CRYING AT WORK

First there were cat videos, then planking videos, then dog videos, followed by more cat videos. Viral trends are funny.

Today, graduation speeches join the ranks of viral video fame. As it turns out, Ivy League Schools have been having the best success with their viral popularity, being that they have some money to spend on their speakers. SNL’s funny man Andy Samberg spoke at Harvard, as did Facebook’s COO Sheryl Sandberg. (No, they are not related… read it again.)

While Andy nailed an impression of Sandberg’s boss, Mark Zuckerberg, and got some podium giggles, Sheryl’s speech took a more serious, and much weirder approach. She told a class of business graduates that she has cried at work. Many times. And insisted that workplace blubbering is, in fact, healthy.

Naturally, this has raised many eyebrows. The COO of one of the world’s most influential companies is saying that it’s ok to breakdown and sob in the office. Kind of makes you wonder if the Winklevoss twins aren’t a bit better off without their fortune…

Work is not normally a place for tears. Not because it’s inappropriate, but because work should be fun! Challenging, yes. But fun, first and foremost.

I can’t even begin to imagine the stress of being the Chief of Operations at Facebook. Like, can you even fathom how many things are operating at any given time? And someone has to be Chief of all those things? Of all of these operations? Sounds like an episode of Grey’s Anatomy, and Sheryl is Dr. McDreamy.

Tom Hanks told us there is no crying in baseball. But, is there room for crying at work?

An agency setting is naturally a high-stress environment. There are high demands, tight deadlines, and long hours. Although each and every one of us loves our job, there are times when tears are unavoidable. And, when you look back on these times, the moments when you have let yourself tear up in the bathroom, you often feel a bit silly. For example, my paper cut last week wasn’t that bad.

Work is called work for a reason. It stretches your mind, sometimes so hard that it snaps back like an elastic band come 5:30 PM. But here are some tips for getting past the tough times at an agency, and doing it tear free:

1. Breathe

Every once in a while, things will become tense. This is just the nature of the business.  Time is of the essence, and the pressure is on. Your phone will be ringing off the hook, your inbox will be at capacity, and you have ten hours of work left to do in your eight-hour day. Just breathe. Letting your mind wander to a place of hysterics and panic is just about the worst thing you can try in this situation. Don’t waste time stressing. Put your headphones in, and put your nose to the grindstone. We waste so much time talking about our workloads that we don’t have time left to tackle them. If you just count to ten, sit down in your seat, and get to working, your To-Do list will become shorter, and shorter. Honest.

2. Take Criticism

BREAKING NEWS: You’re not perfect. It doesn’t matter how well you did in school, or how impressive your portfolio is. The real world is a crazy place, where perfection is only an aspiration, never a reality. You will make mistakes. This is a known fact. Whether you do it in your first week or your third year, it’s going to happen. What’s worse is that once you make this mistake, people are going to notice.  Then, they are going to point it out to you. Why? Because you need to learn from this mistake. Duh! If your copy sucks, or your design is too, you know, corporate, you will be told. Take this as a gift rather than a punishment. Any opportunity to better yourself should be welcomed. Arms open.

3. Talk To Someone

You know your boss? That big, scary guy or girl who dresses better than you, and goes to restaurants at lunch? Like, real restaurants? With waiters? Guess what! They’re really not that bad. In fact, once you see past their tough(er) exterior, there is probably a softy inside who remembers when he or she was just a lowly Social Media Manager (well, probably not), or a hard-working graphic designer. This is their company, and they have worked for years to build a reputation. If you are having trouble with your workload, or just the nature of any given project, talk to them! At the end of the day, your work reflects their company, so they will do whatever they can to help improve the situation. For your own good, and the good of the agency at large.

4. Find An Outlet

Anxiety is the pits. And, two out of every three people suffer from it. When you start to feel that flush in your face, that knot in your stomach, and that lump in your throat, it’s important to have an outlet. Keep a squishy ball at your desk if you’re a tenser-upper. Keep a secret stash of Doritos in your drawer if you’re a stress eater. Keep a pack of smokes duct taped to the bottom of your wheely chair if you don’t have any regard for your physical well-being whatsoever. Take time out to defuse during the day, and have a place to put your anxiety, other than into your work.

5. Tomorrow Is A New Day

Always remember that Tuesday might have been hell on earth, but Wednesday is bound to be better. You are going to encounter a tough day every once in a while, but before you go sobbing like Halle Berry at the Oscars, or storming out all Jerry Mcguire style (“WHO’S COMING WITH ME!?”) keep in mind that the walk or drive home, paired with a nice meal, some good/bad TV, and maybe a glass of wine, will likely erase all of the day’s misadventures.  Tomorrow, at the sound of your alarm, jump out of bed with a smile on your face and tell yourself that yesterday was yesterday, and today is the day you’re going to blow everyone away. Because with that attitude, you definitely will.

 

 

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