How Divorce Can Affect Your Career

Divorce can be a painfully difficult and emotionally exhausting experience for many. While most people immediately feel the effects on their personal life, few realize its broad influences when it comes to their professional lives.

A 2022 study published in the scientific journal Personnel Psychology analyzed divorced respondents and found that 39% of respondents reported that parting with their spouse positively affected their work. In contrast, 44% of respondents reported a negative impact on their careers. Keep reading to learn more about the details of these percentages.

Negative Impacts of Divorce

Lower Productivity & Job Performance

Divorce can have a significant impact on people. In the study, Carlson School of Management professors Connie Wanberg and Michelle Duffy paired with Oregon State University Assistant Professor Borbala Csillag found that people filing for divorce reported lower productivity and focus levels at work. Some participants shared that they felt more distracted or that they needed to take breaks to cry. Others experienced worry and felt sidetracked in work, resulting in mistakes and lower performance than usual.

The research also shows participants’ moods were more negative when it came to their jobs. Approximately 66% of negative divorce comments were specifically about harmful effects at work. This could be tied to other factors, such as overall stress before and during the process of getting divorced. Participants reported being prone to irritability and shortness with customers or coworkers. While it is natural to feel these emotions, struggling to manage these feelings on your own may be a sign to reach out for help. Talk to your doctor to see if you could benefit from therapy and/or medication.

Negative Emotions & Depression

Working during a divorce can be extremely challenging and take a toll on an individual's emotional well-being. Participants struggled to maintain their focus and productivity due to feeling overwhelmed with sadness, hopelessness, exhaustion, stress, and depression. Participants in the study reported feeling less motivated, numb, and having difficulty regulating emotions. From these reports, they appeared to be experiencing grief from their relationship loss. On severe levels, the divorce process led workers to feel emotionally drained and experience depression. One participant commented, “I still work as well as I can, but it feels a little hopeless.” Those who experienced grief and/or depression on great levels also changed or lost their jobs. One comment stated, “I would not have lost my job if it were not for the divorce and the stress.” The negative impact divorce has on an individual’s emotions can lead to depression and cause a domino effect of negativity such a losing a job. This study shows how common depression is amongst divorcees. However, seeking medical help is important before your health begins to negatively impact other areas of your life.

Positive Impacts of Divorce

Improvement Over Time

Despite the negative impacts of divorce stated above, divorcees’ job performance and mental health showed noticeable signs of improvement in the year following the completion of the divorce. Energy, motivation, and focus were reported to be renewed in respondents. This finding provides evidence that with time to process, heal, and take care of oneself, people going through major life events such as divorce can continue to thrive professionally even during troubling personal circumstances.

More Freedom

After exiting the dynamics of a draining or difficult relationship, some individuals refocused their energy on their respective careers and professional advancement. They took advantage of having more time on their hands to work towards their professional goals uninterrupted. Prior to leaving the relationship, some participants stated significant amounts of energy would be spent devotedly trying to keep it alive or restore balance. Additional respondents reported having more time to focus on work and improving performance and productivity as a result. Finally, others experienced amplified motivation on the job.

Divorce removed dysfunction from some participants’ lives, and they were able to focus on other aspects of their daily life such as self-improvement and furthering their education. One participant noted that, “Prior to the divorce I spent a lot of time and energy trying to maintain and fix the relationship and that took away from work. Now, it's easier and I can focus on the job more.” Another stated that “I think the divorce has liberated me and given me a reason to pursue success even more.”

Divorce affects people in different ways, both personally and professionally. Fortunately, this study demonstrates a trend of improving emotional states, motivation, and work success over time.

If you’re considering divorce or have been served papers, The Law Office of Dennis R. Vetrano, Jr., LLC can represent you in contested, high-net worth, or uncontested divorce. With over 75 years of collective legal experience, our attorneys are committed to delivering compassionate counsel and strong advocacy for our clients.

Call today at (845) 605-4330 or schedule your confidential consultation with us online.

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