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Is It OK to Cry at Work Now?


For years, we’ve heard that crying at work makes us look weak. But some very successful feminists are now saying that a few tears isn’t the end of the world — and in fact, might even help your career.

If you have to cry, Kelly Cutrone famously said, go outside. In fact, the PR maven felt so strongly about the concept, she used it as the title of her 2010 book. What a difference a few years makes.

Today, icons like Tina Fey and Sheryl Sandberg tell us that it’s OK to cry at work — within reason.

In her book Lean In, Sandberg writes that shedding a few genuine tears when you’re deeply moved is far from a career killer — in fact, it might just express your passion and commitment.

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“Sharing emotions builds deeper relationships. Motivation comes from working on things we care about. It also comes from working with people we care about,” Sandberg says. “Emotion drives both men and women and influences every decision we make. Recognizing the role emotions play and being willing to discuss them makes us better managers, partners, and peers.”

Why the shift?

Meredith Lepore at Levo League suggests that it has to do with companies learning to value emotional intelligence.

Good news for the less stoic among us, as long as we don’t overdo it. Lepore writes:

“We are not condoning crying in job interviews or every day at work, but if you are passionate about a project or are frustrated because work is not getting done and you are naturally moved to tears (don’t force it!), then know that crying at work will not kill your career.”

Tell Us What You Think

We want to hear from you! Do you cry at work? Leave a comment or join the discussion on Twitter, using the hashtag #MakeItHappen.

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(Photo Credit: me and the sysop/Flickr)

Jen Hubley Luckwaldt
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