Career Confessional: Crying At Work

Hi Everyone!

Today, I'm starting a new series on the Healthcare and Heels blog. Career Confessional is a series where I will share real life experiences (the good, the bad and the ugly) that come with being an early careerist and a woman in the workplace.

It is so easy to get caught up in social media and the belief that all of your peers have perfect careers, relationships and families, but we all know deep down this simply isn't the case!

After chatting with some of my closest friends and Hunter (my husband) about my blog and asking for feedback about my content, I had some interesting takeaways.

Although I enjoy sharing a mix of career advice, lifestyle posts, and the occasional fashion or beauty post, I was pleasantly surprised to hear that the posts that those closest to me enjoyed most were the posts were I shared my genuine experience about being a year or two into working world.

I want this series to be a place where we can chat about the real, sad, frustrating and sometimes embarrassing things that we encounter while navigating our careers and professional lives.

Today I want to discuss crying at work. 

During one of these conversations about my blog, my friend Caroline suggested some career podcasts that I might enjoy. One of her top recommendations was Skimm'd from the Couch, a career-focused podcast where Carly Zakin and Danielle Weisberg, the co-CEOs and co-founders of TheSkimm, interview successful female leaders and answer their listeners most pressing career questions.

I decided to give the podcast a try (side-note: I've never listened to podcasts since I don't have a long commute), but these are only 15-20 minutes on average, so I listen to one when I get ready in the mornings!

I listened to an episode this week where Carly and Danielle took a listener question about crying at work. This woman found herself tearing up when she had to have a tough (or slightly confrontational) conversation with her boss.

As soon as this topic came up, I instantly related to this woman's challenge. As a child and teenager, I didn't shy away from confrontation, but I also cared very much what people thought about me and never wanted people to be mad or disappointed with me. In some of these early confrontations, I found myself easily emotional especially as I tried to compose my thoughts mid-conversation.

Instead of getting my point across, my teary eyes would betray me and I would get asked the dreaded question---"Charlotte, are you crying?" Even if I was keeping my composure up until that point other than a little moisture in my eyes, this question would embarrass me and as a result I would start to cry.

As I have matured and become an adult, I have definitely improved my composure and ability to handle tough conversations. But yes...I too have cried at work.

This podcast was so relatable, because the women chatted about their own "giveaway signs" in challenging conversations, such as tearing up, getting a red rash when nervous, or fidgeting.

Should you avoid crying at work as a rule? Yes. You don't want to be known as someone who cannot contain his or her emotions.

Does crying at work still happen? Yes- probably more often then you realize.

You spend more waking hours with your co-workers and bosses than you do with your family and friends. Sometimes you have to share bad news or you are under intense stress, and your emotions may get the best of you.

In my crying at work experience, I found myself in a crucial conversation with my boss that has defined our working relationship and my career development for the better. It was the first conversation where I had been truly genuine and honest about my professional goals and how I felt my current role was or was not fully helping me meet those goals. Because I had not had a chance to prepare for this conversation, when I began to open up my thoughts all bubbled up and my eyes filled with tears. She asked me why I was upset and the tears flowed. With a tissue and a minute to compose myself, we ultimately had a great conversation.

The ways that I help combat this scenario is by preparing and practicing for these crucial conversations. This can apply for when you are asking for a raise and more responsibility, or addressing a miscommunication, or having a conversation in which you disagree with the other person.

Before any crucial conversation that I have (if possible), I will write out what I want to say and I will say it out loud a few times. I have even practiced on my husband before. This practice and preparation minimizes the likelihood that I will allow emotion, nervousness, or feeling overwhelmed to get in the way of a successful conversation.

So should you beat yourself up if you cry at work once in a blue moon? Of course not. At the end of the day we are all real people, not robots.

What other Career Confessional topics do you want to discuss? Comment down below!


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