Handling a family crisis

How to manage the stress while at work

Paula S. Katz | October 15, 2015

Q: I’m having a family crisis and it’s causing me huge stress. How should I handle this at work?

A: Don’t abandon work without explanation or a coverage plan. Discuss the situation immediately with your partners or work supervisor and work out a plan to cover clinical responsibilities while you tend to your family commitments.

Set a boundary for privacy, whether your wife filed for divorce or your son is thrown in jail for selling cocaine. Your partners don’t have to know your son was dealing drugs, for example. You could just say he got in trouble, is in jail and you have to bail him out. The important thing is to talk about it right away and plan to get clinical coverage for yourself.

If others have to do double coverage while you’re out, provide a written thank you to them once your emergency is over. Buy a bottle of wine or appropriate gift, too. And make sure to pay them back in coverage time when you return.

Response from Peter Moskowitz, MD, executive director, Center for Professional and Personal Renewal, Palo Alto, Calif.


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