I saw a post earlier today about a woman who was fired for taking more than the allotted amount of time for a funeral. It seems her ongoing grief spilled over into work and the management believed they had given her all the time they needed.
I really understand both sides.
My mother was working in the dietary unit of a local hospital and was nearly fired for taking time to visit my brother in the hospital during what turned out to be the last week of his life. When she walked into work and said “I need next week off because my son died today” they completely changed their demeanor. They’d had too much experience with people who used excuses to avoid working.
Grief affects each of us in different ways and there is no cookie cutter approach to dealing with it in the workplace…at least not one that works. So how do we best manage it?
Good question. I’m stoic. It’s very likely you will never know when I am heart-broken or sick to my stomach with fear or facing a challenge that I wouldn’t wish on anyone else. I don’t seem very sympathetic a lot but it’s because I won’t permit myself to break down.
On the other hand there are some workplaces that are openly supportive and offer counseling – even just informally – for people who have faced crises and I think that’s great! It’s just not for me.
Maybe management’s grief expectations should be part of the employee hiring process. Employees would be clear how their bosses viewed dealing with personal issues. They could then decide (I know this isn’t probably a consideration in our current environment) if the company was right for them.
How do you deal with grief in the workplace?
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