Sunday, September 12, 2010

Cry, Baby, Cry!

Bridget H. asks: "When is it okay to cry at work?"   

A: It's always okay to cry at work. Always. Do you hear me? DO YOU HEAR ME?! LOOK AT ME WHEN I'M TALKING TO YOU! LOOOOK AT MEEEEEE!!!!!!!

That was a test.

You should have teared up a little there in the middle, quivered your lip when reading the bold letters, and have a full-blown sob coming up at the end. If not, you're stuffing your feelings too much, which will do nothing but give you a bad case of IBS, or at least, a sour stomach.

Look, bosses like to feel powerful. And one of the ways they can feel powerful is by making their employees cry. Why not toss them a bone every once in a while and break down in tears at the slightest criticism? When your boss says, "Bridget, next time you file these, I'd like it for you to put them in alphabetical order," you can begin stuttering like this: "But! Bu-bu-but....I....." and then double over while wailing. You may wish to get the point across by army-crawling under your boss's desk and remaining there until lunch time, rocking in a little ball and repeating, "WHY didn't I think to file alphabetically? WHHHHHYYYYY?"

You will get a raise. Trust me.

Don't limit your crying to encounters with upper management. Cry in the break room. The bathroom stall. While waving your hands under the automatic dryer. While pouring coffee. You'll be a pioneer and will soon be elected to head some kind of committee that meets while normal people go home and have lives. Say, every other Friday at 5:45 p.m. You can cry about this, too.

Tears of frustration should flow freely at work. Perhaps you go to hang the phone on the cradle and miss it my just an inch or so. Enough that you have to battle with it for a couple of seconds, making that infuriating plastic crashing against plastic sound. Here you can do a brief cry initiated by some outburst of cursing. "GODDAMN PHONE!  ARE YOU FUCKING KIDDING ME?!" Same goes for a stapler jam or struggling to get your straw into your iced latte lid. 

If your brief outburst leads into a longer crying session, let it take you there. Slide out of your rolly chair to the floor. Let your legs flail out in front of you and turn your palms up towards the asbestos ceiling tiles. Stay this way until lunch. If no one brings you something to eat, cry about that. 
"Where is my mommy?"

When you get to work, it's okay to be weepy about the fact that you left your cats at home. They're probably super lonely without you and I'll bet they spend the entirety of your absence moaning and searching the house for you. They think you've abandoned them, because they're cats. And they're dumb. Every time you leave to go to work, it's pure emotional torture for them, and you're scarring them in a way that is almost certainly irreversible. But, what can you do? You must earn money to buy your kitties some food. This is horrible. Cry.  I SAID CRY!

When you leave work for the day, it's okay to cry then, too. Think about it. These people are like your family, and you may never see them again. One of them could die on the way home, or decide in the middle of the night to quit and never return. Look around at their faces. Their sweet, sweet working faces. Aren't you going to miss them? Yes. Yes, you are. Go ahead. Let yourself cry.

I hope I've covered everything. If not, you know what to do.

"Cry Baby" writes: "Just today I burst into tears in a meeting. Next time this happens, as it surely will, what should I do? Also, what is the proper etiquette for the other people in the meeting?"

A: I imagine you found some answers in my response to Bridget's question, Cry Baby. I will, however, give some additional advice on how to handle yourself, as well as what to if you are the observer, not the crier. 


If you happen to break down during a meeting (and I'm going to assume this was a work meeting, not one of those "let us love you until you learn to love yourself" meetings where at any given time, half of the attendees are sobbing)- Anyway, next time this happens, let the tears flow. If you worry that your sadness will change the tone of an otherwise upbeat meeting, try making laughing sounds while you're sobbing. This will confuse everyone at first, but will eventually cause them to join in your laughter. No one will be quite sure what anyone else is laughing about, but it will be much better than talking about feelings. That's for sure.


You can always pass your tears off as tears of pain, caused unknowingly by the coworker on your left or right. Dump his or her mug of scalding hot coffee on your hand, jump up and away from the table, and shout, "It's okay! It's okay! I'm okay! He/She didn't mean to do it!" and then let your original tears flow. You'll get pity, which always feels good, and the coffee drinking schmuck will owe you. Perhaps you could even get a free lunch out of it. Hey, that's nothing to cry about!


Now, let's suppose you're the one observing someone crying at work. A quick assessment of your feelings towards the person prior to their sobbing is in order.


If you've been aware of an attraction to this person, use this opportunity to fly across the room, jump into their arms, grab them by the back of the head, and go to town kissing them. This may or may not have the desired results, but it's worth a try.


If you have some long-standing jealousy towards this person, try pointing and laughing while shouting, "Look who's the top-selling agent now! It's Cryer Mc-Sobby-puss! Go out there and sell some more, Blubber McSob-kins! Hahaha!"  Her old friends will be your new ones, and you'll rise to the top of the pack by lunch hour. Trust me.


If you have genuine concern for the person, consider that you're not in the right line of work. 


Hope this helps.  


  1. Look who's the top-selling agent now! It's Cryer Mc-Sobby-puss!
    Love this

  2. "(and I'm going to assume this was a work meeting, not one of those "let us love you until you learn to love yourself" meetings where at any given time, half of the attendees are sobbing)"
    OMG - I just spit coffee all over my work computer reading this.

    Crap -- I'm crying now!!