For any of you who read this blog with any regularity, you know I am an emotional being. I’ve never felt such a deep soul connection with a celebrity as when Kristen Bell exclaimed on Ellen, “First thing you should know about me, if I’m not between a 3 and a 7 on the emotional scale, I’m crying.”
It’s true, really. I feel feelings quite intensely. It’s gotten me into some sticky situations at past jobs. I also manifest anger/frustration by crying, which is just horribly inconvenient. Nothing says, “Hey, don’t respect me at all. Just being all womanly and terrifying,” like crying at work. In male dominated workplaces, it’s rough. I just want to feel upset and hide it. So difficult.
Ugh. It drives me crazy. It doesn’t seem right that emotions are so taboo in the workplace. Of course, my perspective is skewed. I want us all to express ourselves, be aware about how we feel, and practice empathy when someone does cry at work. Unfortunately, I see the flaws in that idea from the outset. Crying at work, or really any extreme negative emotional reaction, is just seen as really taboo.
As with most things, I got into a conversation with Jesse about it. Why is emotion so frowned upon at work? What is it about being sad, mad, or passionate about something you care about that needs to be excused from day-to-day work cycles? You are expected to be passionate, but removed at the same time. That seems backwards. You have to care a lot, but not care too much. What?
First off, emotions make people uncomfortable. I mean, if you’re not my client and you start crying, I honestly have no idea what to do other than to empathize with you. Can I hug you? Should I? No. Um, do you need water? How about food? What can I do to make the awkwardness stop?!
Second, and I think more importantly, being emotional in the workplace indicates that you are too involved with emotion in your decision making process. At certain jobs, taking emotions into the equation are important, like counseling for example. At most jobs, rational decisions usually require removing emotional investment. It’s not how bad you want it but is there logically sound reasoning behind your choice?
Now, I’m not suggesting we all turn into Dr. House and just completely remove ourselves from caring completely (holy moly, I just realized I need to do a case file on him). Caring about your co-workers can be a uniting experience. Caring too much about your co-workers, your job, or anything that isn’t completely in your control can be dangerous. Take it from me… I am the queen of caring too much about my job. It’s hard in a society that encourages so much focus on job satisfaction, success, and earnings to just step back a bit and go, “Should I care about this as much as I do?”
For those of you out there who are champions of feelings, I salute you. I’m right there with you. It’s time to work on our self-awareness if we find ourselves too involved and too emotional about what we do for a living. I’m not suggesting we all shrug our shoulders and constantly reflect apathy, but I am suggesting that we keep the outbursts, tears, and large expressions of our vulnerable emotions to a minimum.
Another great reason to have an outlet like counseling. Glad I’m going back.
What do you all think?
Can you be emotional in the workplace and do a good job?