over your work and career path. This can be really inspiring and bring you hope when you’re feeling, perhaps, not so hopeful about love or inspired by your past.
This control over your career and work can feel really stabilizing, too, when you’re feeling unstable after your former married life is over, for good.
With a show of hands, many of us can say that our divorces impacted us at work. But the bottom line always was, “Do the work, or lose your job.”
You can leave your personal worries behind for your workday and instead, put your eggs into your “work basket,” in order to be successful. You can turn off the email, text and ringer alerts. You can ignore social media. You can forget those things and put your mind to the work task at hand. And simply put, if you don’t, you risk losing your job and not getting paid.
Consider showing up to work each day as permission to put aside those difficult emotions for your eight hour or so workday. Tell yourself, “I will worry about or feel sad about whatever it is that’s bothering me at six o’clock tonight, but not now.”
After a divorce, you can literally lose everything—or close to it. But once you’ve lost everything, you really have nothing left to lose. With this relative feeling of freedom, you can really take risks and chances at work. You can change careers, make changes or push forward with your ideas in ways you haven’t before. If you can survive divorce, you can survive so much…like taking chances at work! Sometimes when you’re down and out, it leaves you with so much room, time and vision to see unique paths “up.” It’s not unusual for many women to make career changes or take chances after a divorce. It can be incredibly empowering and life changing.
Unless you switched jobs, work can be your one place that’s still your “norm.” After divorce, you’ve got a whole bunch of newness and changes in your life…a whole bunch of “new norms.” It’s nice to have that one constant in your life: work.
If you’re co-parenting, those days and nights alone can be tough to adjust to, so it’s really nice to throw yourself into your work to stay distracted. In fact, your bad marriage may have been such bad mojo for you that once it’s over, you might find that your work performance increases. The energy and time you once spent saving your bad marriage can now be spent on your career—whether it’s rocking it at work, going back to school to advance yourself or pushing your boss for a raise. All of that once frenetic energy into saving and then, ending your marriage is now free for you to use positively, for yourself, your work and of course, your kids.
It’s not uncommon for women to share with me how their former spouses weren’t supportive of their careers. I know that was something I dealt with. When your bad marriage is over, many women feel free to take chances that they never could before. It’s like they are finally able to be themselves. If this is you, your career can really be a place of happiness and hope. It can be a place in which you find yourself again after a bad and toxic marriage is over and done with.
Consider your divorce a chance at rewriting your story. At turning the page. At changing the ending. Your life may not be exactly how you want it to be today, but it can be better tomorrow and the next day, and the next. Keep moving forward even if you can only do so by an inch. Eventually, you’ll get to where you need to go!
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