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), 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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