Can I Tell People At Work

Hi Doctor Marion,

I am almost totally overwhelmed with having to be a caregiver for my father and work full time.  I feel like I want to tell my boss and maybe even a co-worker about what's going on, but I'm really scared to bring it up.  What should I do?

Barri in California, 52

Consider the following questions so you can individualize your situation, Barri.  Thinking about these answers will help you move forward. 

  • What is your problem or concern or special situation?
  • Does this issue relate to you alone, or is another person involved
  • Are you dealing with an emergency or a certain sense of immediacy?
  • Is it job related, or is it a private/personal matter?
  • How much time will it take to discuss the issue? 
  • Is it better to approach the issue over lunch or coffee or in a more relaxed environment?
  • Do you know your supervisor will enough to stop in his/her office, or is a request for an appointment required?  
  • Is your supervisor the right person to discuss this with or is the Human Resource Department better (or another department entirely)?

Sometimes when we’re unsure of how to present or discuss something, a little practice helps. This practice can be done in front of a mirror or with a friend or family member.  The more clear your thinking and emotions are regarding what concerns you, the more likely you are to get good results. 

And I want to be clear here: any problem that’s affecting you will eventually impact your job performance.  Wise businesses know that a happy employee is a productive employee, so gather your facts and go forward. I applaud your efforts.

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