Discussion Thread

  • 1.  Supporting a co-worker who is going through a difficult time

    Posted 12-04-2022 11:04 PM

    Working with someone who is going through a difficult time can be challenging. The types of situations I am thinking of could be a coworker who has suffered an illness or death in the family, had to undergo a surgery or serious medical procedure, or is simply new to the job and the area, and moved there by themselves. 

    Even if there is no evidence visible in the quality of their work that shows that they are struggling in some way, you may simply empathize with this person and wish to help. 

    What are some ways that you have offered support to a co-worker in the past? What advice do you have for others in a similar situation? To what degree is it appropriate to ask or inquire about things within their personal life? 

    Christopher Seigel P.E., M.ASCE
    Civil Engineer

  • 2.  RE: Supporting a co-worker who is going through a difficult time

    Posted 12-12-2022 10:35 AM
    Hi Chris,
    Thanks for writing on this subject. I think it's such an important topic of conversation.

    First of all, my condolences to you and any co-workers or others you may know who have experienced recent loss (whether that be someone in their family, their own personal health, old friends in moving to a new area).

    I think having a posture of openness to conversation is always good, and waiting for the person affected to bring it up first. Personal matters can be tough to talk about at work. Once someone has enough trust for another person and are in a safe place to share, they will open up. 

    A personal example I have is when my previous bosses lost their father. It was a huge loss. I often felt like there was nothing I could say into the situation. Sometimes that is okay. It's okay to just be there and to listen. It's okay to be silent. I think that's what I would want most if I went through such a loss. Someone who is just there for me and listens. And if they ask your opinion then that would be a good indication to share any comforting thoughts with them.

    Hope this is helpful for you,

    Philip Thomas, EIT, M.ASCE
    Structural Engineering

    Philip Thomas A.M.ASCE
    San Luis Obispo CA