Last week I cried at work. I consider this the ultimate in work tragedies. And I don’t mean just a tear, but more of a blubbering, and sobbing sort of crying.
I had just completed a long-standing project of which, during development, had undergone its fair share of scrutiny and criticism. Feeling victorious, I excitedly shared the great news with several of my supervisors during an office party that afternoon. A looming co-worker in the corner was eavesdropping and within seconds encroached upon my moment in the sun and began to question aspects of the project that were entirely irrelevant. This overly eager co-worker often displays such destructive behavior, and I had finally had enough! Anger started to build, my face felt hot, and the more I tried to advocate for my project, the more my co-worker tried to “beat me down.” My frustration burst into a fountain of tears and then pure humiliation took over. I was hurried into a nearby office, tissues in hand and colleagues close behind. Eventually, through open communication and encouragement with my supervisors, I was able to calm down and explain my spontaneous spout of sobbing.
I don’t recommend this sort of outburst. I had let all the hard work that I had poured into my project translate into personal emotions that had no place in the workplace. I felt protective of my project and all that I had wanted was for my colleagues to appreciate the efforts and celebrate with me that the project was done. Sure, my co-worker isn’t the most pleasant person but I took the questions as a personal affront and since I wasn’t hearing the praise that I wanted I simply heard it as criticism.
That said, a little bit of good came from my angry tears. My boss decided that ever since I started in my position (nearly 6 months ago) the organization had not been helpful in making sure I was receiving the best resources, training and support necessary to continue forth with all my productive progress. I look forward to seeing things change a bit in my office as a result. But the question now is how do I get my point across in the future without spontaneously combusting into a river of tears?
By Jen (last name has been omitted for privacy reasons)