Please ensure Javascript is enabled for purposes of website accessibility

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

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

You’re reading a free article with opinions that may differ from The Motley Fool’s Premium Investing Services. Become a Motley Fool member today to get instant access to our top analyst recommendations, in-depth research, investing resources, and more. Learn More

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


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.

The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

Invest Smarter with The Motley Fool

Join Over 1 Million Premium Members Receiving…

  • New Stock Picks Each Month
  • Detailed Analysis of Companies
  • Model Portfolios
  • Live Streaming During Market Hours
  • And Much More
Get Started Now

Related Articles

Motley Fool Returns

Motley Fool Stock Advisor

Market-beating stocks from our award-winning analyst team.

Stock Advisor Returns
S&P 500 Returns

Calculated by average return of all stock recommendations since inception of the Stock Advisor service in February of 2002. Returns as of 09/25/2022.

Discounted offers are only available to new members. Stock Advisor list price is $199 per year.

Premium Investing Services

Invest better with The Motley Fool. Get stock recommendations, portfolio guidance, and more from The Motley Fool's premium services.