Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 24 July 2014

Keep your tears for Facebook, Sheryl, they just don't wash at work

All cried out: Sheryl Sandberg
All cried out: Sheryl Sandberg

Sheryl Sandberg says that it's ok for women to cry in the office – "I cry at work" – adding that women are not "one type of person Monday through Friday" and "then a different person in the nights and weekend. I think we are all of us emotional beings and it's ok for us to share that emotion at work".

Of course, it's easier to share your emotions when you're No 2 at Facebook and have a personal fortune of $500m. Easier, too to garner a sympathetic ear from colleagues. After all, who's going to say "Get a grip, lady"?

As for the rest of humanity, who really thinks that bringing the office to a grinding halt because your boyfriend is "just, like, so undemonstrative. I don't know where we're going" will a) be permitted and b) is actually fair on colleagues who just want to get the job done and go home to their loved ones?

Or what about those in the service industries. Fancy getting your latest Katie Price from a bookseller with tears streaming down her face?

No, bringing your femininity to work, sharing your emotions and not being ashamed to cry as Ms Sandberg recommends in her new book Lean In isn't really a practical option for us worker bees. Worse, it's going to tee people off very quickly.

Yes, there are times when it's ok for anyone – male or female – to cry at work. But it's the BIG RED BUTTON option to be used only in times of genuine crisis: death of a loved one, divorce, genuine depression. Apart from that the closest you should get to showing your emotions is firing an empty paper cup into the bin with dramatic flourish, hoping this will be noted but not challenged.

Sandberg's empathy sounds like Howard Hughes and his "natural sleep" ideas (basically, you sleep when you're tired and work when you're ready. Which was great for him but hellish for employees receiving a call at 2am from Howard, saying he'd just had a great idea.)

Only Queen Bees get fussed around when they're not happy. Even if that makes you want to weep ... don't.

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