There’s big news this week. Those trendy Facebook people have decided to make something else cool. Sheryl Sandberg has come out in support of women crying in the office. I know, I know. First organ donation, now public emotions. What is going on in that mushy company nowadays? Let’s bring back the guy whose fleeing the country to dodge paying taxes. No wonder the IPO is going exactly as planned.
Suddenly, every woman who has ever been accused of being too emotional in the office has a battle cry. (Hehe.) One of the most popular women in business says that crying is an asset? Count us all in. Someone bring a couple boxes of tissues. What Sandberg actually said was this:
“I’ve cried at work. I’ve told people I’ve cried at work. And it’s been reported in the press that Sheryl Sandberg cried on Mark Zuckerberg’s shoulder, which is not exactly what happened. I talk about my hopes and fears and ask people about theirs. I try to be myself. Honest about my strengths and weaknesses and I encourage others to do the same. It is all professional and it is all personal, all at the very same time.”
Maybe I’m just a little old-fashioned, but I don’t think my personal and professional sides always need to be mixing. I don’t want my private issues fraternizing with my career ambitions. I’d like to keep those things separate.
I can admit, I too cried at work once. Look at me, a little Sheryl. Except I don’t brag about the experience, because I don’t think it was exactly a shining moment. It didn’t prove that I was honest or involved. It showed that I was angry and having an extremely hard time controlling that feeling. And I was embarrassed, because I’m a grown ass woman who should be capable of handling my feelings.
Emotions are great. I realize that we all have them. I’m aware that we all need to express them from time to time. But there is absolutely nothing wrong with handling things like tears from the privacy of your own home. At least your own office. Hell, walk down the hall to the bathroom like a normal person. Control yourself and then get your butt back to work.
Yes, most people would agree that feeling some level of emotional attachment to your work is a good thing. In general life, people tend to like those who seem open and genuine with their emotions. But there are ways to have feelings without losing control of them in the presence of random people or supervisors.
Think about what you see when you see a person crying. No, I’m not talking about the splotchiness, though as a fair-skinned blonde that shit can take a while to calm down. When someone is crying, others feel sympathy for them. People pity a crying person because when someone is crying, we assume that they can’t handle whatever issue they are faced with.
Maybe I’m just crazy, but I don’t enjoy giving people a reason to doubt my capability. I don’t think it gets me anywhere to have others pity me. And it’s annoying that vulnerability is seen as cute and endearing. What exactly is so offensive about having one’s shit together?
Successful people are competent. I normally assume that they have a handle on themselves. That’s the opposite of what I think about a person who cries during a business meeting or in the middle of a restaurant. Crying has it’s place, and that place is located in a quiet and comfy corner of your bedroom. With the lights off. And maybe a blanket over your head to muffle the sound if you have thin walls.