Is It Ever Okay To Cry At Work?
We’ve all been there. Stressed up to our eyeballs, trying to battle through the day; which feels like it’s never going to end. You’re trying your hardest to put a brave face on for everyone even though deep down, your emotions are all over the shop. Crying is still seen as a major taboo in the workplace. The question is, is it ever ok to cry at work?
Answering this question is a difficult one. Different people adopt different coping mechanisms to deal with stress. Some people may tend to cry whilst other people (typically men) bottle up their emotions. It can be a mighty task to keep your emotions together if you’re battling personal issues etc. This article concentrates more on colleagues crying at work when dealing with high stresses; not personal issues.
On Thursday’s episode of ‘The Apprentice‘, candidate Jessica Cunningham received thousands of comments from people on Twitter questioning her professionalism, all because she cried.
‘The Apprentice’ if you didn’t know is a show where aspiring businesswomen and men compete for the chance to win a £250,000 investment from British business Alan Sugar.
Jessica elected herself to be project manager for the task where each team had to create an advertising campaign for Japanese jeans. Jessica struggled throughout the first day to control the group. As a result of this, she was starting to make mistakes and the straw which broke the camel’s back was when she forgot to bring the prototype jeans with her to the photo shoot! You could hear Jessica crying heavily and hyperventilating as she closed the door behind her. Unfortunately, her fellow candidates weren’t so sympathetic towards her emotional turmoil.
‘The Apprentice’ process is an intense and over exaggerated version of the average person’s work day. Jessica is far from the first person to feel overwhelmed after a day at the office and won’t be the last.
Some people on Twitter spoke out saying Jessica made “all women in business look like a joke”– when she started crying. Luisa Zissman – former contestant on Apprentice spoke out saying. “Women please don’t cry at work, there is no place for crying at work! It bugs the hell outta me.”
Crying has become so synonymous with weakness at work that another candidate, Alana Spencer, opted to stay quiet in the boardroom and try and hide her emotions while her lip quivered and she was visibly shaking.
I’m not suggesting crying at work is something to be encouraged, in fact far from it. If you are frequently visiting the toilets to cry (because of work), I would suggest this line of work isn’t for you. At the end of the day, your happiness is the most important thing.
Showing emotion at work shouldn’t be seen as a sign that you’re incapable of doing your job. Crying is a natural, biological reaction to a high-stress situation and is absolutely nothing to be ashamed of.
It’s clear that employers need to do something drastic to improve mental health and wellbeing at work and this starts by recognising the signs of stress which vary from person to person.
If you are experiencing high stress levels at work. It’s important to speak out about this and talk to your line manager. Nothing will change if you bottle up stress.
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Thank you for your kind words https://t.co/NiWNkrXy1N— Jessica Cunningham (@TheProdigalFox) October 15, 2016
Statistics from the Labour Force Survey found there were 440,000 cases of work-related stress, depression or anxiety in Britain in 2014 and 2015.
It also found that stress accounted for 35% of all work related ill health cases and 43% of all working days lost due to ill health.