One of the worst things about crying at work is how alienating it can feel. First, there’s the fact that you’re totally vulnerable in that moment, and then, there’s the realization that you are now that person (or, more aptly, that woman) who got emotional on the clock. Will your coworkers ever let you live it down? Will people be weird around you now? How soon until you can leave so you can go home and cry in private about crying in public?
But these days—and especially in 2020—we feel like crying at work should become more normalized (maybe not more frequent, but definitely less traumatic). After all, crying is a standard human reaction to a wide array of emotions, from anger, to fear, to general overwhelm—and, regardless of dated, and pretty sexist ideas around crying, both men and women do it (in fact, when I was looking for quotes for this story, many men reached out to say that they were big-time work criers).
That said, some women are still of the belief that crying is best saved for behind closed doors. When asked why she was against crying at work, one 40-year-old woman simply told me, “I mean, it’s embarrassing, so I avoid it for that reason.” Fair.
Below, 8 women (anonymously) share their own crying at work stories, and how they feel about it now.