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Is Crying at Work Ever Okay?

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“I’m mortified,” my friend said in lieu of a hello as she sat down at our table at our favorite Mexican restaurant for our standing Thursday night dinner.

She and I usually experience a slew of embarrassing moments every day, and we’re constantly texting each other about embarrassing moments and awkward encounters.

“I just cried. At work. In front of my entire team,” she told me. She explained what had happened and, long story short, there was a hiccup in a huge project she and her team have been working on for months. And out of frustration, my friend shed a couple tears.

And I totally understood where she was coming from when she was telling me her story. I’ve been known to cry when I get super stressed out or frustrated with something. Remember this?

Her embarrassment came from her “don’t ever let them see you sweat” mentality. A mentality that I think most people have, especially when they’re at work.

[Related: How to Keep it Together at Work When Your Personal Life is a Mess]

We talked about whether or not it’s OK to get a little emotional at work for a while longer at dinner.

And we came to the conclusion that every once in a while it’s OK to cry at work. Obviously, having a full on meltdown once a week in front of the entire offices is no bueno, but a couple of tears every now and then is fine. Think more LC, less Kim K.

In the book Lean In, Sheryl Sandberg includes a chapter on being emotional at the office. According to her, crying at work is OK. “Sharing emotions builds deeper relationships,” and being able to recognize this and talk about it with our coworkers only makes those work relationships stronger and more authentic.

Basically, all crying says about you is that you’re passionate about something. Passion is good. It means that you care. And that’s nothing to be embarrassed about.

As long as your tears are genuine and don’t make an appearance regularly, you have nothing to worry about, it’s not going to hurt your career or anything.

This post originally appeared on

Photo: Thinkstock


#Professional Etiquette #Work Culture Career Advice
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