Post # 1
In the last couple of months I’ve managed to cry TWICE at work when dealing with conflict with my boss. We have a very close working relationship and she is understanding (at least, she vocalizes that she is) but I can’t stop beating myself up for it.
I don’t know why my tear ducts have been overactive lately (I *am* dealing with a lot of personal stress, but I don’t think it is appropriate to share at work) and I don’t want to give the impression that I can’t be a professional when hearing things I don’t necessarily like.
Help me out bees: Do you have any advice/stories to share? Can you relate? Am I a big weenie?
Post # 2
Ohh I feel you! I hate crying at work. I cry when other people cry, so it’s not usually even my fault!
I don’t have any good tips. I don’t get teary on work related stuff very often, usually it’s personal stress and PMS. I find that people noticing and asking about it makes it sooo much worse! “Are you okay?” “What happened?”. Shhhh! Can’t you see I’m trying to compose myself?! Maybe ask your boss if she can not mention it? Haha
I can usually hold it together long enough to make it outside for a walk to settle myself.
Post # 3
I haven’t cried at work, but if something happened where I felt like I was going to, I would shut the door to my office and do it (or if I didn’t have my own office, I’d go to my car).
Getting frustrated to the point of tears is a natural thing and nothing to inherently be ashamed of — and I for one can understand how in certain situations, certain people can be pushed to that edge. But, unfortunately, there are many people out there who see it as unprofessional or a sign that you can’t handle it when the going gets tough, so in the workplace, I would do my best to try and get a thicker skin or at least keep tears to myself (and my FI/close friends, for venting purposes!).
Post # 4
Oh man, yeah I hate that.
In my last job I think I cried once at work, but it was for something not work-related. (I’m not sure if that’s better or worse?!)
I closed the door to my office and actually called my mom to vent to her about it. My boss dropped in just to make sure I was okay, but she and I were pretty close and I’ve seen her cry when talking to me about personal stuff at work a few times, so she’s pretty understanding about that kind of stuff.
I just hate it because like pink.lemonade
I hate when people ask about it/if I’m okay. When I’m that upset I ususally DO NOT wanna talk about it except to maybe a couple of select people.
Post # 5
Oh my gosh, right? Once someone acknowledges it, it’s all over for me. I’m one of those people where if someone gives me a hug or tries to reassure me, I just cry harder. Its the worst!
Post # 6
Tina Fey talks about the power of crying in Bossypants. It’s freaks people out that they upset someone so much. I can’t pull that off. I feign stomach problems and hide in the bathroom for a couple minutes if I really have to let a few tears go and fix myself back up. People are weird about crying but understand tummy issues.
Post # 7
“Getting frustrated to the point of tears is a natural thing and nothing to inherently be ashamed of”
Thank you. I keep feeling like something is wrong with me, so it is really helpful to hear this said (typed?) out loud.
We don’t have offices – but I could probably excuse myself and go to the restroom if I needed to. I’m just not sure how to do it when I’m in the middle of a conversation without drawing attention to the fact that I’m about to get all emotional. (Hopefully this doesn’t become a habit, but I know for a fact that there are some people who would react very negatively to any kind of emotional response and I would like to this happening with them at all costs.)
Any tips you have for getting thicker skin would be welcome! In my personal life I’m pretty independent and handle conflict well, so I’m unsure why I have this issue at work.
Post # 9
I’ll have to check that out! I don’t think that crying is bad in every situation, but I worry that if it happens at the office I’ll get labeled as the stereotypical “emotional woman,” and singlehandedly let down every women’s rights crusader, ever. (I’m exaggerating, but you get my point!)
I may have to take a leaf out of your book and feign tummy issues. You know, for the cause. 🙂
Post # 11
What helps me deal with/get over work stresses is trying to remember that when one of my bosses/coworkers snap at me, it isn’t because of me as a person — it is usually because they themselves are stressed/trying to meet deadlines/frustrated with their own personal and work issues, etc.
I think we tend to overemphasize how much other people think of us. Sometimes it’s tempting to think, “Oh my god, so-and-so got mad at me, he’s probably seething and in there right now telling everyone in our department how much I suck! How can I ever work with him again, he’ll hate me forever!” But in reality, yeah, he got pissed in the moment about X thing that you did/didn’t do, but that’s that. He probably forgot about it 7.4 minutes later and moved on to the next crisis of the day that he’s dealing with. So with that in mind, I’ve taught myself to similarly let things go.
I also try to take an objective stance and give them the benefit of the doubt when I can. So-and-so got pissed because I did something X way instead of Y way. But wait, he did tell me when I started the project to confirm my approach with him first and I should have checked with him that X way would be ok. Or, he told me on our last project that he preferred Y way, and I had forgotten. I’m not saying that you should find ways to blame yourself for everything (there are definitely things that come up that will not even be your fault at all), but there are certainly situations where I’ve recognized that yes, they had a right to be annoyed with me and even if they could have handled it more tactfully, I get their point. And I log it in my “something I can improve upon for next time” book.
And for those situations where you know you didn’t do anything wrong and so-and-so is just being a total jackass, it’s cool to be frustrated as fuck with them for taking it out on you, but then just tell yourself, “I did my job and I did it well. It’s not my problem that they’re having a bad day. I’ll just steer clear of them for awhile and keep doing the great job I’m doing.”
Anyway, good luck. It’s really all about how you choose to view the situation. Take a deep breath and try to think before your react. It takes some training, but with time it gets better.
Post # 12
This is amazing advice. Thank you so much. 🙂
Post # 13
I have cried quite a few times at work. I usually hold it out till it is lunch or the end of the day. And then I let it all out.
Post # 14
I’ve been very lucky that while at work I go into problem-solving business mode. NOTHING makes me cry at work. Stress building up from all aspects of life sometimes get to me at home, but not at work. Unfortunately, while tears are sometimes a natural response for some people to stress or anger, I don’t feel it is appropriate to allow anyone to see you cry at work. The emotion or feeling may be there, but the outward show of it is inappropriate. Likewise, many men get angry when they are criticized or under stress. That feeling is there, but it would be just as inappropriate for them to punch a wall or shout or to show their anger outwardly.
And I very much agree with Grid, that moderating one’s emotional responses in the work setting takes time and practice. Realistically, a person can only go through a similar situation so many times before it no longer affects them emotionally. It is draining and unsustainable to have such a powerful response to workplace stress, and I think a person naturally learns not to take things personally or to logically address things instead of having an emotional response.
Post # 15
- Wedding: May 2015 - St Peter\'s Church, East Maitland, and Bella Vista, Newcastle
I tend to get mad rather than upset, but I’ve cried at work a couple of times. I used to be a stage manager in a professional theatre company, and was working on a particularly complicated musical. We had a piece of scenery which was a very large wardrobe rack which was actually two racks joined together (hinged like a trailer on your car) with wig blocks mounted on the top complete with huge hats and wigs. It was unmanageable unless you had three people manoeuvering the damn thing and even then it was tricky, and the set designer refused to contemplate reducing the size of it. The first scene change that involved this thing was difficult; we rehearsed it ELEVEN times, with ever increasing frustration, and it just was not going to work. I said to the designer “we have to do something about this, we’ve tried everything we can think of and it’s not working and won’t work with it like this” and he turned around and said to me “well, it’s difficult, you’ll just have to practise.” I walked away from him into the scenery dock and burst into tears – combination of frustration and being upset that he thought my crew and I were incompetent. Fortunately the musical director came and found me howling in the dock, hugged me, told me it wasn’t my fault, then the director threw a fit at the designer and he had to cut it down!
The second episode was when I got a twenty minute telling off from a (different) director over the phone for something that I actually had had nothing to do with. Couldn’t get a word in edgeways to tell him it was nothing to do with me – he hung up and there was no stopping the tears as it hadn’t just been about whatever it was, but he’d got personal as well. In that case my boss phoned him (after calling me half an hour later when I was still too upset to speak) and told him there was no way he could speak to the staff like that and I got an apology.
I agree with PPs – the more you train yourself the easier it becomes, but there are some situations where it’s just unavoidable.