According to a new study from job search company Monster, 8 out of 10 people have cried at work, which means the other two are either lying or wait to have their existential crises in the parking lot.
Why are so many darkened conference rooms being stained with the secret tears of a disconsolate workforce? Monster’s poll of 3,000 workers found that 45% of respondents who admitted to crying said it was because of their bosses or co-workers. Only 19% of respondents who had cried said that personal, non-work issues were the reason for the teardrops on their keyboards.
Now, eight working hours is an entire third of each day, so some of your unscheduled crying time is bound to fall in that window. But while crying at work may be statistically inevitable, it also raises a lot of concerns about workload and workplace dynamics. More than 15% of work weepers said they cried because of workload, while almost 13% said they were upset over workplace bullying.
“When you cry at work, that’s a sign of a toxic environment,” Monster career expert Vicki Salemi said in response to the study. “There are numerous jobs out there where you will be doing the opposite, feeling happy and accomplished.”
Despite the fact that a majority of people have most likely let it flow at work, crying in the workplace is still a very taboo and divisive subject. There a good reason: Unless you’re a soap opera actor or Tammy Faye Bakker, crying isn’t in most job descriptions.
In the past few years, more attention to employee wellness and workplace culture has softened the view on professionally shed tears. Even a recent bout of emotionalism on the 2020 presidential campaign trail raised the issue of crying on the political stage. Experts like CNN’s Chris Cillizza say genuine shows of emotion are important to remind us that, whether behind the podium or our standing desk, we’re all human. “We, collectively, need more empathy, more humanity and more authenticity in our world — and especially in our politics,” he says.
Whether that will help the person softly snuffling in the last bathroom stall because their expense report got returned for a third time isn’t clear. But at the very least, they can take comfort in the knowledge that they are, statistically, not alone.