My Co-workers Don't Understand

Most of the people I work with are younger than me and have no idea what it’s like to care for your parents.  And I’m having a hard time with one co-worker who gives me a lot of grief when I have to leave early some days.  What should I do?

Pete in Texas, 47

Working caregivers often find themselves shoulder to shoulder with fellow employees who have no idea what it is like to be a caregiver.  In order to decrease potential misunderstandings and ensure a smooth working environment, it’s OK to talk about your caregiving challenges with co-workers.  Don’t be afraid of being stigmatized or ostracized.  As many of you know, almost everyone faces caregiving at some point in their life.  Opening up lines of communication usually results in a more positive outcome than just being angry with co-workers who don’t understand your situation.

Working caregivers also often have to deal with peer pressure at work.  It can manifest itself in so many ways.  Ask yourself if you’re honestly doing your very best on the job.  Are you letting your caregiving responsibilities interfere with performance.  If everything is in order, face the peer pressure head on immediately.  Ask whoever the source of the peer pressure is, “What is the issue and how can we correct it right away?” It’s best to get specific and handle it immediately so things don’t snowball any further.

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