Emotions in the Workplace: Why Women Shouldn't Have to "Play It Cool"



Earlier this year I came across an opinion piece in the The New York Times titled "Where to Cry in an Open Office." The humorous listicle outlined safe locations to weep in an office with an open floor plan, including "into your poke bowl," "in the elevator," and "behind Gary, the college intern: Your crying will be obscured by Gary’s long lectures on the egalitarian benefits of an open office and how he took a class on labor and productivity, so he gets it." A woman named Jiji Lee wrote the piece facetiously, but the sad subtext underneath was all too real: The truth is that most workplaces have a "leave your emotions at the door" policy, rendering any strong expression of feeling, especially crying, inappropriate and job-jeopardizing. According to mental health experts, however, the expectation of playing it cool at the office is sexist, out-of-date, and ultimately bad for business.