Bring on the waterworks

September 30, 2015 by

A few weeks ago, a good friend reached out to me and another friend about a mentoring situation she was struggling with at work. Her mentee was a young, ambitious, well-respected female developer in a mostly male company. She had recently cried in front of more senior colleagues in response to some reasonable feedback, and was feeling ashamed and regretful. She wanted advice on what she should do, not wanting to build a reputation as “the girl that cries.”

After much discussion about the pros and cons of crying at work, we basically came to this:

Shake it off.

Crying may not be the best way to get things done at work, but it happens. I’ve certainly done it, more than once. After a quick browse through the internet, it became clear that we are not alone in our advice. Apparently Sheryl Sandberg declared its ok to cry at work in 2013.

“Look, I’m not suggesting that the way to get to the corner office is to cry as much as possible. Nobody is going to publish the next Seven Habits of Highly Effective People and say that crying is one of them. But I am saying that it happens…Rather than spend all this time beating ourselves up for it, let’s accept ourselves. OK, I cried, life went on. And I think that’s part of the message of Lean In, like we are human beings, we are emotional beings and we can be our whole selves at work.”

In all of our job descriptions at 2A, we include this clause:

We like what we do, and we want to work with people who are excited to be at work, and nice to be around.  At the end of the day, work relationships are a big portion of our lives, and we want them to be rewarding and enjoyable.

To me, that means we want real whole people on our team. And if you’re a person who cries when you get emotional, bring it on.