Question of the Week

Is an Emotional Outburst at the Office Ever OK?

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Earlier this month at the Careerist, author Vivia Chen wrote about crying at the office, in which she cites an article from the Harvard Business Review:

“The unwritten corporate rule is quite simple, reminds HBR: ‘It is never OK to cry in your office, with your colleagues, or, god forbid, in front of your boss.’ Though everyone gets upset and is entitled to a meltdown, says HBR, you’re just not entitled to lose it in front of others.’ “

And in December, Ms.JD took note of a lecture given by Stanford business school professor Deborah Gruenfeld recommending that women, at least, tone down the smiling. “Women give away power all the time,” Gruenfeld said, “by smiling or looking away when they are saying something authoritative.”

The articles make a case for acting like one is made of stone. So this week, we’d like to ask you: Is an emotional outburst at the office ever OK? Is it any more or less appropriate to burst into tears than to launch into a profanity-laced tirade or to trade shouts and high-fives after a personal victory? Is an outburst more acceptable or less so when it’s prompted by something work-related? Do you apply different standards of behavior in this regard to men and women?

Answer in the comments.

Read the answers to last week’s question: Which Words Do You Think Need to Be Banished?

Featured answers:

Posted by LAS: “ ‘My bad.’ If you owe an apology, then just acknowledge what you are apologizing for and apologize!”

Posted by L. Anne: “If I see one more employer ad with the words ‘self-starter’ I am going to vomit! What does that mean in terms of a lateral hire for an attorney position?”

Posted on Facebook by Nicole L. M. Jurkowski: “Snowpocalypse” and “Snowmageddon.” There is a perfectly good phrase for this phenomenon: It’s called a “snowstorm.”

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