Whether you work for others at a company or you’re in your own business, there’s always a chance for something unexpected to bump you from your career’s current path. Sometimes it’s something out of your control — poor management by superiors, staff layoffs, decisions made by third-party partners, and so on. However, some factors are within your control. And ignoring them in the hopes that they’ll work themselves out isn’t an effective strategy. That sort of thinking comes from the belief that work and your career is the most important thing in your life, which is difficult to unlearn. While you might be used to compartmentalizing work and personal challenges so they don’t interfere with each other, some of these issues can cause extensive damage if left unaddressed — to your career, your personal life, your relationships, and your well-being.
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Trouble in Your Family or Support Network
Some employers are good at respecting that family is a higher priority than work for many people. Unfortunately, not all do. And if you’re running your own business, you’re in charge of setting the boundaries that protect your family time.
“Family” doesn’t just mean spouses, children, or other relatives. It can be roommates, close friends, or even pets. If you’re more solitary, though, I’d count your me-time as family time. Whoever and wherever you get your emotional support from, in this case, counts as “family.”
And when there’s a problem in that support network, the effects can bleed into different parts of your life. Don’t think of it as an issue that’s making you take time away from work. Giving your full attention to an issue that affects you and others deeply is a kindness to both you and them.
Not all legal troubles are equal, and not all have an effect on your career. Forgetting to pay a few traffic violations probably won’t affect your job… unless your job requires you to drive. Then your car could get booted and towed to an impound lot, and you’re unable to work until you get your car back.
Of course, bigger brushes with the law can have a bigger impact on your career and should obviously be avoided. Your employer can fire you, future employers can decline your job applications, and potential customers or clients could avoid your business. The possible consequences on your personal life are just as obvious. So stay on the right side of the law, and if you end up involved in legal issues where you’re not at fault, take time off work to see it handled properly.
Another obvious place you don’t want to let things go untreated for long periods of time: your health. Both physical and mental health issues take a higher priority than your work. Whether it’s a temporary situation like a minor hand injury that can disrupt your work or a chronic condition that prevents you from sitting comfortably for long periods of time, you need to take care of yourself. Put aside the fear of missing out or falling behind and take the time you need to get yourself well again.
Unhealthy Coping Mechanisms
Unfortunately, we can all lean on unhealthy coping mechanisms to deal with these issues from time to time. Sometimes we use dangerous punishment and reward systems with food, alcohol, or shopping. Maybe it takes the form of lashing out at your support network or engaging in a cycle of negative self-talk.
The important thing here is to remember there are resources to help us find better ways to cope with our issues. Reach out to a friend or trusted confidante. Look for therapists or sober living programs in your area. Whatever you need to meet the challenges of your situation.
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