This post on the Careerist, considering when it may be appropriate to shed a few tears at the office, dug up a few old memories of my own on-the-job sob sessions.
I can’t say I really agree with the Careerist’s opinion that crying can be effective in driving home a point. I don’t think that’s the point of crying at all. But for those of us who have not yet developed that hard outer shell, let’s face it: sometimes you just need to let it out. Close your door, and let the floodgates open. It helps.
For me, it wasn’t a particularly frequent occurrence. Most of the time, I would be reduced to tears only when I was blindsided by someone or something that caught me completely off guard. A malicious comment from a partner. Working my butt off and then being told I suck. A surprise assignment that required me to cancel a special event with my husband. I would feel defeated, and it only intensified my feelings of being trapped. Though it wasn’t necessarily a productive use of energy, crying provided a release, albeit artificial, from my predicament. I’d close the door, allow my tear ducts to drain, wait for the redness in my eyes to subside, and then continue with my day.
I’ve heard of people who had it way worse than me. A colleague of mine once told me that a friend of hers who worked in one of the most prestigious New York BigLaw firms would cry in the bathroom at work every single day. Now surely that’s a sign that you need to do something about your situation. It’s not just a cathartic cry to help you cope with the occasional bad day.
Crying at work does have its place. Not to make a point, or to make others feel sorry for you, but as a bit of silent suffering to take the edge off. When it becomes chronic, however, that’s when you know it’s more than just a release: it’s a cry for help.