I usually don't share details of my private life with my managers. However, I had to tell my new manager that I'm undergoing a long, time consuming and painful therapy, because I need time off work for it. I was surprised by his extreme attention and interest to the issue: he often asks me how things are going, he's very supportive with me and he has never complained about my schedule. It's also true that I bring my laptop home often, to recover lost time. Anyway, up to now he had words of praise for my job, very differently from my old managers who very rarely praised me for my job. I guess this is just work culture being different in different places.

During these holidays, something very bad happened and I now have also a serious personal issue, on top of the health issues (let's say something of comparable gravity to a divorce, to put the issue into context). I feel devastated, and depressed.

My manager will surely ask me about how my holidays were: I've always thought I shouldn't tell him anything, and only mention the issue if it starts affecting my work life. However, reading this answer, I was surprised to see that the general suggestion is to disclose the issue before it affects the work performance. In my country, the usual suggestion is not to share private life details at work, because they could be used against you. If it helps answering the question, I can disclose which country my manager resides in, but I'd rather not disclose my country's identity.

  • @JoeStrazzere thanks for the comment. I haven't felt like I should tell him everything, but I wanted to tell him about therapy because it would affect my schedule. I wasn't thinking about telling him abt the personal life issue, but the other answer (as well as a couple answers about health-related issues) suggest that you should disclose issues which are likely to impact productivity, before they do. If I understand correctly, the general advice seems to be that doing it later may be useless (because your career in that company is already compromised) or worse sound like an excuse. Commented Aug 27, 2017 at 13:25

1 Answer 1


General rule of thumb is keep your personal life and issues separate from work. Deal with personal problems privately.

There are many reasons for this, you can bring down morale with your dramas and make people feel they have to do something about situations they are not trained for among others.

Having said that, common personal issues like bereavements and suchlike that will affect your ability to turn up are another matter. But a manager is not an agony aunt to coach you through a divorce, there are professionals you can see about things like that.

  • I don't want my manager to coach me through this: it would be foolish. It's just that the answer I linked (as well as a couple others which concern health issues) point out that disclosing after my performance has been impacted may be a bad idea. I will consult professionals, of course, however even in that case I cannot be sure this won't affect my work performance in any way. Commented Aug 27, 2017 at 13:42
  • Everything affects your work performance if you let it. Involving your work is a bad idea is my advice, you don't have to take it.
    – Kilisi
    Commented Aug 27, 2017 at 13:45
  • 1
    I understand. I didn't want to be rude, and I thank you for your advice. Commented Aug 27, 2017 at 13:58

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