A Woman’s View: Waterworks in the work place

When I say waterworks I am not referring to the plumbing systems, but rather the water that tends to run out of some women’s eyes – better known as tears.

One of the top reasons men say they don’t want to work with women is because they cry at work.  Women tend to be more emotional and often express their upset, hurt feelings in the manner of tears.  However, there are some women who go above and beyond by abusing the waterworks at work, especially for personal gain.

“I use to work with a lady who was ridiculous.  Every time anyone said anything to her she would run off crying and then not come back to work for about an hour,” Lynn from Frankford said.  “It was so wrong.  If my boss tried to stop her or talk to her, she just cried louder.  It made working with her really uncomfortable and it made the rest of the women angry.”  She continued:”In the end, the bosses would not want to say anything to her for fear of upsetting her, so she would just get her way and the rest of us had to fix her mistakes.”

It is a travesty if women of today use tears to get ahead at work, because it is essentially proving the man’s point of view that “women are too emotional” to handle what a man could.  If you feel the tears welling up in your eyes and you can’t control yourself at work, try heading to the bathroom or stepping outside to make a phone call for a minute or two until you can compose yourself and resume a work attitude.

Many times, women feel that when they are criticized at work that it is a personal attack against them as an individual, when it is more commonly a disagreement about view points.

When I asked the ladies of the NEast about their views on tears at work, all said they worked with at least one woman who would cry just to get what she wants, or cry to get herself out of trouble.  The same ladies also admitted to crying themselves during work hours, but usually they were in the privacy of their office or a company bathroom.

Emotion is a sign that you are human, and is okay to express when in the correct environment.  Having a few tears shed at work can be a stress reliever, provided it does not happen on a daily basis or turn into a full meltdown.

“When I have had a bad meeting or a bad chiding I tend to shed a few tears, but I do it in my own office with the door closed so no one could see, “Alyssa, who lives in the Northeast and works in Center City, said. “It is so unprofessional to let fellow employees see you cry at work, yet many women I work with do.  If I were in charge I would dock them time while they composed themselves.”

The fact of the matter is ladies, if we want to be seen as equals, as we should be, tears are better left to the home, car or bathroom.  It is just not accepted to cry at work (pending a personal tragedy that may arise unexpectedly), especially when it is done to advance your career.

It may seem like a quick fix at the time, but unleashing the flood gates on the company’s dime can have long lasting negative effects on your career.   You do not want people to always be on edge around you with the “don’t make her cry” concern.  People who view you as emotional because of the tear shedding are more likely not to give you projects, criticism or invite you into meetings for fear of upsetting you.  Crying over conflicts will only make people less likely to want your help, and in turn you will receive less work until you can redeem your name, which can be a difficult task to accomplish.

Trying to build yourself back into a good business grace after a crying episode is always a good idea, and should be done quickly.  The more people see you are able to handle work and office interaction professionally, the better your standing will become. And while your colleagues may never forget that you cried, they may be able to overlook the incident.

Save the waterworks, ladies, and prove we are equals.  If you have a story about tears at work, write in and let us know your thoughts.

A Woman’s View is a column about women’s issues written by Donna Ward. The column appears every other Thursday on NEastPhilly.com. See others here. Read other NEastPhilly columns here.

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