Can Divorce Improve Job Performance?

Legendary hedge fund billionaire Paul Tudor Jones recently up controversy over comments he made in front of a University of Virginia panel that life events, including becoming a mother and divorce, are career-stunting “killers” for Wall Street traders.

His take on divorce? On the job, it’s an emotional distraction. Tudor Jones candidly admitted that whenever he gets wind that one of his hedge fund managers is going through a divorce, he immediately pulls his money from the account.

Sound a little harsh — and completely unfair? After public criticism over these comments and other assertions about a woman’s career in trading essential being “over” as soon as she has a baby, Jones tried to clarify. In statements to the Washington Post, he noted that he’s only referring to the rarified world of high finance trading.

“Macro trading requires a high degree of skill, focus and repetition,” Tudor Jones writes. “Life events, such as birth, divorce, death of a loved one and other emotional highs and lows are obstacles to success in this specific field of finance.”

Does his explanation make his comments any less off-base? As countless folks who have gone through a divorce can counter, divorce can many times improve job performance. Divorce as a boon to business? Here’s how:

No Arguments in the Wee Hours: The end of a marriage is typically fraught with tension, disagreements, and lots of lost sleep. Once you moved forward to divorce, and are living apart, it may be possible again to show up at work with a full night’s rest behind you.

Renewed Dedication: As you contemplate the future of your finances, you may realize how important your job is to supporting yourself and your family. Rather than shirk job duties, for many going through a divorce, or who are recently divorced, it’s a time to dig in and take on new responsibilities.

Improved Mood: Is there a spring in your step when you show up at the office every day? Are you more willing and able to come up with new and exciting ideas during meetings? When the divorce comes at the end of a long, painful few years, it’s easy to feel a renewed lease on life as you start your next chapter. Your boss may be amazed by your new attitude.

Better Decision Making: If there is anything divorce teaches you, it’s that the decisions we make can have a lasting, significant impact on our lives, and the lives of those we love. If you just emerged from divorce negotiations, you may be better than ever at counting to 10 before speaking, and counting even higher before agreeing to anything!

Truly, divorce can hold many silver linings, and improved focus and performance at work may be one of them. We can only hope Paul Tudor Jones someday gets the message.