Social media users share their candid experiences of crying while on the job

Women in the World asked followers on Twitter whether they’ve ever cried at work — and here are the responses

A call center personnel presses her hand to her forehead at an online brokerage company in Tokyo. (REUTERS/Yuriko)

In a recent interview with Mic, Jennifer Palmieri, a former Hillary Clinton campaign official and a member of President Barack Obama’s White House staff, opened up about having cried at work — and urged other women to not fear shedding tears while on the job. Palmieri, a self-professed “crying evangelist,” candidly recalled the many places she has cried while working — and the high-powered people whom she’s cried in front of. She believes “we don’t know what we are holding back by not expressing what we really think or thinking that we have to prove how tough we are.”

So, we decided to ask our followers on Twitter, “Have you cried at work?” and invited people to share their stories using the hashtag #IveCriedAtWork.

Based on some of the responses we saw, Palmieri is right that appearing to be “tough” at work is a concern among many, as it came up more than once. Women seem to be on a never-ending quest to prove we’re not inferior, and this phenomenon emerged in the concerns people expressed. Some people used the words “small” or “inadequate” to describe how they might be perceived if they were to cry at work. One woman even speculated that she would lose credibility with her colleagues if they saw her crying.

One woman even recalled a bizarre incident in which she said a male colleague hit on her while she cried. Great. Apparently, it’s not just the clothes we wear that can result in harassment — it’s also the tears we might cry.

Some were surprised to see us even asking such a question, and suggested the appropriate inquiry should have centered on “how many times” people have cried while on the job.

The criers said that they would shed tears as a form of relief, out of frustration or as a way of moving forward. Some shared difficult experiences that triggered their tears, such as witnessing or reporting on deaths and atrocities. A nurse who worked in a cancer unit said that she cried — as did the male RNs and “doctors of all genders” stationed in the unit with her. She was not alone in believing that crying at work should not be limited to only women. But even those who have shed tears for reasons they thought were justified said that the act was frowned upon.

Which brings us to those who told us they have indeed cried at work, but not before finding a place to hide before doing so. To avoid being scolded or judged, these people said they’ve cried behind closed doors, often in the bathroom. Has the bathroom become an emotional sanctuary? Some said they have designated stalls for crying at work.

Turns out, a fair amount of people have cried at work and are open to talking about it on social media. The hashtag picked up some nice traction and even caught the attention of Elle France. But according to some responses, “le hastag” #IveCriedAtWork is not exclusive to women who sit crying at work, some pride themselves on triggering the waterworks.

You can see a full list of all the response we received here.


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