Don’t Cry

October 25, 2007 at 4:38 pm | Posted in News and Views, Opinion piece | Leave a comment

This article caught my eye this morning, my first impression upon reading the title was “Geez, I knew that already”. I don’t think I have ever seen a man cry at my current job or my previous job, I can count a handful of cases when I have seen my female co-workers cry. For a little background, my previous job was working with teenagers with autism at a school in central New Jersey. I held that job for 3 years. I work now for a large medical institution doing administrative work, previously I worked for a small non-profit organization doing the same kind of work. I have been working in administration for 6 years.

At my previous job, there was only a handful of times that I cried. The few times I cried were due to job-related issues rather than co-worker issues.  I remember a very difficult day of teaching which unfortunately happened the day I was being evaluated. There were some unexpected incidents that threw me off and I couldn’t recover. I failed that evaluation and as soon as the day ended, I had a really good cry. As a result of my evaluation, there were some changes in our classroom that were beneficial for the students and the teachers, and when I was re-evaluated, I passed with flying colors. I ended up leaving my job at the end of that school year.

The job itself was extremely stressful, working with teenagers can be challenging, when you add autism to the mix you really don’t know what you’re in for. I liked the unpredictability of the job, and the wealth of opportunities available for teaching. Any time we went to the grocery store or we went out to eat at Applebees was an opportunity for teaching. However, there are severe issues when you work with that population, specifically issues with aggression. What initially attracted me to the job proved to be my undoing.

At my current job, I sit at a desk almost all day as compared to walking around and being on my feet almost all day at my previous job. The job itself is pretty predictable, the most difficult part of this job is dealing with the different personalities and egos of the people I work with. I work with very nice and interesting people from all over the world, some of the scientists on staff have come to the US from all over the world (China, Hungary, Italy, England).

There are 10-12 people in the labs I work with. I have to take care of all their day to day needs; ordering office supplies for the labs, human resources issues, paperwork for all the studies and grants going on, etc. The times that I’ve been so frustrated to the point that I burst into tears were when colleagues got upset because they felt like their issues weren’t being handled as quickly as they would have liked it to be. The fault for that lies with me for not communicating as openly as I should have; it is important in that situation to communicate what is going on with certain things and not to let things slide.

There have also been times when personal issues outside of work have gotten in the way and have caused me to cry at the job. Those times to me have been the most disappointing, I’m a firm believer that when you are at work, you focus on work and you put all personal issues aside. Of course, there are issues that are too difficult to put aside and I am not referring to those. I am referring to issues such as stepping in dog poo on your way to work, your dry cleaning not being ready on time, etc.

How has crying in the office affected me? Well, people at my jobs have always been surprised to see me upset about anything. Most people view me as a happy, well-adjusted person who rarely lets anything get to her; maybe it’s a relief to some people when I get upset, like “See, she’s not happy all the time!”. My co-workers have been supportive and understanding. G-d only knows what they say behind my back but I am assuming, perhaps naively, that there is none of that going on in my case. You can chalk that up to wishful thinking…

After the whole Ellen DeGeneres incident, I feel a little better about the times I cried at work. Only a few people saw me cry, as opposed to millions of people in Ms. DeGeneres’ case. We’re human beings, not robots, and sometimes we cry, even at work. I will conclude with a deep thought by Jack Handey.

If you want to share a time when you cried at work, do so in the comments section.


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