Is It Okay to Cry at Work? Cont'd

Editor’s Note: This article previously appeared in a different format as part of The Atlantic’s Notes section, retired in 2021.

Olga, in a video accompanying her article about shedding tears at work, talks with colleagues around the office and ends with a professional actor:

A reader shares his own story:

Once I “had” someone cry at work. We had an ant problem in the office and I asked her to call the pest control company. The next day I got into the office late morning and immediately started gagging from the overpowering smell of pesticide. I asked her to call the company back to confirm if we needed to vacate the office from the powerful chemicals. To my embarrassment the company hadn’t been there yet and the smell was her perfume.

I felt terrible. So did she, because she cried.

This is an example where I inadvertently insulted her new perfume, thereby insulting her. So crying was okay. And you are darn right I felt uncomfortable. Have you ever tried to apologize to someone while she is washing her wrists with a lemon scented wet wipe? Awkward.

I gave her a plant the next day. We laugh about it now.

This reader is less sympathetic:

As a woman, I really despise seeing this at work. Unless something just absolutely devastating happened personally (then go home and take care of it), then NO. It’s unprofessional no matter what. I’ve worked in some dire environments (read end-of-life atmosphere, and sometimes under tragic circumstances), but you should still be able to show compassion or care without crying.

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