Trigger Warning… Unpopular Opinions.
The office is not the place to bring your emotions.
Are you saving babies? No? Did you just get fired? No? Think about the magnitude of the situation. You have my approval to cry when you get engaged, have a baby, buy a house, attend a funeral (you get it… all personal events and activities). You do NOT have permission to cry over fiscal reports, heavy workloads, and stressful clients. At least not in public.
When you cry you give away any power you may have had. Gone. Finito.
Feel the heat in your cheeks? Excuse Yourself. Put cold water on your face, drink some water, and give yourself a minute to breathe. Flush the tears down the toilet. Pull yourself together and make it look like you just had to pee.
If you are in a situation where you can’t walk away or leave the room, do your best to muster up all your strength and hold down the tears. Take a deep breath. If you don’t have to talk, don’t. Talking usually triggers all the emotions to flood out.
Think about the last time you cried at work. What happened? What was the series of events that got you there? How could you have prevented the escalation? Did you need to speak up sooner or maybe shut up sooner? Were you too tired? Was something going on at home?
Do you cry at work a lot? Maybe your office isn’t the right place for you – not because you can’t do the job but sometimes team structures just don’t work out and people don’t work well together. If you are being treated in a way that makes you cry frequently then you may want to evaluate your situation overall. By frequently, I mean more than twice a year. An unhealthy work environment is just that – unhealthy. If you are having problems at home and are struggling with your emotions (and have a feeling they might just tag along to work) make sure to let you close colleagues and boss know. It can be uncomfortable but it’s more uncomfortable to cry at work and have everyone think it’s because of something going on in the office.
When I started my career, it was a lot more demanding than I anticipated. I worked for an ad agency and all the work was time-sensitive and subjective. Details changed hourly and it was my job to hold down the fort. I remember multiple times working on a presentation until the wee hours of the night and skipping events and activities with friends and families so I could get my work done just to send it over to the client and have them respond with a comment like “I just don’t like it. Can you show me something else?” I just poured my heart and soul into this project and missed my niece’s first birthday where she smashed cake all over her face and looked adorable. But yes, we can show you something else.
I’m not big on tears. I never have been. It takes a lot to get me so worked up that I cry in front of people. There have been quite a few associates that I have had that were not as well equipped to keep back the tears. My best advice is not to commiserate with them but walk them to the bathroom, give them a tissue and a cold paper towel, and walk away. Then act like you never saw them cry. Don’t tell a soul.