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Spilling The (Personal) Beans

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Spilling The (Personal) Beans


Dear Cubicle Coach:
Although none of my colleagues knows it, I'm going through a divorce. I'm an emotional wreck at work, acting irritable and sobbing in the bathroom. Should I share what's going on or keep my problems to myself?

Dear Working Girl:
Couldn't you use a little daytime support? Much goodwill can be bought with a simple, "I'm sorry, but I've been going through some stuff lately. It doesn't excuse my behavior, but I'm hoping you'll cut me some slack." You don't have to share with everyone--perhaps someone you're close to, or even just the office town crier, who'll happily disseminate on your behalf. As regards the boss, unless you have a long-standing relationship, spare her the details and focus on logistics: "I may need to take some personal time soon. I'm divorcing my husband and have meetings with his scum-sucking lawyers." Be sure to explain how your work is going to get done (ultimately her real concern), à la "Debbie's agreed to cover for me every other Tuesday during the custody hearings."

And remember the Coach's wisdom: If you don't have baggage, it means you haven't traveled. Or, less eloquently: Everyone's got their shit.

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