Crying at work. Have you ever done it? Have you seen others do it? How bad is it? …
I cried at work this week in a pretty embarrassing way, although the people I already like a lot were totally great about it and most people did their best to let me ignore it. Plot twist: I work with almost all men, but the person who brought out the tears was the only other woman in the room of ~20. Although it was really really just a completely screwed up situation, and it was more the situation than the person itself. But she absolutely did not help! … I’m basically mortified by it. I think my emotions were correct, just didn’t intend on displaying it!
I wonder how one practices reacting with less emotion. I suppose I could avoid going into known war zones when I’m on edge, but I’ve had no luck willing myself to respond calmly.
That’s a hard one. Personally, I am against crying at work in front of people and suggest that you apologize to whoever you cried in front of (assuming that we’re not talking about someone getting hurt or dying etc., which are socially acceptable reasons to cry at work) in a way that is both professional and slightly embarrassed in demeanor. It looks like ask a manager has similar advice on apologizing in a slightly embarrassed way across a number of different posts (so this is a common question).
My thought on this is that, yes, try your best to avoid it, but if it happens, its clearly out of your control. Sure I can be “against it” in theory (because it makes me super-uncomfortable!) but who cries at work in front of their colleagues on purpose? Its sometimes a physiologic response that you couldn’t hold back, like a burp.
Apologize self-deprecatingly and move on. I wouldn’t think badly of someone for doing it once, particularly if the situation was truly terrible. If its happening a LOT, and you can’t leave the job/situation, then figure out how to change your reaction (therapy!) because crying on a regular basis at work does come across unprofessional.
I have never out-and-out cried at work, but a little teary-eyed – yes. Sometimes due to personal stuff like a sick cat; sometimes due to rage and frustration caused by the work.
But sometimes it is that reflex thing, and oddly most likely to happen when I have a very *pleasant* exchange with somebody. It’s like little tears of happiness trying to escape. I am not a crier by nature and this particular manifestation always astonishes me.
Nowadays I make a point of reminding people that I am perimenopausal and not 100% stable. :-)
As to how to not cry at work. That’s probably going to be different for different people. For me, personally, because of my physiology, I got much better control of my emotional responses after I quit hormonal birth control and stopped eating refined carbs and sugar. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy helped a bit before then in graduate school (I automatically start deep breathing when stressed), but the eating more whole foods seemed really miraculous, probably because I wasn’t expecting that side effect. I also teach a really hard required math class and have pretty much eliminated student crying by forcing chocolate on students who start getting sniffles. Do not underestimate the power of chocolate. (Indeed, Willpower suggests eating something to replenish your willpower.)
#2 says: Haven’t we all cried at work? Step one: close office door. If no office door, hide out in bathroom stall. Most of us have done this. It’s embarrassing, but it happens, like farting in front of your boss’s boss or something. It’s biology.
Grumpy nation: Any advice for SP?