Credit: “The Intern”
We’ve all done it. You had no sleep the night before, you’re busting your ass at work, and your boss lets you know that you’ve made a mistake on a project you’ve been pouring your blood and sweat into… that’s when you lose it. You know you shouldn’t, you think you can hold it back, you know this is ridiculous, but you can’t stop it. You just want to cry! It happens to the best and strongest of us, and maybe it’s time we stop viewing crying at work as a sign of weakness. So much of our lives are spent at work, and with the stress of work and our personal lives rendering their toll it’s only natural that there will be times when it’s all too much to handle.
There are also biological reasons that predispose women to crying at work. The first is due to normal monthly hormonal fluctuations, and unfortunately there’s nothing you can do about this other than ride them out knowing things will be better in a day or two. Aside from that there is also the biological disadvantage of having smaller tear ducts than men. This means it’s that much harder for women to stop those tears from rolling than it is for men.
Each work environment is different, but in general crying at work does not have to be a bad thing. Often times when I’ve cried at work it’s opened my eyes, and sometimes even my boss’s eyes, to just how much stress I was under and we were able to work out a solution or reprioritize assignments. Other times I’ve been in work environments where crying was a daily occurrence for many people. Eventually we realized that it’s not a good sign when your job makes you cry daily, but rather it was a cue that we needed to find a new work environment.
One of the best benefits of crying, is that it can let you move past what’s bothering you. Typically we cry when we are completely overloaded and paralyzed by stress, fear or any number of feelings. We may spend so much time repressing those feelings and the accompanying tears that we are unable to focus on anything else. By letting yourself acknowledge those feelings you may be able tackle them head on. I know I’ve had instances where I cried it out in my car and was able to walk back into work ready to move on knowing that I had let myself have my own pity party. It was surprisingly freeing. I let myself cry it out and then told myself, “That’ll do pig, that’ll do.”
Mostly, it’s important for us all to acknowledge that no one is immune to feeling overwhelmed or sad. Employees and supervisor alike will all have the urge to cry at one time or another, so let’s accept that it’s a (dare I say it) NORMAL part of the 21st century working world that we can use to our advantage.