A friend of mine works in an office with several other people. One of the department heads is a woman in her late 30s who is apparently involved in a stormy relationship. She is often on the phone with her on-off boyfriend, showing up late and teary-eyed after a fight, or rehashing their latest drama to anyone who will listen. This obviously interferes with her work performance, and undermines her authority while making her seem unstable. The people who work under her are constantly having to pick up the slack while she attends to her messy personal life.
Given my background in HR, I’m particularly familiar with and wary of situations like this. It’s common to share with co-workers about aspects of your personal life, but when your personal problems are taking over your career, it’s time for a reality check.
Avoid taking personal calls while you’re on company time, and switch off your mobile phone. Ask loved ones to call you only in the case of an emergency. Additionally, steer clear of social networking sites that might pull you into any personal drama. You can deal with that stuff when you’re off the clock. Do your best to come across as composed and professional on the job, and avoid oversharing about your personal life.
If things get to be too much, ask for a meeting with your supervisor or HR rep in which you can calmly explain the situation and perhaps arrange for some personal days. You want to make it clear that you are still invested in your career.