I used to be one of those people who thought that if you cried at work, you were showing weakness. I couldn’t, as a woman, do that because I already had to prove myself more anyway. I didn’t want people to think I was an “emotional” woman. I wanted them to think I was smart and as strong as a man. (Which means that I accepted that they’d think I was the B word, but that’s another topic.)
I was wrong.
I mean, I am smart and I am as a strong as a man in my position would be. But, I do have emotions. I have cried at work and I will cry again. Heck, I really might even cry this week (it’s been a long one.) Crying does not make me a poor manager or a bad boss. It means that I have emotions and feelings and sometimes they build up. It means I get frustrated. Sometimes coming to work and feeling like everyone hates you can be frustrating (whether that is true or not. Feelings should never be invalidated). Making changes can be frustrating and emotional for everyone. In fact, maybe being the one having a hard time dealing with change is frustrating and the entire library needs a good cry over it. It’s possible.
I used to think that because work is just work you should not get that upset about it. Or, you should at least not let anyone see you cry. Well, I’ve softened a bit on the first part (maybe with age and wisdom). You are allowed to get as upset as you need to in order to move on. (Don’t throw something valuable. Don’t hurt anyone. But let the emotion out.)
We are all people in these workplaces and, eventually, we screw up, someone hurts our feelings, or it all becomes overwhelming. Sometimes, all three of those things happen on the same day. When they do, lock your office door, and let it out. If you don’t have an office, crying in your car is also an option (been there, done that.)
Now, if you’re sitting there saying thinking you’d judge someone for crying at work, then that says more about you and your inability to allow another person to have feelings in the workplace, than it does them.
If you’re a supervisor and someone cries in your office? Hand them your tissues. Tell them it’s OK and figure out how to help them let it out and work it out (that’s what my last library boss did when I cried in her office. I think it shocked her, really.) Hugging is not required, but sometimes we need those too.