How To Deal With Tears At Work

11/20/2008 05:12 am ET | Updated Nov 17, 2011

In a Q-and-A session with voters the day before a 2008 presidential primary, former White House-hopeful Hillary Clinton got a little choked up during her response to a question.

She didn't bawl or wail or even leave the stage to regroup in private. Her eyes watered, she continued to answer the question, and then she moved on to another topic. She handily won the primary the next day.

TV pundits and bloggers couldn't stop talking about her. Not her politics but her "show of emotion." They wondered how people would respond: Was it the end of her campaign? Was it a setback for women? Was it staged to get attention?

Her response, for what it's worth, was that her desire to improve the country kept her going during the longest presidential primary campaign in the history of the United States. Although few high profile politicians shed tears on the campaign trail, did that moment really merit all the hoopla?

When it comes to crying on the job, we are not logical beings. Peruse the articles about Clinton's tears and you'll see "emotional" appear over and over again.

Is exhaustion any more emotional than joy or anger? Do we call co-workers who laugh a lot emotional? How about screaming bosses?

Yet, as annoying as your cubicle neighbor's incessant cackling might be, it probably doesn't earn him an unfavorable reputation with his peers. If he cried on a regular basis, he might not fare so well, a fact that bothers some professionals.

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