...to the best of us. It’s that mounting painful stone forming in your throat when your colleague throws you under the bus (UGH). It’s when your eyes well up when you’re going on three weeks straight of 17-plus-hour days and exhaustion and stress take over. It’s the unexpected passing of your pooch. Shedding a tear (or more) can, every once in awhile, be hard to avoid at work. But it can also be embarrassing and awkward.
What’s so wrong with crying at work? Doesn’t it make us human? While it never feels great, crying at the office doesn’t always have terrible results and, for the most part, probably isn’t worth stressing out over (making a big deal of the tears—in your own head or to your boss or colleagues will probably only make things worse). Here’s how it affects the power dynamics of work life and how to deal with any anxiety after the tears.
Crying Can Be Good
When you’re spending most of your waking hours at your office and your colleagues have gone from strangers to best friends at unprecedented speeds, it’s natural to let your guard down. There’s nothing wrong with that as long as your tears are a product of your investment into your job. When you care deeply about your work and your personal growth, it’s normal to show a bit of emotion. And your colleagues and boss might actually appreciate you for it.
Many high-powered lady bosses have cried in the workplace and look where they are now.
But It Can Also Be Inappropriate
If you’re a blubbering mess because of some inconsequential event that occurred at the office, this reaction could come off as immature. Be wary. Evaluate what it is you’re really upset about and if it warrants such a reaction.
Prevention is Key
The key is to stop your crying before it starts. We get it! Take a few deep breaths and try to change your focus. Think about kittens and puppies—anything to get your mind off of what’s bothering you. If you can’t help yourself, try to go for a walk to get some fresh air or to the restroom for a moment alone to regroup. Freshen up and get back out there. You’ve got this.
The Next Day
If the above preventative measures don’t work and you’re embarrassed, just forget about it. As long as whatever issue that caused your tears has been resolved, there is no need to wallow in yesterday’s cry. The sooner you leave it behind you, the sooner everyone else will.
Just remember that you’re not the only one who has ever cried in the workplace and, well, you won’t be the last! So don’t sweat it.