More than 45% of workers have cried on the job

April 19, 2018

Many workers view crying on the job as a sign of weakness that could deal a mortal blow to their professional ambitions.  But is it ever acceptable to express feelings of hurt, sadness, or frustration in the office?

Staffing firm Accountemps recently asked more than 1,000 U.S. workers age 18 and older who work in an office environment, and more than 2,200 chief financial officers (CFOs) from a stratified random sample of companies in more than 20 of the largest U.S. metropolitan areas.

Based on findings released on April 3, more than four in 10 workers (45 percent) have admitted to crying at work. About the same proportion of CFOs (44 percent) said shedding tears is acceptable, as long as it’s not an everyday occurrence.

Employees are harder on themselves than are the executives: 32% of workers, compared to 26% of CFOs, said crying is never acceptable at the office.

And age also has something to do with it. In response to the question—”How does crying at work impact your reputation?”—workers age 55+ are more likely to think crying doesn’t affect one’s reputation (43%) than those ages 35 to 54 (31%) and 18 to 34 (25%).

“We’re all human, and sometimes emotions can get the best of us,” said Michael Steinitz, executive director of Accountemps. “Workplace challenges are inevitable, but how you respond and move forward can demonstrate your professionalism, resilience and emotional intelligence.”

However, he warned, “Frequent emotional displays can be disruptive to coworkers and ultimately damage your work relationships.”

Research contact: bianca.derose@roberthalf.com

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