I’m sure I’m not alone

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This post is directed toward the ladies again.

How many of you have cried at work?  I know I’ve done it way to much, especially lately.  I can’t hide my emotions very easily.  I feel my face getting red, my heart starts to race, my body starts to tense and depending on what emotion I’m feeling, tears start to accumulate in the corners of my eyes.  I don’t think crying is a bad thing, but I don’t like to do it around others.  I like to be by myself.  So, as I had trouble falling back to sleep the other night after Nick woke me up to nurse, I started to think about how often I’ve been upset at work and needed to cry.

I’ve cried a lot at work.

I’ve cried in my cube, in a couple of female friends cubes, and of course, the place that I’m sure other women have cried….the large stall in the restroom.  I’ve bawled my eyes out in that room, ripping huge gobs of horribly rough toilet paper from the spool, trying to stifle my emotions and keep calm.  Then I’ve done the fanning of the face, trying to get the redness to go back down, eventually getting the courage to leave the stall and splash my face with water, taking deep breaths.

The first time I cried at work was my second day.  An older employee thought it would be a nice thing to teach me a lesson of leaving my laptop on my desk at the end of the day, rather than locking it up.  No one had told me to lock up the laptop and I didn’t have a lock to keep it on the desk.  I came into the office, just seeing a note on my desk telling me that they hid my computer because I was supposed to lock it up and then signed their name backward.  I was new, so I didn’t know who this person was, and didn’t know that they had locked my laptop in my own cabinets and had hidden the key under my mouse pad.  I know, not much to cry about really, but it upset me.

I’ve cried many times about various maternity leave issues, from being worried about how I would initially be received for the first maternity leave and for the second, when I was told that there would be no agreement in writing, only that they would “work with me”.

I’ve cried because certain co-workers have repeatedly ignored me because of a disagreement, or said mean things to me, or were insensitive to something that I thought was important or gotten reprimanded for things that were sometimes out of my control and sometimes things that I just screwed up on.

I cried when my co-worker passed away and I was so sad that a life was lost un-necessarily.

And I’ve cried because of family events, a pet passing and a family member passing.

Most of the crying occurred in that large stall, but occasionally at my desk.  I hate showing my tearful emotions  in a male dominated environment.  It makes men uncomfortable to have women cry around them.  They don’t know what to do and it just makes me look like a blubbering mess. I’ve done my best to cry in the privacy of a restroom.

I’m not sure why I’m sharing this, but I’m sure that other women have done the same thing.  Not all has been bad though.  There have been some very happy moments at work and that restroom stall was even the place that I realized that I better head home to have my baby boy Nicholas.

I will be starting a new job soon.  My goal is to have a tougher skin if I become upset with a situation.  I will work on taking deep breaths to keep myself calm.  I’m done with crying at work.  Peace.


8 thoughts on “I’m sure I’m not alone

    Lisa said:
    October 22, 2010 at 3:36 pm

    I cried twice in my principal’s office, once when my curriculum was suddenly changed in the middle of the school year, and this week trying to find a solution for two of our students’ homeless status. Hope your new job is just fantastic. But I wouldn’t worry about the crying thing. Just part of what makes us who we are. . .

    Marie Ivey said:
    October 22, 2010 at 3:54 pm

    Leigh Anne, it sounds like a terrible environment and way too much of the wrong kind of stress. Sending hugs and prayers that your new job will give you more peace.

    leahkathlyn said:
    October 22, 2010 at 4:25 pm

    I cried many, MANY times over the five years I was at my last job. Part of it was the environment, part of it was just growing up and learning how to be a professional, part of it was personality conflicts and feeling completely undervalued. The last two reviews I had, I cried, the first time because I was blindsided by some commentary my boss included in the review, and the second because by that time my relationship with my boss was so frayed I felt like we couldn’t communicate. Every time I cried I felt like I was giving up control to someone else, and I heard my mother’s voice in my head saying, “whatever you do, don’t cry at work.” But I couldn’t control it! And thus felt even worse. As I’m looking for my next job, I’m actively planning how to keep myself somewhat closed off from coworkers because I think getting closely involved with the people I work with was some of my downfall on the “professionalism” side, but I don’t know if this strategy will work or if I even want it to. Sigh. Anyway, I’ve been there, too. Maybe we’ll figure it out eventually.

      lahancock responded:
      October 22, 2010 at 5:11 pm

      Leah, I have that voice in my head too. That seems to bring on the tears even faster. For me, I don’t want to be closed of from my co-workers. They become your extended family because sometimes you are spending as much time with them as your new family. Just like with my own family (or at least certain family members) I have to learn to just let their comments roll off of my back. I can completely understand the frayed relationship issue. When it is an authority figure, it is very hard to deal with. When it is someone that you respect or you think that they respect you, and can really suck too. My problem probably is that I’m an engineer, but I don’t really have the mind or the emotions of your typical engineer. I have compassion, communication skills and I’m not afraid to comment on a topic. Most people just bow their heads and try to keep out of the way. I have a very hard time doing that. I can’t figure out when I became an extrovert. I used to be introverted.

    lahancock responded:
    October 22, 2010 at 4:26 pm

    It really isn’t that bad of an environment. There are some very kind, intelligent people that I work with. I was just remembering how often I get upset. Maybe it is more to do with me, less to do with the others. If I can just re-adjust my attitude and let things roll off of me.

    Kristen said:
    October 22, 2010 at 4:58 pm

    Stress affects people in different ways, and maybe the easiest way for your body to deal with stress is to cry – get it all out. It’s not a bad thing. I’ve cried at or about work usually when a stresser also comes as a surprise. For example, once as a preschool teacher a 4-year-old kid tried to beat me up when I was pregnant with Vivian. No one told me he had special needs, and I was almost never around him. I was so schocked by the violent outburst of this little boy, that I had to go cry in the bathroom for a while. Another time is when I felt extremely belittled and manipulated by an older man at work that I thought respected me. Sometimes just letting yourself get the stress out however you need is fine, but then think about how big of a deal it actually it is. Let your brain take over instead of your emotions. In your case, most of the time it is temporarily stressful. You’d know if you really needed a change or to try to resolve an issue further. And you have made a change, and I really hope it’s better than your old situation. 🙂 Sometimes the change in itself can be a breath of fresh air and a fresh start. Since I’ve been out of a traditional office situation for more than a year now, I don’t have any recent situations to relate with. But even being a stay at home mom can bring it’s own set of stressers and crying.

    thevfamily said:
    October 22, 2010 at 10:40 pm

    I can quickly think of 3 times I cried while in the work environment. The first was when one of my students passed away. She was 15. You just don’t see that coming. I called Thomas on the phone before school started, once I heard the news, and cried to him. My classroom, although empty, shared a partitioned wall with another teacher’s room, who had been teaching for about 30 years at the time. Although the stereotypical male history teacher, he consoled me. It was my first year teaching and it all just took me by surprise. The next two times where when I was teaching college. The two instances were both about the same issue/person. I had someone treating me like trash, and although he had a reputation for being arrogant and harsh, I was not going to be like everyone else and let him push me over and make me miserable. I ended up crying in front of my mentor while rehashing an incident with the other colleague. My mentor, although a male, was always very compassionate and kind. He shared a wall with the awful man’s office, so I just prayed the guy that was making me cry was not in his office to hear. Later, I bawled to the Department Chair. I remember him looking at me with a face that seemed to be saying “I will do anything and everything I can to make you stop crying. Please just stop crying on me. If you do not stop crying, I will immediately jump out that window!” In the end, all 3 times, I wound up feeling better, heard, and validated even. Only with the Department Chair of the college did I wish I was able to hold it all back, and I wish that only because I felt as if I made him uncomfortable. You are not alone!

    Inexplicable Ways said:
    October 24, 2010 at 10:41 am

    When I went back to work just 7 weeks after my first was born, I lost my mind. It simply snapped. I would close the door to my office and sob. My assistant who sat ouside my door guarded my space, fielded calls, and basically did my job for a few months (and made sure I kept mine).

    But, yes…cryng at work is something to be hidden. Sad.

    I hope your new environment is a place of peace.

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