Your Definitive Guide to Crying at Work in 10 Easy Steps

Over and over, I hear most of the professional women I know tell me how they cry at or on the way into work, at least once a week. We work hard, in high stress jobs and are constantly striving to live up to #GIRLBOSS favorites. Because it’s Portland, we’re mostly in advertising or tech. No one likes feeling like they failed and on top of that, every article ever says avoid crying at work like the plague. So, consider this a guide to doing something natural that society hates, in a low-key way.

Here are 10 easy steps to convincing your coworkers you’re functional.

Step One: Can you cry on the inside, like a winner? 
Then do it. Hold it in and take it out on someone you care about tonight. They’ll forgive you later.

Step Two: You need to preplan for this.
You graduated college and are an adult.  If you’re feeling especially emotional, you may not want to wear eyeliner. The #1 Rule is bring touch up make-up to work. I’m a lucky crier. Water just basically falls out of my eyes and my nose gets a little red. To make sure no one knows what just went down, I carry mascara, eyeliner, and power foundation. It works like a charm. If you get Kim Kardashian cry face, you’re going to need a full-on war paint kit.

Step Three: Decide how much you are going to cry.
Will it be longer than your standard trip to the bathroom? If so, say you need to get coffee. That way, you can have your breakdown in the Starbucks bathroom, and come back with coffee.  Pro tip? If it’s cold or windy outside and you forgot your cry kit, go get coffee anyway. People will think the weather is why you look slightly disheveled.

Step Four: If you’re still reading, you are probably absolutely 100% committed
to turning on the waterworks, and you’ve decided to go with the bathroom, not Starbs. Get there now. Unless someone is talking to you, or worse, yelling at you, focus on a weird mole or something like the one I have on my cheek. You can’t control how people react, so just focus on that mole until you can get to a bathroom.

Step Five: Congratulations! You have made it to the bathroom.
Your next steps are probably going to depend on the type of office building you have. If it’s small and people can hear you, cover your mouth and try not to make any sobbing sounds. This goes for a building with echo noises too. If it’s a larger one, feel free to make all of the noise you want. This will also shorten your total bathroom time because it’s more cathartic.

Step Six: Time Check
You guys, I keep emphasizing this. The key to crying at work is to not let anyone know you did. If you’ve been in there longer than five minutes, you are finished. It’s time to go. If you went with the coffee shop route, you have some more slack, but if you are 50 ft away from your coworkers, I highly recommend closely monitoring the clock.

Step Seven: Make Sure You’re Really Done
If you need to go to the bathroom immediately after going to the bathroom, you look shady. If you don’t think you can hold it in for the rest of the day, decide you’re using a sick day, then run right back to the bathroom. Damn that taco truck. If not, something like “There is something in my eye” and “Ugh, I think I’m getting sick” are excellent when necessary. But don’t overuse those – only so many things can just randomly jump in your eye.

Step Eight: Clean up this shit show.
Take your kit from Step Two, and use it. You might feel like you want to splash some cold water on your face, but don’t do it. This will extend your time in the bathroom and someone most likely already noticed you’ve been in there awhile.

Step Nine: Plan your next 15 minutes.
If you have a detailed plan of what to do, it will easier to be focused and forget what just happened. Whatever you do, don’t keep thinking about why you were crying. If you have a report to type, or something you can really concentrate on, it’s going to make it easier. Listen to my playlist and maybe even yell at someone.

Step Ten: This, and you, are normal.

Remember, there are probably dozens of women crying in their cars, coffee shop or work bathrooms across your city at any given moment. You are not alone, and one of them will probably go to happy hour with you later. If you’re calm, you can now go back to work and kick ass.

Track Bonus: Here’s a playlist to put a pep in your step for the hour after you’ve totally lost it.


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