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Have You Cried at Work? If So, You're in Good Company

By Maurie Backman – Aug 22, 2019 at 4:51AM

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Office tears are pretty common, but here's how you can help prevent them.

There are plenty of things that might cause you to get upset at work. Maybe your boss reprimanded you over something that wasn't your fault, or your colleague insulted you in the midst of a presentation. Or maybe you're just exhausted from not getting enough sleep in general, and an otherwise innocent comment on a co-worker's part drove you over the edge.

Either way, there may come a point when you end up crying at work, whether at your desk, in the restroom, or in the middle of the cafeteria. And while you may be ashamed at the presence of tears, rest assured that you wouldn't be the first person to shed some at the office.

Woman crying at desk

IMAGE SOURCE: GETTY IMAGES.

In recent Monster poll of 3,000 employees, 50% of respondents said they've cried at work. The main culprits? Those would be bosses and colleagues, with workload as the most common follow-up cause.

Of course, it's one thing to shed tears on occasion when things at the workplace don't go your way. But if you find that you're crying often at the office, it may be time to reexamine your job, and also evaluate whether you're coping as well as you could be.

Is your office environment toxic?

Getting upset here and there at work isn't cause for alarm. But if you find that it happens constantly, it may be time to think about switching jobs -- especially if you're not the only employee who's frequently driven to tears. If that's the case, there's a good chance the atmosphere in your office just isn't right for you. Remember, some people can shrug off harsh criticism or being yelled at while others can't. It's OK to fall into the latter camp, but if the environment you're subject to is making you miserable, you shouldn't force yourself to put up with it when there are other job opportunities out there.

On the other hand, if it seems like you're the only person at your company who cries on the regular, then it may be time to work on improving your coping skills. For one thing, try stress-relief techniques that make you feel more relaxed on a whole. Those could involve yoga and meditation outside the office or workday practices that improve your outlook, like taking scheduled breaks to clear your head.

You might also try to work on recognizing the warning signs that you're about to turn on the waterworks and taking steps to ease that tension. Those could involve calmly excusing yourself from meetings when you feel you've had too much or stepping out for fresh air when conversations with colleagues get heated. If you remove yourself from upsetting situations before they escalate, you'll have an easier time staying cool when you're at work.

Crying at the office is clearly a pretty common thing, but it's not something you should be doing often -- not because it's embarrassing (it really shouldn't be), but because you just plain don't deserve to feel that bad all the time. If you're crying often, think about getting a new job or learning to better deal with conflict and pressure. With any luck, it'll help you feel better about your job -- and yourself.

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