They say, big girls don’t cry, or do they? We’ve all been there. The humiliating prickle of tears, the irresistible urge to sniffle, and the thought of feeling embarrassed. It’s true that we see crying at work as embarrassing and as a sign of being immature and weak. But a lot of people cry at work, especially professional women. So, what is exactly wrong with displaying emotions in the workplace? Perhaps nothing.
Even Sheryl Sandberg thinks it’s completely okay for women to cry at work
Facebook’s COO, Sheryl Sandberg admits that she herself has cried at work in the past and will still cry in the future. She stays honest about her strengths and weaknesses and encourages others to do the same. Sandberg’s advice runs a bit contrary to the notions of a fellow businesswoman Martha Stewart. Stewart warned a woman on The Apprentice for crying. She said, “Cry and you’re out of here. Women in business don’t cry my dear.” Sorry Martha, but Sandberg thinks they do, and that doesn’t get in the way of being successful.
After all, people do a lot of personal things while on the clock at their jobs. May it be drinking, pooping, or using Tinder during meetings; nothing is as feared as crying at work. But why is it such a taboo? Because weeping is considered as a sign of being weak and unprofessional, while also confirming the negative stereotypes that women face in the workplace. But crying at work is not always destroying your professional persona, sometimes it’s okay to shed some tears.
When is it okay to cry at work?
- When you care about your work:
Let me give you an example: Suppose you spent a lot of time and energy in making the project as good as it can get. But, it doesn’t end up well. So, obviously you’re hurt and you may burst into tears. In such situation, tears don’t show weakness, it shows how dedicated and passionate you are for your work.
- When everyone is upset:
Suppose everyone else is upset at work due to some reason, and people are crying and talking how sad they are. Having a poker face in such situation won’t make you look good. I’m not telling you to fake your tears, but showing your concern and expressing your emotions in the workplace may prove to be good.
- When your personal life is a mess:
You don’t need to control the waterworks when you are going through a tough time. It’s okay to cry when a family member has passed away or you’re getting divorced or your child is not well. You don’t need to show that you’re strong and professional in such situations.
Reasons why you shouldn’t be ashamed of crying at work:
- Crying won’t sabotage your career in any manner.
- Everyone has cried at work at some point in time.
- It takes energy to control your tears. That energy can be better utilized in something else.
- It doesn’t hurt anyone else at work, thus maintaining your work relationships. If you are angry or frustrated, instead of yelling at an intern, it is better to wipe off those tears.
- There’s nothing like the ‘right’ cry or the ‘wrong’ cry. It’s just an emotional outburst that every human being faces at some point in their careers.