Crybaby blues

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Crybaby blues

Sometimes you have to start in the middle. And so dearest reader, that is just what Sweet Cakes is doing. She simply draws a blank on how to introduce this topic, to wit, Crying at Work.

There are two varieties of CAW; La Cake will address them both. First up: tears you shed when the boss criticizes you. As many wise writers have observed before Sweetie, work is about facts and not feelings. This is true no matter how much you quote-unquote love your job. You wouldn’t cry upon learning that two plus two equals four, would you? Why should you cry, then, if your boss tells you that you need to redo a report? It’s data, darlings, not an analysis of your character. (Now if you happen to have a manager who says, “Your report needs fixing, you miserable guttersnipe of a wench with a poor excuse for a personality,” well then, yes, it might be understandable if you start to bawl, though the better choice would be to get another job in a nontoxic environment. But Sweet digresses.)

Yes, Smart Sugar, you reply, but what about when the boss rails on your performance? Isn’t that personal? To which Sweet replies, Maybe. But before you cue the waterworks, sniffling into your hankie and smudging your Origins translucent day powder into a cakey mess, ask a few questions. Out loud. Is there a specific issue or incident to which your mean ol’ foreman is referring? Does the bully have a suggestion for improvement? A few well-placed queries can turn the conversation into an exchange of facts.

Does Candy-Girl sound sour? She doesn’t mean it. To the contrary, she is trying to encourage her sisters-in-arms to give their feelings a proper home. Express your emotions, precious ones, just be sure to do it for the right reasons in a suitable setting.

Which brings us to: Crying at Work over non-work-related stuff. Meaning, of course, a boyfriend.

Is there a gentle way to say this? Lean closer and Sweet will whisper: Don’t do it. A little louder here: He’s not worth it.

Charming, handsome, wealthy gent that he is, he may be worth the dieting and the tweezing and the listening to lengthy exegeses on the themes of alienation in OK Computer, but he has not earned the right to make you jeopardize your reputation at work. You earned it. Don’t give it away by collapsing into a puddle at your desk from which only a tub of Chunky Monkey and an electric blanket will help you recover.

If passion overtakes you and sadness holds you in its grip no matter how hard you try to apply your happy-thought magic (George Clooney in a tuxedo, girls—that’s a trick that never fails), then you should leave the office, if you can. Take a bracing walk around the block, drop ice cubes down your collar, get a pungent whiff of a nearby homeless person—in other words, do whatever it takes to clear your mind. Replace one sensation with another. And then haul tail back to your desk.

Still not convinced? Consider this: There remains on this big blue planet plenty of places where a woman’s only sphere of influence, the one and only place where her work is welcome, is at home with the babies and the sheep (or whatever). Being employed is a privilege, honies. To put your standing at risk with a few indulgent tears when some ladies cannot even get a job—well, you’ll pardon Sweet if she tells you that that would be a crying shame.

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