When it comes to crying at work, the jury's still out: Is it okay? Is it unprofessional? Is it a terrible faux pas that weakens your image and credibility, or is vulnerability key to fostering meaningful relationships? What would Sheryl Sandberg do (WWSSD)?
I'm a big believer that feelings are a blessing, and emotions should be celebrated—but I also hate crying.
If every cry was a silent stream of tears that didn't affect your state of being, I'd be all for crying in the office.
That said, crying can be…distracting.
It's hard to do anything but cry when crying. You can’t concentrate, your brain is basically mush, and you lose any ability to enunciate words. Combine that with the physicality of crying—the tears, the shudders, the splotchy face, the gasps for air—and all hope of communication or productivity goes out the window until it’s finally over.
But this whole “to cry or not to cry” debate is pointless. If some corporate overlord declares that crying at work is unprofessional, nobody’s going to say, "Well, that clears things up. Guess I won't cry anymore!"
Because that’s not how it works. Once the waterworks start coming, they can't be stopped, permission granted or not.
So without further ado, here are tips on how to proceed if you find yourself crying at work, depending on the scenario.