Wendywoman on Emotions in the Workplace…

Reporter query: 

Crying at work: Have you ever done it? What caused the waterworks? How did you (and your boss or coworkers) handle it? What’s the best way to deal with the impulse to bawl at the office?

Don’t hire him! I made the call to the HR department at 11 p.m. to tell them word on the street was that the competitor had just let go a person known in the industry for his lack of integrity – and worse yet, his issues with anger. Not the kind of person we wanted or needed in a leadership role in our organization. Strange, no answer back till the phone rang at 6 a.m. sharp. No words really needed to be spoken at that point; I knew. They had hired him. This call was let me know I would be reporting to him – a new boss! I didn’t need words to express my disappointment and frustration, instead came the tears. Was I really crying? I’m a Senior Vice President! I had been working 80 hours a week for almost a year. I had been plagued by a chronic case of pneumonia. I was tired and exasperated with my current boss, who viewed his job in the corner office as nothing more than a master delegator. Now I was going to be reporting to a man who had never even been in a leadership role and was somehow going to be responsible for an entire global sales organization. The tears kept coming as human resources kept repeating that nothing would change. Everything would be fine. How wrong they were. Within 6 weeks, the strategy that had been implemented and successfully executed on the past 18 months changed drastic course. This was not a chartered course from good to great; this was a chartered course from good to mediocre at best. I was faced with a tough decision – bloom where I was planted or leap and hope the net would appear. I took a 6 month sabbatical to get healthy and returned to work just in time to find my “new” boss leaving to pursue other interests. Balance and harmony were restored. Often when we are overwhelmed, it is impossible to keep the tears from flowing. If you feels the tears coming, if possible, try to find someplace private to cry. That will give you a chance to be introspective and determine what is driving the emotion. Maybe it has nothing to do with work. Maybe this event is just the straw that broke the camel’s back. This past month, my mom has had 2 brain surgeries. It has been a difficult month at best and I do find myself more susceptible to feeling weepy than would normally be the case; but, I am clear on what is driving the emotion, even if the expression takes place at the office.