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Crying At Work

Tags:  Career advice, Women at work, crying at work

Employees are not empty vessels void of emotions, so to expect them to not react to situations at work would be unreasonable. However, not every major work event – good or bad – needs to result in an extreme emotional outburst.

Dealing with life's little ups and downs is a normal part of the job. Employees understand this and for the most part most of us maintain our cool at work. However, there are times when our emotions get the better of us, whether because of personal issues that seep into our day or because of something that happens on the job.

Crying on the job is typically seen as a female reaction because women have traditionally been given more leeway in showing emotion than men. However, crying in the office – regardless of gender -- is generally viewed as inappropriate and can have a negative effect on career aspirations.

For anyone who has experienced extreme emotion on the job, here are four tips for dealing with tears while under stress:

Be prepared. Anticipating all situations would be tantamount to predicting the next earthquake; however, if someone knows that they are going into a difficult situation, they can develop possible scenarios and outcomes in their head and play them over and over to help diffuse the emotion. Working to pinpoint exactly what emotions this situation produces and, therefore, understanding someone's reaction can help them to refocus on the issue and how to handle it.

Understand moods.  Moods and emotions are two different things. Moods are a person's general frame of mind – like optimistic, melancholy, or anxious. Emotions are the responses to specific events that occur based on that current mood or frame of mind. This means that when someone is in a ""bad"" mood, their emotional reaction to situations can be intensified. While it is not always possible to control mood swings, being aware that they exist. Acknowledging them can help a person to overcome them. Focus on the positive.

Create boundaries. Employees often allow personal matters to overflow into their work life. Creating imaginary boundaries between work and personal life allows employees to deal better with the situations that arise on the job, and allows them to temporarily step away from personal stressors. It's important that employees give themselves permission to separate these two areas of their life.

Step out. If all else fails and someone feels the tears welling up, it is okay to call a time out. They should ask for a moment to regain their composure and go to the restroom or their office to pull themselves together. Or if things get too much to bear, consider taking a breather. This could mean something as simple and short-term as a walk around the block on a break. Or ultimately it may mean that it's time for a vacation.

Understand that everyone goes through ups and downs in their life, and it's not unusual to carry these emotions into the workplace. However, how someone deals with their issues is what helps them to maintain their composure on the job.



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