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Is it OK to cry at work?


Republican John Boehner has been bawling, in front of Obama and the Pope. But should men cry at work? We asked two ShortList writers


Ralph Jones

John Boehner has brought male tears trickling back into the public consciousness. Weeping when he watched Pope Francis’ Washington address and when he resigned as the Speaker of the US House Of Representatives. He is proof that bawling should be left in the private.

Crying on the job is like having a tattoo of Robbie Savage; no one should ever see it. This law applies to everyone, not just men. If you’re crying at work, something so awful must have happened that you should not be at work.

We are discussing tears induced by work itself, by the way. I’m not a monster – if your pet dies and you receive the news at the office, go ahead, flood the office with your salty woes. But if you can’t get your Powerpoint to open, your eyes should be as dry as the Gobi desert.

I’ve shed enough tears to keep a small raft afloat: when watching Amour; when giving a speech at my friend’s wedding. Crying is normal.

But these moments were in my private life, off-duty tears – the only permissible kind.


Andrew Dickens

I’ll come clean; I’m a blubber. I cry at any sentimental toss, my heartstrings screaming ‘pluck me’. Emotional dramas, talent show back stories, John Lewis adverts – if I don’t crack, the producers have failed. And if I don’t cry and you do, you’ve got issues. I have the sensitivity levels of an eight-year-old girl suffering recent pony bereavement. Just now, I thought the words ‘Marley & Me’ and began to well up at my desk.

Yes, at my desk, because it is OK to cry at work. We all have different emotional tipping points, so there’s no point setting rules. Sense of injustice at doing too many tea rounds? Sob. Driven mad by your squeaky chair wheel? Weep. Drama queen who cries for attention? I don’t agree with your bawling, but I’ll defend to the death your right to make a twat out of yourself.

I’m not saying this simply to justify my own hair-trigger tear ducts; crying is a natural thing that shouldn’t be battled too ferociously, for fear of such suppression eventually causing a far more powerful explosion. A bit like wind.

(Image: Getty)



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