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The GEM Debate: Is It Acceptable To Cry At Work?

NBC TODAY Show -Is It OK to Cry at Work

The other day as I was rushing to get the kids out the door for school (man, just ONCE I would love to have enough time to walk out like normal people instead of a bunch of screaming banshees with their hair on fire) I caught this piece on The Today show.

Matt Lauer was interviewing author Anne Kreamer about her new book called, It’s Always Personal; Emotion in the New Workplace and the two were discussing whether it was cool to cry on the job.  There’s a light-hearted piece on this tape, stick with it because I want you to see the interview with Kreamer who’s a big believer in letting it all out…

I loved the fact that Kreamer made no apologies for tears on the job, calling it our most natural reset button and I agree. I mean, really, who doesn’t feel better after a good cry? But if that is the case, why are people so stigmatized after the waterworks flow? Is it because it’s deemed unprofessional or because it makes people uncomfortable?

I have long subscribed to the theory that people fall into one of two categories; they are either warm fuzzies or cold pricklies. I am a warm fuzzy. I have a big heart and want the best for (most) people. Then there are the cold pricklies whose emotions are buried under layers and layers of, hell I don’t even know what. Being a warm fuzzy, I have cried at work, though most of it alone in my office. But when I was fired from my last gig, I managed to hold back the tears, because the guys who were wielding the axe were the coldest pricklies I’d ever run up against.

Honestly, I think the issue is one of vulnerability. I mean crying, well, that’s what babies do and we know how needy and vulnerable they are. So when the cold pricklies are presented with the raw vulnerability of another person, they aren’t equipped to handle it. It’s scary to them and instead of seeing crying for what it was, perhaps a reaction to stress or something else, it’s easier to label and stigmatize.

But what do I know? I cry alone in my closet now!

So here’s today’s GEM Debate – Is it okay to cry in the workplace?

Are the rules different for men and women? And does it make a difference whether you’re the boss or a subordinate? Have you ever cried at work – and why?

Fire away everyone – I can’t wait to hear your thoughts…

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